My Zoo: review

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What would you expect from a game calling itself ‘My Zoo’? A zoo that you can call your own, perhaps? Well let’s get one thing straight right now: That’s not what My Zoo gives you. What you get instead, is a handful of extremely lazy – but exotic – virtual pets. We’re getting ahead of ourselves here, though.

The first thing you do after turning the volume off to avoid the soul twistingly bad music, is choose your first animal. You get a choice of eight zoo animals, each with a short but sweet list of accompanying real – life information. Did you know pandas are completely pink at birth? Well, some of us didn’t. The poor old Malayan tapir has to make do, for its most interesting fact, with “Has an interesting white pattern transecting its entire body”. Needless to say, we didn’t bother with the tapir.

My Zoo Pictures, Images and PhotosFirst of all, we went for a classic: the elephant. Given the opportunity to choose sex and name, we decided on a male called David. And what to do with David? Well, we needed somewhere to keep him, so we chose an ‘area’ from the available four (yup) and felt that he would be most comfortable in the savannahalike. Animal chosen, ‘area’ chosen… let the action begin!!

What we first noticed in the game proper, was the size of the areas in which you keep your animals (you can keep a maximum of three animals, which must be of the same species, in each save slot). In proportion, they’re about the same size as the animal enclosures in your average zoo (so not very big). The next thing we noticed was the range of ways in which you can interact with your animal… or rather, the lack thereof.

You can call your animal over to you, you can feed it, you can ‘pet’ it (wave a disembodied hand over it while holding ‘A’ with no discernible effect), and you can clean up its poo (wave a floating brush over it while holding down ‘A’ until it teleports elsewhere). It’s no exaggeration to say that you can do everything there is to do within thirty seconds.

PhotobucketThere are attempts to give you a reason to come back. The game employs an Animal Crossing – style passage of time, in that days (one hour = one in – game day) pass whether you’re playing the game or not. Each animal also has ‘affection’, ‘stomach’, and ‘energy’ bars. So if you come back to the game after days of not playing it, you may well find that all your animals are starving in their own filth, and feel little or no affection toward you. Which is nothing if not realistic.

The passage of time is also exploited in a more positive way; animals age, some more noticeably than others. And if you leave a male and female together long enough, eventually they’ll do the dirty when you’re not looking and produce a new baby animal for you to look after. No baby animals will ever appear if you have three animals in the same area, so forget your perverted plans of uploading an animal gangbang to Youtube right now.

One of the areas is ‘Child’s Room’ and despite adjusting the lighting to a sexy red glow, our pandas Hermione and Adrian sat with their backs to one another. You could feel the sexual tension, though.

My Zoo doesn’t do anything wrong as such, and at 500 points is cheap; the problem is that it attempts to do so little in the first place.

2/5

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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