Zoo Break: Animal Escape & Run, from HueSphere Games, is a fun animal-themed runner game. It offer cute hand-drawn characters and landscapes and provides a simple gameplay experience that makes it easy to get started.
Concept and Functionality
The runner genre is nearly five years old by many accounts and continues to be popular for good reason – they’re fun to play! This game hits on much of what you play these games for, but still has room for improvement.
A positive point is that the developers are quick to respond to users and, for example, have already improved the app by removing auto-playing video ads.
Overall, Zoo Break provides hours of challenge with variations and diversions to keep you coming back for more.
Your goal is to reach the end of the stage with the animal selected, first with a skateboarding monkey, then a skittish sheep, and so forth, while jumping over or ducking under various obstacles in the way.
One aspect of the game that we’d like to see improved is the prevalence of ads to an almost inundating degree. Banner ads, pop-up ads, even automatically playing video ads (editor’s note – auto-playing video ads, as mentioned above, have been removed from the game), in and around everything you do in the game.
Anyone can understand the need to recoup development cost but doing so to a level which some will certainly consider obtrusive can be a turnoff. Also, if players are rewarded for watching ads they don’t mind them as much.
(Editor’s note – the game now rewards players for watching video ads, and, according to the developer “We show popup ads only once out of two “End game” button presses, as is the norm in many ad-supported games. An average player will get the popup once in 3 minutes or so.“).
There are a few powerups to help remove obstacles or fly above them, but when you first unlock them mid-stage you don’t know what they do until you use them. A shop also unlocks to purchase more with coins and this shop gives you an idea of what the powerups do.
You can also purchase decorative items for your animals which play a role in a series of quests that want you to catch a certain number of coins or other similar tasks, for which you are granted additional coins.
Some of the variety that adds to the fun is that some quests won’t work if you aren’t wearing the right costume. In-app purchases are available to get more coins but it really isn’t necessary to do so to play.
You will find yourself replaying stages over and over to get that one last quest completed, which certainly adds replay value.
One feature that we’d like to see in the game is a useful gauge of how close you are to the end of a given level. At certain midpoints throughout a stage, you’ll hit a stream of coins and an indicator that you have X number of midpoints left to go, but the distance between them is not clear.
You can challenge your friends or the world at large via the standard “connect with Facebook” leaderboards.
Zoo Break is a simple game based on a simple presence wrapped in a zoological shell. It poses a few challenges that most casual gamers will enjoy and as a free app, it’s worth a try. Just don’t be surprised if you pack up the herd and move on after grazing all it can do.
Zoo Break: Animal Escape & Run requires Android 2.3+. A small expedite fee was paid to speed up the publication of this review.
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What do YOU think? We’d love to hear your comments, try it and let us know!