Zoo Keeper Quest
Puzzle games have come a long way since the days of Tetris and Klax. Variation, however, is far from endless, as clones of puzzles have appeared on the scene, gotten together with other clones, and had little clone babies. Every once in a while, though, a clone comes along which merges a classic puzzle with just enough original kitsch to stand out above the crowd. When I first ran across Kiteretsu's Zoo Keeper Quest, I thought, "oh no, not another Bejeweled clone!" But much later that night, as my wrist cramped and my eyes watered from a puzzling addiction, I decided this one was something special.
The game is, indeed, a clone of the Nintendo DS version, which is a clone of an earlier shockwave version, which was essentially based on the popular Bejeweled formula. The objective of the game is to line up three or more identical animals to remove them from play. Move the animals by switching or sliding adjacent tiles. New animals will fall into the free spaces in a Tetris-like fashion.
In a normal game, you are advanced to the next level once you remove the required number of animals from the board. On the first level, three of each animal is required; on the second level, four are required, and so on. A rabbit is thrown into the mix on level seven, making things even tougher. (Rabbits may reproduce like mad, but never where you want them to, here.) If one type of animal is left out, or the last to be removed, you may notice a distinct change in temperament.
While the moody animals are a nice touch, it is the Quest mode which makes this game enticingly addictive. As the zookeeper, you are set to 10 different tasks by your angry little boss. Your progress along the way is graded in Xs, triangles, and Os (A double 'O' being the best, and an X the worst) which are tallied up at the end of the game. Since the game is mostly written in Japanese, here is the goal for each of the quest levels:
- Catch 20 lions, leaving the other animals.
- Catch 15 more giraffes than pandas, or 15 more pandas than giraffes.
- Catch 30 groups of animals by cause and effect. (Eliminate rows or columns underneath to cause a chain reaction, a process which boosts your points in normal mode. You can keep matching groups as the reactions take place.)
- Catch only one group of each animal. If you repeat any one, you have to start your selection over.
- The slot machine: Click the flashing box to win a prize.
- Now, don't click the flashing box. (Usually, if you do, it will clear all the animals of the chosen type.) Instead, get it to fall to the bottom of the screen.
- Catch seven groups of animals without causing a chain reaction.
- Catch five groups of four or more animals.
- Catch ten groups in columns, not in rows.
- Score as many points as quickly as possible to fill the timer.
Mastering just a few of these levels can be quite challenging, as habits often don't carry well to the next level.
In each mode, your progress for the level is displayed across the top of the screen. If you get stuck while in normal mode, you can click the binoculars on the right for a hint. In the quest mode, however, you're on your own. In either mode, don't worry if you run out of moves. You won't lose, as in the game Bejeweled. Instead, the level will reset itself, and you'll score a bonus.
With clever variations, an emotional lot of animals and an uppity, cigar-smoking boss, Kiteretsu's Zookeeper will keep you busy and entertained for hours on end.
aha! i have played (and beaten) this game before, but i was doing it fairly blindly... now i know how i actually beat everything! thanks for this posting! now i can play some more!
arigatoo for translating the quest, ive always wondered what it was saying, becuase I've played normal mode. Whee, quest is so much better!
This game is HUMILIATING! There's no let up between levels, you're only rewarded for mindlessly moving forwards, your achievements from the previous level aren't carried over in a meaningful way (retention of time) and the boss berates you however well you've done. Finally some realism!
I'll definitely check this one out... but if you guys even remotely like this game, you really need to check out Puzzle Quest. You can find the demo pretty easily, but the only downside is that there is no full PC version yet, just PSP and Nintendo DS versions. Still, if you have one of those consoles, or would be willing to buy one, you gotta check it out. And even if not, the demo provides a decent amount of fun by itself.
I've been looking around for Puzzle Quest for the DS, haven't found it yet. Apparently it's quite popular, hence the unavailability!
Btw, the 'official' title is Zoo Keeper active.
アクテイブ is pronounced 'a-ku-ti-bu'. Active!
Ya know, I'd still like to know where that funky beat comes from. The one that's used in the normal mode, that is. I'll be surprised if it isn't sampled from some disco/funk track from the 70's, but I suppose I'm a bit biased about that. I thought it might be a slice cut from the instrumental section of "You Should Be Dancing" by the Bee Gees, but the bongos don't quite line up.
I normally can't stand Bejeweled and its clones, but I actually played this one up to Level 6 or so before tiring. I suppose that's a testament as to how cute this game really is. :-)
I found the Helps to be a great deal of...well, help. I'm glad you slowly earn them back as the game progresses.
Thanks, Bezman. Although I wasn't sure what the Japanese text for active was before you posted the translation, I decided to add the "Quest" to the game title to differentiate it from the original posting of this game from back in 2004. Since it is specifically the Quest mode that is new to the game.
I just 'finished' the quest. At the end, you get a 'mark' for each quest -- anyone know what each means?
I received X's, circles and triangles.
Matt - did you read the review?
"Your progress along the way is graded in Xs, triangles, and Os (A double 'O' being the best, and an X the worst) which are tallied up at the end of the game."
I'm pretty sure it's not the original use of the music but it's exactly the same few beats of Groovejet by Spiller.
Oh! Groovejet! I love that song! and by golly, I think you're right. =)
Can any kind soul help translate some of the explanations of the scoring in quest mode? It doesn't make much sense to me. It seems particularly cruel to get an X on any level... which apparently can knock you down from 6 digits to 2 digits in one bad round.
Any translation would be greatly appreciated.
ブライア�" (that's about all I know there).
Ha! I finally got to level 9!
For some reason I hated Bejeweled, but some of the clones have been great.
No probs Jay!
Bryan - I'd try translating the game if it didn't have so many kanji!
Btw, �" is hiragana - the script that is used for Japanese words. The katakana equivalent is ン。Just a FYI. ;-p
i think i broke the game, or at least found a bug in it. At level 3 I went crazy clicking at all the animals to get animals by cause and it effect until after a while i realise i've got 500+ and the timer has stopped decreasing. I reached more than 1000 but then the counter started at 100 again.
SOOOO Addictive Score tops out at 99999
My final score card was: O, OO, OO, OO, OO, OO, OO, X, OO, OO
Does anyone know if this game has disappeared? The link doesn't seem to work for me and I can't find the Quest mode anywhere else online.
When a page comes up that says the server isn't responding, that generally means the server is down at the moment. Try again in a few hours or a few days. :)