With a name like "Tap Zoo" we expected the controls to be one of its best features. Unfortunately, it has a tendency to be troublesome to use due to its precision, or lack thereof. There were times when we had difficulty clicking on coins to collect them and tapping on a particular animal beside another attraction can be a real challenge. Fortunately, you can zoom in to at least lessen the frequency this happens. There is also no need to rush or worry about fulfilling requirements to win so this doesn't become too much of a problem.
Release Date: 27/10/2011
Available on: iOS, Tablet, Mobile, Android
Not Tappy Enough
That being said, among Tap Zoo's strong points are its cheery, vibrant graphics. With their toothy smiles, the animals seem to be enjoying their time in the zoo. The developer is talented at creating creating adorable looking creatures, just take a look at one of their other games like Animal Voyage: Island Adventure and you'll know what we mean.
Another positive ... there are no nasty cages to be seen although, of course, they are technically restricted from moving around due to the mechanics. Each animal or store takes up a block of space on the grid and each square's habitat reflects that animal's needed environment.
It will be up to you whether you want safari animals to be next to each other to keep things organized or opt to mix and match your zoo stars for some whimsical results. Basically, being a game that encourages players to decorate, you are in charge of how the final layout will look so it will always cater to your tastes.
Made for the Kids
Although Tap Zoo does feature graphics that are appealing to children, it is important to keep in mind that this game has micro transactions. Actually, Tap Zoo's freemium model isn't kind to young players at all because it requires a lot of grinding. You can periodically earn Coins by having animals on display and picking up the free in-game currency dropped by NPCs. However, spending a couple of hours just staring at the screen and tapping to collect revenue will barely earn enough to afford a handful of animals to get you started. For instance, the Alaskan Husky costs 15,000 Coins while the African Buffalo requires a whopping 30,000. You can opt to fill your screen with the same animal types but considering how kids are, they would probably want a variety of stars in their zoo collection, and fast. If you want something for the kids that doesn't involve spending anything then opt for Tiny Zoo Friends instead, it's harmless fun without any cost involved.
For adults who are prepared to spend on the game, there are plenty of premium animals for sale. For these, you will need to use Stars instead of Coins. In case you do end up liking the game, the sheer number and variety of paid animals would be a tempting treat indeed. There are Great White Sharks, Aardvarks and even a Bahamut you can showcase in your park. Opting for in-game purchases will earn you experience points as well. Going up levels will lead to more options in terms of available animals, decorations and even zookeepers.
A Little too Simple
The mechanics are a bit too basic. All you really need to do is aim for more and more animals and attractions. There are no other factors to bother with and no random events to watch out for. Also, attractions and personnel do very little to add to the overall experience. For example, hiring zookeepers increase the zoo's population cap and add a bit of experience but nothing else. Concession stands bestow experience points but do not require the player to refill anything or improve stocks to draw in a bigger crowd. Although there are suggested tasks which can be fulfilled for a small boost in Coin and experience points, it would have been better to see random events that introduce the characters and offer a basic storyline. This could involve anything from helping out the zoo establishments thrive or building bigger enclosures, just to give the game a solid backbone.
The Verdict: Just a Tap and Go
Tap Zoo is a free-to-play app that offers a variety of collectible animals --but only if you're willing to spend or are ready to do some grinding. It is possible to enjoy it without paying for anything, perhaps as something to play in between other titles so you can collect coins without losing patience. Just keep in mind that without shelling out, some of the animals and objectives will forever be off limits. If you're interested in learning more about how to play this game, read Gamezebo's easy to follow guide.
Tap Zoo is developed by Pocket Gems, Inc.