Friday, February 5, 2021

Matter of Import 013: Zoo Fun (Atari 2600, 1983)


Zoo fun is either inspired by or modded from our previous game Panda Chase, only this time instead of being a panda chasing after delicious bamboo, you're a bushy-headed kid trying to recapture zoo animals. Some of the game is very similar; there's still an "overworld" style map, you still have a gently ticking-down energy bar, there are still platforming levels, but there are a lot of differences too – the platforming levels are simpler, you don't so much jump as you do blip to a new elevation, and instead of avoiding the animals you want to catch them.

Not that they try to avoid you. They move in set patterns. What's more mystifying is the control scheme – up lets you jump... sometimes... and the button turns you translucent. Is this a stealth mode? I couldn't tell, nor could I determine if it helped you catch the animals... sometimes running into them did the trick, sometimes it didn't.

Where Panda Chase was difficult to the point of being nearly unplayable, Zoo Fun is simple to the point of being... well, pointless. I caught a few animals, and when nothing seemed to change or get more challenging I stopped playing and gave the game a D ranking.

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