With mobile games become more complex and similar to their console and PC cousins by the day it is nice to still see titles with simple, but addictive arcade roots. Zoo Landing is one of these games and challenges you to help an animal escape the zoo. The only way out is up, so you have to guide your favorite animal up the side of a gigantic skyscraper while dodging projectiles and collecting food. One hit will send your animal tumbling back down to the ground, so a keen eye and quick reflexes are required to continue your ascent.
Zoo Landing is a free download, but you can make a one-time payment to get rid of the adverts that occasional pop-up between tries or appear at the bottom of the screen. The default animal you can control is a crocodile in a bathtub, but you can also shell out some extra cash to fill out the roster. Animals include an elephant, giraffe, penguin, raccoon, rhino, shark and a couple of others, each with their own unique form of transport. Purchasing additional animals is purely optional however and don’t impact the gameplay in any way.
The game uses colorful 2D visuals and the action is viewed from a side-on perspective. The background and tower floors are kept relatively simple, so you can see what is going on even when travelling at high speeds, but it is the projectiles raining down on you that steal the show. It would seem that not all the residents of the skyscraper are very keen on seeing your animal escape, so you have to contend with a never-ending stream of projectiles hurtling down towards you. Everything from shoes and rocks to trash cans, plants, anchors and even cars as well as U.F.Os have to be avoided during your escape. In total there are about fifty different obstacles to contend with and they are all drawn in beautiful, detailed pixel art. You won’t have to squint to make out what is coming at you either as the objects are not confined to realistic proportions and a camera can be just as big as a bus.
Thankfully, not all of the residents are projectile flinging maniacs and some will actually aid you in your escape by sticking their hands out of their windows while holding food or star pickups. The star pickups spawn jumpers, which means if your animal gets hit by an obstacle and starts falling down, you can get a second chance if you manage to guide them towards a jumper. The jumpers break the animals fall and allows them to continue their ascent, so you will only lose some ground and not the entire game.
The controls are as simple as can be and you only have to tap the screen to dodge the falling obstacles. It doesn’t matter where you tap on the screen either, as there are only two sides of the skyscraper to travel along and each tap causes a switch. Obstacles come at you thick and fast, so it is a good thing that the controls are very responsive. The audio is nice and unobtrusive, staying relatively calm during normal play and only becoming a bit more frantic when your animal is falling to their doom.
Because of its simplicity and the ease with which it can be played there is very little to fault about Zoo Landing. It can obviously become a little repetitive after extended plays, but trying to beat your previous distance is addictive enough that you’ll keep coming back for more. Unlike many other mobile titles that rely heavily on power-ups and upgrades to progress, Zoo landing requires pure skill.
Anyone looking for a great looking game that is fun to play in short bursts should definitely give Zoo Landing a shot. Since it is a free download there is nothing to lose by checking it out.