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My Zoo - Miniature WiiWare Review

posted 4 Dec 2009, 08:01 by Billy White   [ updated 20 Jul 2010, 20:23 by Knuckles Sonic8 ]
WiiWare | Simulation | Hudson | 1 Player | Nintendo Wi-fi Connection DLC available | Out Now - 500 Nintendo Points | 

My Aquarium has certainly been one of the more controversial WiiWare releases since it's launch in the Summer of 2008, mainly due to the fact that the gameplay is virtually non-existent in that your only "objective" was to decorate a fish tank, fill it with fish and then watch it, and also because it's still managing to linger around the top end of the WiiWare charts. The only redeeming feature of the game seemed to be the fact that it made for quite a nice relaxing screensaver on your TV, although even then it still seemed relatively pointless. With My Zoo, Hudson has effectively taken a similar concept but replaced the fish tank with a small enclosure and the fish with popular Zoo animals, from Elephants to Lions and your average Three-Banded Armadillo.

    Thankfully, all the animals offer more interactivity than the fish in My Aquarium, as you get the opportunity to call them over to you and pet them with the remote, but sadly this idea is flawed due to broken controls and the animals' severe lack of emotion when being pet. Sometimes, depending on the animal and it's age, their personalities will change, varying their energy levels amongst other things, but this hardly effects the gameplay whatsoever. Sadly, further limitations come in when you discover upon starting the game that your (simplistically dull) enclosures are limited to three animals each, all of which have to be of the same species. This is a bit of a disappointment, but it does help with another new feature that allows your animals to breed, adding further animals into their fold (just in case you're too lazy to add more animals yourself).

Other than the age differences (which, for example, add manes to the lions as they grow older, amongst other things), all the animals in the same species look the same, sadly also causing any remaining personality or individuality left in the "characters" to become obsolete. Despite the game's flaws though, they have still managed to fit another few small features into the game, with the addition of further downloadable species (released intermittently over the coming weeks at 200 points each) and the ability to change the music or, in the indoor level, change the lighting. You can also "sweep" up some dirt with the brush, but this once again feels badly implemented due to the fact that it just disappears after waving the remote over it a few times, with no animation or reason for it's appearance given.

    Overall, Hudson have taken an average idea and shoehorned further badly implemented features into it, creating a game that tries to be a fun, downloadable pet simulator, but instead turns out to be an underwhelming attempt that feels unpolished in just about every area, from the scenery to the interactivity. What's more is that the screensaver function here is even less appealing than that in My Aquarium, but if you really want to watch a small group of indentical, emotionless animals stroll aimlessly around a small generic area, at least it's only 500 points. Billy White

Gameplay 3/10 - Presentation 6/10 - Enjoyment 1/5 - Other 3/5