Look what the Apple Arcade (yeah, eventually i decided to pay for it, 5 bucks a month it’s not a bad deal overall, in my opinion) resurrected, Zoo Keeper of all franchises.
I distinctly remember when this little match-3 puzzle game came out and managed to make the transiction from cute fun free flash game to full retail release..s, not just on the Game Boy Advance and DS, but even on the PS2. Those were different times indeed.
Of course it had been released on smarthphones after that, as Zoo Keeper DX Touch Edition and it even got a free-to-play VS version, Zoo Keeper Battle.
This new game retains the distinct aesthetic that admittely makes the series stand out more than the gameplay itself, one that translates well in voxel-style 3D graphics, but thankfully developer Kiteretsu also added more aside puzzles, in this case being the ever-popular “simulation-lite” management elements of adding more stuff to increase the appeal of the zoo, fulfilling requests, or doing menial jobs like cleaning up, alongside some minigames.
The simulation elements are lite as expected and needed, but the core gameplay it’s surprisingly addictive and manages to keep things interesting enough along the way via new obstacles and gimmicks, despite being a simple match-3 affair.
Though i do wonder if it was originally built as a free-to-play game, it’s clearly structured like one in terms of unlocks and progression, there are more currencies and cosmetic stuff like a punk costume for the monkeys, but since it’s an Apple Arcade release there are no microtransactions and shit, so you can actually enjoy playing a puzzle game on mobile without being continuosly pressured into paying money to skip deliberately excessive grind.
Not exactly a “subscription seller” or whatnote, but it’s honestly just good mobile puzzle game fun.