Zoombinis Review – A Classic Game for a New Generation of Players [iPad]

zoombinis_iconTo be perfectly honest, I’ve never heard of the game Zoombinis before. This was an educational game that appears to have been really popular in the late 90’s, but that could be because in the late 90’s, I was already in college and not too much into educational games. After doing a little research, I came to discover that Zoombinis has had a rather interesting and storied past. It’s a story that would be worthy of a full length documentary but not one that I’ll go into detail here. Instead, lets talk about the game itself, one that took years in the making to arrive in the form we have it today.

Zoombinis is a logic game that requires problem solving, analytical skills, and pattern recognition. The goal of Zoombinis is to get your little Zoombinis to their final destination by solving a series of logic based puzzles along the way. You need to get as many of these guys to the end as possible. What happens here is that at the very beginning of the game, a set of random Zoombinis are created. Each is entirely different from one another with maybe one or two common traits.

Puzzles in the game are presented to you with no real instruction. It’s up to you to discover what it takes to get your Zoombinis past each obstacle. For instance, there could be two bridges guarded by two different guardians. One would only let Zoombinis pass that have no feet while the other one requires feet. Of course you don’t know this ahead of time and must somehow determine this outcome on your own through trial and error and observing what traits they seem to allow. It’s very statistical and requires a lot of analytical observation. You only get a set number of tried to figure out the solution and meaning that those Zoombinis who don’t make it past the puzzles get left behind.

There are even some “boss” battle included in the game that also require logic and some trial and error to beat. These usually involve trying to figure out what the boss wants and not what type of Zoombini you have.

I have no idea how the original game looked back on PC, but Zoombinis on the iPad isn’t bad looking at all. It does have that old school feel to it where you know it came from the 90’s, with its cartoon look and feel. There’s also a lot of narration and story involved which seems to be another trait we don’t see too much these days with educational style games of this type. The graphics and art are quite colorful and they would appeal to kids these days I believe. Also the narrated voices I think make it easier for kids to follow along with the story and keep them interested.

Zoombinis is quite an interesting game, one in which I don’t think there really is another game quite like it on the App Store today. It helps with your reasoning and observational skills as well as problem solving. What’s neat here is that the solutions change with each playthrough because of all the variations you can get with the random Zoombinis generated.

This would be a great game for kids as it teaches them something that can be quite difficult to learn, yet it’s done in such a way where again, it doesn’t seem like they are learning anything at all.

iTunes Link: Zoombinis
Version: 1.0.2
Developer: TERC
Price: $4.99
Compatible Devices: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPad.

Description

Play Zoombinis and guide the little blue creatures through fun and increasingly challenging puzzles on their way to a new home.

Zoombinis is a re-creation of the classic, award-winning 1990’s puzzle game Logical Journey of the Zoombinis. The small blue creatures, each with distinct personalities and appearances, are escaping imprisonment by the evil Bloats who have taken over the Zoombinis’ home. Players take on the role of guide and help the Zoombinis reach the safety of Zoombiniville.

Use logic, analyzie data, spot patterns and hone problem solving skills. Players face a series of increasingly difficult challenges that stand between the Zoombinis and freedom. Twelve perilous puzzles each with 4 levels of increasing difficulty, a great story, and many fun and memorable characters make for an engaging and challenging experience.

We challenge you to get all the Zoombinis to safety!

The Challenges

• Allergic Cliffs
• Stone Cold Caves
• Pizza Pass
• Captain Cajun’s Ferryboat
• Titanic Tattooed Toads
• Stone Rise
• Fleens
• Hotel Dimensia
• Mudball Wall
• Lion’s Lair
• BubbleWonder Abyss
• Mirror Machine

Featuring

• Beautiful new backgrounds
• The original voices for the Narrator, Stone Guards, Pizza Trolls, Captain Cajun, and the Innkeeper
• Restored music from version 1.0 of the original game
• Improved celebrations and achievements

[via iTunes]

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