Zoonies - Escape from Makatu (DSiWare) - Review by Andrew



I think we can all agree that the quality of most DSiWare titles are hardly outstanding and weeks will go by without the majority of us even being tempted to trade in our valuable points. Zoonies could easily have been yet another 'ho hum' title especially given that it's the developers first attempt at creating something for the Nintendo platform. A short dig around their website though reveals that they are also behind the incredibly addictive Frisbee Forever for the iPhone which I haven't been able to put down since installing it. With that in mind it's time to spend some time with these 'Zoonies' in the hope that they offer some much needed DSiWare entertainment.


Zoonies has you playing the part (or at least protecting) Leo the lion who has crash-landed in a rather inhospitable Jungle after his aircraft is hit by spears. This has alerted the local Tubas tribe who are on a warpath to capture Leo and exhibit him in their very own Zoo. The first thing that is important to realise here is that Leo is always moving with his only focus on getting to the end of the level unharmed. Unfortunately there's a whole host of obstacles in his way and this is where you come in and by manipulating different parts of the Jungle, with your stylus, you'll be able to clear Leo's path and guide him to safety. Things start out simple enough and tapping rocks a couple of times sees them crumbling to dust but you'll quickly discover that some of these are far more useful intact. There's also a variety of colour-coordinated trapdoors operated by levers, platforms both automatic and manual and even catapults which propel Leo into the sky.

To make matters a little more challenging, you are also being pursued by the Tubas so hanging around too long, attempting to work a puzzle out, will result in a barrage of spears thrown in your general direction. You may also want to collect coins (hidden in huge vases) and your personal belongings, which have been scattered throughout the Jungle thanks to your recent plane crash. This is the one part of the game, which can be incredibly frustrating, as you'll generally only have seconds to complete a number of interactions in order to rescue your camera, toothbrush or item of clothing. There's three items on each level and while you're likely to get the first few, with little problems, the later levels will require constant re-visits if you wish to 100% complete your quest.


While this appears to be your everyday platformer it's not and as a result, you'll require the stylus to control the whole thing.


Don't expect a great deal of variety in Zoonies and a lot of the levels share very similar assets no doubt due to it being a downloadable title. Fortunately what is here looks good and the Jungle setting feels full of life thanks to the games design and a clever use of the colour pallet. The main character of Leo is also very well animated too which is especially noticeable as he looks at you, whenever stationary, evidently pleading with you to make a decision before he's 'speared' to oblivion by the jungle inhabitants.


Other than a suitable Jungle inspired soundtrack the audio is reasonably low key although if you listen carefully, you can hear the Jungle.

Dual screen

Because you don't actually control Leo, but rather manipulate the obstacles around him, you'll need to pretty nimble with your stylus. This is never really anything more than simply tapping the more fragile rocks or flipping switches to clear Leo's path. Sounds easy doesn't it? It's not!

Final comments

Zoonies is a charming, entertaining little puzzler and an impressive debut, on the DSiWare platform, for developers Kiloo Games. The only real downside is that it is a little on the short side and with only 20 levels available you are likely to beat the whole game in one or two sittings. There's still some additional gameplay available should you decide to seek out all the collectables but it's doubtful that this will appeal to everyone. It's still worth a download though and at only 500 points it's not a bad price either.

Pro: Looks Great, Engaging Gameplay, Only 500 Points
Con: Only 20 Levels
Final score: 8


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Boxart of Zoonies - Escape from Makatu (DSiWare)
Platform: DSiWare
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Kiloo Games
Publisher: Kiloo Games