Super Exploding Zoo: Fun with the animal kingdom

June 29, 2015

Super Exploding Zoo

Super Exploding Zoo, at first glance is a simple puzzle game with cute graphics. It looks like something you might find on Kongregate: fast, easy to explain and teeming with short enough levels to play four or five while waiting for something else to happen. The first few levels do nothing to dispel that notion. You’ll guide an animal through a simple level, collect some companion animals, blow some stuff up along the way, kill the monsters and win.

Every level or two, a new animal type is introduced. The basic penguin just walks around looking adorable, the monkey can climb walls and push detonators, the alligator can form a bridge over shallow water, and the lion can slow monsters down. You’ll need all of these abilities to protect the eggs and defeat the monsters in each level. The opening levels are obvious and serve as a tutorial. Later levels will leave you scratching your head and struggling to figure out just the right strategy.

Super Exploding Zoo

Do I need to get the lions first to slow the monsters advance? Do I need to avoid the monsters on the way to the monkeys, so that I still have alligators to make a bridge on the way to the penguins? Or do I need to do both? Tactics mode makes an otherwise unruly game perfectly manageable. Moving 25 animals around can be a chore. Getting the lone monkey in your group next to the detonator can be impossible without pausing the action, selecting the monkey alone and getting him to do his thing. You can even issue orders to one animal and have them expertly carried out while you control another. Of course, you still have to decide if that lion is more useful as a monster-slowing force or an offensive one, because it hits for four points while the penguins hit for a mere one.

Aside from the main objective of protecting eggs and vanquishing monsters, there are stickers to collect, junk to blow up and alternate animals to unlock. Stickers can be found in out-of-the-way parts of many levels, so collecting them is a very risky proposition. Blowing up objects contributes to your score, and collecting animals in each level means you have leftovers at the end of the level. Those leftovers can’t be carried forward into subsequent levels, but you can take them to the hatchery and throw them at a giant egg to unlock alternate animal skins. Turtles are functionally identical to alligators, but they look different and sound adorable. It’s nice to have side objectives, and these ones aren’t just for trophies; you can see the fruits of your obsessive labor in-game.

Super Exploding Zoo

Super Exploding Zoo is a lengthy experience, as well. There are a ton of levels, the overworld can be explored and all of the collectibles make replaying levels fun and rewarding instead of something no player will ever do. The visuals are cute and the soundtrack is upbeat. You’ll find yourself playing just once more to see a new animal type, go back for a new sticker or finish with animals to throw at that giant egg in the hatchery.

Pros: Numerous animals with distinct abilities, tactics mode, unlockable skins
Cons: Slow ramp-up, no hint system when a level is failed repeatedly

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.