In late 2008, Realore Studios
released a couple of "Jane" games. First there was Jane's Hotel
, which kinda sucked. The company built upon that to make the sequel, Jane's Hotel; Family Hero
much better. But then they took a step backwards with Jane's Realty
. The latest Jane game, Jane's Zoo
was released in June of this year. I took some time to play it last night to see how this version
has changed dear Jane.
It's a little weird to see our hotel hero taking over caring for animals at a zoo, but people do make life changes every day. Maybe Jane got tired of the hotel/realty biz. Despite the weird setting, the gameplay is actually quite a lot of fun. The first level starts out really easy, which is as it should be. There are two animals that you need to feed and care for. Once you get the hang of things though, you get more animals and more things to do with the animals. By the end of the first level, you'll have four animals that will need feeding, bathing, exercise, and wellness visits. Not to mention that your handy helper has to water the grass in the enclosures, clean up the trash, and fix the animals' houses. While it sounds like a ton of stuff to do, you don't really get overwhelmed with the amount of work. The workload is nicely balance so the frustration level stays low.
In addition, there are mini-games where you are finding trash in forest locations. After you complete the mini-game, you have the option to upgrade your workers. Yes, the worker upgrades (how fast they can work, etc.) are completely separate from the zoo upgrades. You buy upgrades for the zoo with the money you win after completing each section of the main level. The worker upgrades come from the mini-games. And since the mini-games only come a couple of times each level, you aren't ending up with overpowered workers. They are gaining new skills at a decent pace.
I really enjoyed playing Jane's Zoo. Even more, I'm happy that the series has finally managed to find a good theme that is balanced and fun. I hope that Realore is able to keep it up!