Review by sonic479

"Logic is involved alright, but at the same time, fun."

Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, one of my childhood favorite games. Really fun, and still is now to an extent. But why an 8? If it was that enjoyable, wouldn't it be higher? Well, there are reasons.

Story - 3/10
Simple story but at least there is a story. Zoombinis lived on an island peacefully until a certain foreign group arrived on their island and decided to make a deal with them. They can work as their lifestyle and could become rich and have more freedom, thanks to them. Of course, Zoombinis thought about it and thought it was a great idea. Until a couple of days later...we see that they are working really hard every day, dragging around like slaves, and having no freedom at all. So one decided that they should escape to a faraway land to start a new life and so that is what they do.

Gameplay - 8/10
Gameplay is the majority of the game and from the title, Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, you could very well see that it contains the word "logic" in it. This game primary focuses on this element.

To start out, you need to create Zoombinis in order to even start playing the actual challenges in this game. You do this by selecting a bunch of features (eyes, nose color, hair style, etc.) from a 5x5 grid. Here is the deal, it is quite possible to make duplicates of the same one. For starters, you should definitely take advantage of this. Makes for the game a little simpler if you are a type of person who wants to take the easy way to win the game. But if you like challenges, then all you need to grab is one. Anyway, since it is a 5x5 grid of features, there are a total combination of over 600 Zoombinis you can make! Talk about variety. Unfortunately, you can only carry 16 at a time to escape so choose them and then continue on.

After the creation, then this is where the challenges come in. The game separates the journey into 4 legs: "The Big, The Bad, and The Hungry", "Who's Bayou?", "Deep, Dark Forest", and "Mountains of Despair". Each leg will have a set of challenges for the Zoombinis in order to continue on. But one thing is for certain, all of them require high level thinking skill. So let's take the first challenge "Allergic Bridges". There are two bridges where the Zoombinis must cross. HOWEVER, the bridges will be allergic to one distinct feature of the Zoombinis and when an "allergic" one passes, the cliff will sneeze and send the Zoombini tumbling back. You have certain amount of chances before the bridge collapses from their sneezing.

That is the premise of the challenges. In each challenge, there are a limited number of chances you can have before the challenge has been failed and the rest of the Zoombinis can't move on and are forced to go back. Luckily, there are camp places which act like save points so if you complete one leg of the journey, you will be able to keep the number of Zoombinis who managed to got across the challenges. It is to your advantage though, to grab all the Zoombinis and have them all 16 of them pass no matter what.

For the first time playing, the game will be easy. Everything is already given to you almost so if you can't get all the Zoombinis pass every challenge, then you are stupid literally. Now here's the fun part about it, there are difficulty levels. As you progress, the difficulty level may rise and you could do challenges for those. There are 4 difficulty levels: Not So Easy, Oh So Hard, Very Hard, and Very VERY hard. What makes this game very interesting are those. This way, you won't have to feel bored of the challenges and if you know the challenges well enough, then you get even more of a harder challenge. So let's take an example. In a certain challenge, you must create a pizza for a guy. In "Not So Easy" difficulty, you would be presented a guy and 5 different toppings. Should be simple enough, through "trial and error" it is possible to get the correct pizza in the amount of times allowed. However, in "Oh So Hard" difficulty, the guy has invited one more person and sundaes will appear, bringing in more combinations. But at the same time, the max amount of times allowed for the challenge is increased a little, so that is good news. This brings up more variety to the game, and requires, once more, a higher level thinking skill.

Last thing I will say, which sort of impacts the game a little and the reason why I gave it an 8, is too much repetition. Once you have gone up to the Very VERY hard difficulty, everything is repetitive after that. You could easily remember what challenge is coming up and how to prepare for it. Luckily, to make up for it, the challenges are NEVER the same as previously. So don't bother trying to remember how the patterns work, because it won't help.

Graphics - 6/10
Decent but looks too childish. And the Zoombinis aren't that much different if you just change their nose color or their eyes style and keeping the rest the same. Doesn't necessarily have to be complex though so that is okay. What bothers me is just the bland color. But on the plus side, the character of the challenges obviously have a fantasy theme to it, especially the fact that rocks can talk and giant toads exist.

Music/Sound - 5/10
Aside from one jingle which is catchy since it plays every time before a challenge and the Map music, the rest of the music is plain. There are no upbeat tones which, for my preference, is not my style. That said, most of the game is made up of sounds. And since you are going to be going through the challenges through a lot of times, you should get use to it. But I will say that the actual talking (yes, they speak in English) from the respective characters fits their personality well. And the narrator talks well, making some comedy lines at times, but still making it sound like it was an epic adventure. This saves the score from falling, as the music is the main downfall.

Replay Value - 9/10
A lot. Over 600 Zoombinis need rescuing, 4 difficulties, various challenges. To top all of it, the challenges are never the same as they were before when you played it last time. Therefore, this brings up difficulty and more fun to it, considering how it is unpredictable on how the patterns are for each challenges. There are also surprises await toward the end so make sure you complete the prerequisites first.

Overall - 8/10
This game could very well last you for a while and improves one thinking skills at the same time. Overall, it is very well worth playing, especially for families and people of all ages.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/16/06

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