If Zoboomafoo is successful at doing one thing, it's working as an advertisement for the children's TV show on PBS.
If Zoboomafoo is successful at doing one thing, it's working as an advertisement for the children's TV show on PBS--because as a game it offers very little entertainment. At the beginning of the game, you find out that it's Lemur Day at Animal Junction, and the resident lemur, Zoboo, wants to celebrate with some of his animal friends. However, the Kratt brothers aren't around to help out, so Zoboo must provide food for the party by gathering snacks from different parts of the world. In the process of searching for the party food, you'll learn about the various animals that have visited Animal Junction in the past, as well as the animals found within each level.
It's an easy task, but Zoboo's snack hunt may ultimately prove to be a frustrating experience for its intended audience. Part of the problem is Zoboo's touchy control makes it difficult to avoid bodies of water and native animals, both of which can deplete the amount of snacks you've collected. Conversely, when using Zoboo's leaping (or running) ability, the control becomes sluggish, making it even more difficult to perform basic actions, such as jumping or climbing. The overhead perspective seems to compound the control problems, as it's difficult to tell where Zoboo is capable of jumping to. This is especially problematic when Zoboo is trapped in a river and there's no obvious piece of land for him to jump on to.
Any problems in the control scheme are overshadowed by the fundamental flaws in Zoboo's snack hunt. Whenever you make contact with one of the native animals--which you learn about as you progress through the stage--or fall into water, one snack piece is taken from your inventory. Fortunately, it reappears wherever you collected the last snack. But if you lose more than one snack at a time, it's nearly impossible to retrieve them in timely manner, because it's so easy to lose track of where you collected the last few snacks. You often have to go back to the beginning of the level and retrace your steps over and over, especially when you've reached the exit but haven't collected enough snacks. Granted, you only have to collect 25 of the 50 snacks in each level to complete it successfully, so you can take the easy way out, but by doing so, you dramatically reduce the replay value of the game--though, there really isn't any to begin with.
Zoboo does have a sniffing skill that might help you find where the remaining snacks are, but you have to be so close to the snack to begin with that no amount of sniffing will do any good. In addition, there are some special animal friends located in each stage that can help you reach previously unattainable snacks, but because of the touchy controls, some of the special animals in later levels are a chore to use.
While there are plenty of spotty moments, Zoboomafoo: Leapin' Lemurs isn't a complete loss. The graphics don't suffer from any particular problems. Most of the animals are easily identifiable, and the environments are accurate representations of their different types of habitats. With the exception of in the arctic stage, the music is subtle and serves as a complement to the different stages, but it's nothing that will make you take notice.
Zoboomafoo: Leapin' Lemurs' inconsistent control and frustrating gameplay make it difficult to recommend, even for a younger audience. Its only redeeming quality is that it provides information on the animals that visit Animal Junction and the animals that Zoboo encounters on his journey, which can range from butterflies to arctic foxes. But in the end, you're probably better off just watching the television show--you'll get the same kind of facts with much less frustration.