Zoombinis Island Odyssey
The story follows the Zoombinis, a strange race of creatures that found themselves exiled from their homeland by the horrible Bloats. The Bloats destroyed the natural habitat and then abandoned the isle, leaving the Zerbles and other wildlife struggling to survive. The Zoombinis have decided to return to the isle and try to sort out the situation; the plan is that every Zoombini returns to the island carrying a caterpillar. The entire ecological system depends on co-operation between the different plants, animals and insects on the island. The caterpillars will be fed to make them go into cocoons, brought to the planetarium to transform into moths and then brought to the plants to help pollinate them. The pollinated plants must then be planted, the fruit fed to the Zerbles and the Zerbles paired off to mate. Once the Zerble population, increases, the island’s ecology will slowly recover. Sounds easy enough?
There are over 200 Zoombinis that have to make it to the island and complete all the tasks before the island is returned to its original state. The inhabitants return in teams of 12; you can either create your own Zoombinis or randomly select a team of 12 using the automatic selection button. This should keep children busy for hours; it takes time and effort to move all the Zoombinis through the tasks successfully. You only have a limited number of chances to get the Zoombinis through each task — get it wrong too many times and you’ll have to come back for the ones who didn’t make it the first time.
Of course, there is a purpose to the fun; children develop maths, logic and science skills as they go. Logical reasoning, data analysis, problem solving, theory formulation and testing are all introduced to children through the game, among other skills.
There are three levels of difficulty for each of the tasks. The tasks get progressively harder as more Zoombinis complete the task, but this can be reset to the easiest difficulty level on the island map page.
When the Zoombinis first reach the island, they must catapult themselves onto the towering cliffs of Zoombini isle. You are given an unlimited number of muck balls and only 12 boulders (this decreases according to the number of Zoombinis in your team). Only the boulders will catapult the Zoombinis to the safety of the cliffs; the muck balls are merely for lining up the boulders correctly and testing out the catapult. To get the boulders in the right place, you have to count the gears and work out when the boulder should be dropped so that it is catapulted successfully. This can be harder than it sounds, especially as the difficulty level increases.
The next task involves placing hieroglyphic panels in the correct places on the wall; once through this task, the Zoombinis move on to the planetarium to help the pupae transform into moths. To do this, you have to match the exhibits with the time on the clock, using the provided coins to move the exhibits; one is a sun exhibit, the other moves the earth on its axis.
Other levels use mazes to develop pattern-finding skills to guide the moths to the correct plants and Venn diagrams to find out what the Zerbles like to eat. Once the Zerbles have been fed, children get to dabble in genetics by matching the Zoombinis genetic traits with those displayed to produce the right offspring.
The entire program is colourful with a heavy emphasis on fun, so much so that children will probably forget they are supposed to be learning at all.
A fun yet educational program that should keep most children busy for hours.Rating: 60%Price: TBA