Get a chance to save endangered animals and learn about them in the process in this pet simulation slash management game by Social Gaming Network. Rescue Safari puts you in charge of a wildlife shelter, left in ruins by your missing uncle. On this magical island, you get to help cute animals coming from environments such as the mountain range, rainforest, tundra and savannah. There are plenty of furry friends to rescue and, let's face it, squeal in delight over. There are Yellow Tigers, Panthers, Bears, Meerkats, Caribou and more to keep you busy.
Release Date: 01/11/2015
Available on: Tablet, Mobile, Android
Help Save Them All
As part of the conservation team, you take charge of everything from planting crops to breeding pairs in order to cross species off the endangered list. With the cool down based game play and the animals constantly requiring your care, there is an endless list of things to do. Not everything is unlocked at once though, so you have enough time to get used to the mechanics of the game before things get busy.
The first thing you have to learn is how to locate animals that need your attention. Clicking on the Watchtower displays a Safari Status Report wherein you may check who is healthy, sick or injured. If there is another of the opposite gender, healthy animals are available for breeding. You will get to play matchmaker, make them fall in love and have them produce offspring. Doing so will add hearts for that breed. Reaching a certain amount of hearts will unlock facts about that breed and also help you cross them out of the endangered species list.
Demanding Little Critters
The controls you use in caring for sick or injured animals are mostly the same. For the injured, you will need to click and drag band aids to cover their scratches. It is the same for the sick ones, but instead, you will use capsules. This is a very simple mini game which is timed. Aside from possibly needing to reposition band aids, there is no penalty for low accuracy so even kids can do it. Also, the time requirement is reasonable so you are rarely pressured to fast track things. Due to the fact that you would have to do this often, we would have preferred some differences between the two mechanics.
You initially start with only a small portion of the magical island to mind. Trees surround your shelter, which limits the spaces wherein you may place new buildings and rescue stations. In order to expand, you will have to cut down trees one at a time, either waiting for it to finish or paying some Minibucks to speed things along. Speaking of currency, there are two variants used in Rescue Safari. Coins serve as the most commonly rewarded in-game currency. These are used to pay for most of the free items as they are easily earned by finishing quests. Minibucks on the other hand serve as the currency for special items as well as most premium content. These may also be earned by doing quests but are rarer and given out in smaller quantities than Coins.
The Pay to Progress Curve
As with many freemium titles, Rescue Safari comes with a few related quirks. For instance, it periodically advertises other games by the developer mid-game. The ads themselves aren't the problem, in fact, you may just find other, similarly entertaining games to play. The thing is, the ad is not displayed on a banner but it is shown in a separate pop up window that blocks the whole screen, leaving you no choice but to click or close it. The close button does not appear instantly with this pop-up, you will be forced to wait a few seconds to locate it --that is if it appears on your screen. At times it does not show at all, leaving you no choice but to quit the app and restart to resume playing.
Don't get us wrong, Rescue Safari is not a bad game. If you are not the type to be bothered by quirks like that, the variety of quest types are actually refreshing. Aside from caring for your rescues, you may be asked to take a picture of a certain animal and share it on Facebook ala virtual wildlife photographer. There are times when you are asked to plant new types of seeds or unlock vehicles from the shop to proceed the story.
It Looks Good
Rescue Safari's graphics are undoubtedly one of its most attractive features. While you cannot interact with the animals like in, say, Nintendogs, you are rewarded with an endearing animation whenever you successfully treat its wounds or ailments. The user interface is neat and logically organized, making it easy to find what function you need. The icons are clearly labeled too, which means you need less time to figure things out initially. One issue we had however, were the typos found scattered about the quest instructions and unlockable facts. It is not hard to understand the text, but this issue should have been addressed before launching the game for native English speakers.
Figuring out how the game works should be easy enough for anyone who has played similar titles before. There is a Help menu, but sadly, the topics covered are very limited. For those who are new to the genre, the quests are designed to introduce new elements gradually. However, if you did not economize the use of Minibucks, there may be times when you get stuck. So word to the wise, you may want to hold off on rushing cool downs along using in-game currency unless you are willing to make in-app purchases to clear quest objectives.
We have no qualms with the soothing audio loop used as the game's background tune. There are ambient clips used to emulate the feeling of being in a safari, which fits the game perfectly. Realistic sound effects were chosen for each animal as well, which helps them come to life. There are some which require a bit of equalization, but it is nothing that cannot be remedied by adjusting the volume settings.
With its top notch graphics, charming animals and varied quest objectives, Rescue Safari is a game that will likely make many young wildlife enthusiasts happy. As you level up, unlock new types of furry pals and breed endangered species, you are rewarded with new animal facts. This gives an added, educational incentive for those who are long-time fans of the game genre. The pace is relaxing, which may be your cup of tea if you just want a fun time waster.
The only major issue here is the presence of glitchy ads that sometimes become hard to close. Perhaps a future update will address the issue, but for now enjoyment of the game depends on your tolerance of this persistent quirk. Also, since it is a freemium app, be sure to heed the developers suggestion on the app store and check your purchase settings if you are going to introduce it to kids.
Overall, though there are some issues that need extra attention (such as the grammar) the pros still outweigh the cons. So if you are ever in the market for a game featuring cute wildlife animals, join the conservation team in Rescue Safari. We give this game a score of 86/100.
Rescue Safari is developed by MindJolt.