Puzzle solving, block building and destroying, head to head battles with the animal kingdom, and even cordial greetings are all part of the wonderful meal Zookeeper Battle serves up. If Bejeweled evokes good memories, then Zookeeper Battle should easily do the same and keep you glued to your screen for hours.

You start off by choosing an animal as an avatar, and since I erroneously fancy myself as the king of the jungle, I picked a lion. Then you enter a head-to-head game with an opponent that’s randomly chosen. Players are given columns of randomized animal icons and they must match at least three of the same animals horizontally or vertically within a timed round. Matching most animals will give you attack points to levy at your opponent, but if you want to play a ton of defense, then focusing on the elephant and hippo icons will serve you best. At the end of each 30-second round, the attack and defensive scores are tallied, and the only way you make it to the next round is if your energy bar is not depleted or you completely vanquish your foe. If you and your combatant are still left standing after five rounds, the person with the lowest energy bar level loses.

The panels are also filled with special icons that aid you in the battle. By finding the rare Heart icon, you gain a dramatic boost in energy. Picking the Bucket icon will turn your opponents' panels completely black and white for several seconds, hopefully impeding their ability to collect their animals.

If you like a bit of formality with your fights, Zookeeper Battle offers up standard greetings like “Hi” and “Hello.” After the fight, a simple “Nice Work” or “Thank You” are some of the offered goodbyes. Rematches are also available if you or the other player accepts fight. Winning and losing has a huge consequence, as your World Rank is directly affected by the outcome, and if you don’t want to be ranked 325,559th best player on Zookeeper Battle, concentration and quick instincts are definitely the key.

Although the game is a free download, you can’t play the game for six hours straight without plucking down a pretty penny. You are given five Charge Points (CP) for free to begin the game, but your CP decreases the longer you play. Once you run out of CP, you can purchase Power Bottles to replenish it. If you want to go the free route, the game recharges CP automatically, but it may several minutes before you can do battle once again. Of course, fans of the dreaded words "yolo" and "carpe diem" probably believe time truly waits for no one, and the Power Bottle menu pricing is listed below.

Watching animal blocks explode is surprisingly a great deal of fun, and Zookeeper Battle should keep your attention. Going head-to-head with strangers or even getting a shot to play against your friends is a huge draw for the title, and this is the perfect game if competition is simply in your blood.


App Store Link: Zookeeper Battle for iPhone & iPad | By Kiteretsu Inc | Price: Free | Version: 1.0 | 15.4 MB | Rating 4+

8.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating