The game is basically a pet sim, management game hybrid. In order to keep the magical island’s furry inhabitants happy and healthy, you will have to build rescue stations. Clicking on the Watchtower gives you a Safari Status Report wherein you may spot injured or sick animals. Bring them to your Shelter to treat their wounds by using click and drag controls to apply band aids. If you are able to do this within the time limit, you get some bonus Coins and a happy animal to boot. Keep rescuing animals and you may end up with a male and female of the species. If that’s the case you can choose to breed them. Doing so adds to their numbers and gives you hearts. If you reach 3 hearts with a certain animal type and gender, you will cross them off the endangered list, which is a big triumph for your Shelter.
Quests have various objectives that either help you gain more resources or progress the story. Of course, you will also receive experience points for every quest you finish which will unlock more animals and items you may build on your farm. Items are divided into five groups. Rescue Stations are where you take care of a sick or injured animal. Feeding Stations are specific environments (Savannah, Rain Forest, Tundra, Mountain Range) where you may give food to your rescued pets. Breed Stations are for mating pairs which will fall in love and produce offspring with your help. Items under the Food Supplies category are where you may grow, harvest or store food while Decors serve to personalize your Shelter.
Informative, Yet Tedious Fun
Did you know that the sound of a male lion’s roar can be carried as far as five miles? If not, you can expect to learn more facts like that by unlocking them in Rescue Safari. These tidbits are earned either by breeding animals and earning hearts or by buying them. Because there are bound to be many young players attracted to the game, the added educational snippets do add a lot of brownie points in our book. Who says you never learn anything from games?
Now the drawback to those unlockable Facts are the typos we’ve spotted. In fairness they are tolerable ones, but it is still a shame that such a nice feature has avoidable quirks. The FAQs in the Help section are also very limited so you are bound to figure things out in a roundabout way via trial and error.
There are various other quests such as those that require you to plant certain seeds to restock your food supply or to pick up fruit that randomly appears around your Shelter. You may also be tasked to share photos of your rescues or Like the game on Facebook. These usually earn significant amounts of Minibucks which come in handy to circumvent Rescue Safari’s pay aspect. Again, there are typos in the quest descriptions so you may have to keep your inner Grammar guru in check.
You start out with a small patch of land that you may expand by chopping down surrounding trees. Doing so may unlock new buildings like the Photography Studio. New NPCs that have a clue to your uncle’s whereabouts may reside within, so it is to your advantage to expand your Shelter when you can. Every now and then, you will be asked to purchase a new set of equipment as well. Not only does it help you get used to certain aspects of the game, it also gives you clues as to what feature you have yet to try out for yourself.
In terms of visual appeal, we could say that Rescue Safari is almost flawless. The animals are irresistibly cute and the environments are very polished, with dominant colors appropriately chosen for each habitat. Like say the savannah has mustard yellows and the jungle is dominantly a cool, green tone. We consider the whole package as great eye candy for anybody who appreciates cartoony, googly-eyed wildlife pests.
A soothing sound loop helps you relax while playing. It helps set the “safari” mood of the game. It doesn’t get old no matter how long you have been playing and it does help when you are patiently waiting for, say, your crops to grow. Now that being said, the animal sound clips are a different matter altogether. We appreciate the fact that they chose real animal sounds for the virtual shelter pets, though some are truly startling. The orangutan for instance has a particularly grating sound clip which has a tendency to cut into the audio and make us want to mute the game no matter how mow we set our sound effects volume. Perhaps it just takes some getting used to, but this could have been avoided with the sound clips being normalized.
For the Younger Players
Now for those who wish to introduce Rescue Safari to kids, the thing to remember is that it is a free-to-play game with paid in-app content. Some quests require Minibucks or a considerable amount of Coins to accomplish and paid content is listed beside the free ones so you do run the risk of being charged unexpectedly. Basically, you will have to monitor your purchases outside the app if you want to disable it completely, or at least be sure to brief them on which items to acquire if they are given free rein to use your account.
Aside from monitoring in-app purchases, our only real caveat here has something to do with the ads found in-game. The apps advertised are harmless enough, ushering you to view other games by the developer, thing is, they are shown too frequently. Being interrupted every few minutes with a black screen that shows an app banner manages to lessen the enjoyment of the game. What’s more, the banner pop-ups have a tendency to freeze the game, blocking it with no close button in sight. It makes it feel like it’s a deliberate marketing ploy, letting people check out their games just to stop the ads.
Overall, Rescue Safari from Social Gaming Network is not without its flaws. The game has enough merit to warrant a recommendation for fans of the genre but it is best to give it a try first before showing it to your younger siblings. If you are the type to be patient with quirks and you have had prior experience with management games, Rescue Safari may just be your cup of tea. We started out getting annoyed having to force quit the app after an ad froze the screen but the game does have its shining moments. On instances like when the chubby Yellow Tiger play scratches at your screen or when you rename a Black Panther you just rescued, the game tends to be quite endearing.