It was first
released in 1996, and the original CD-ROM spawned sequels, yet this game
remains our favorite educational software game in 2004. Zoombinis
Logical Journey is an outstanding program. Why? It has
withstood the test of time, appeals to girls and boys equally, has
sizable content, is fun to play, and is a fabulous workout for the
creatures, called the Zoombinis, are odd yet entirely endearing.
They are peace-loving characters who need some help, and players instinctively
want to do just that! They have unfortunately been turned into
slaves, and leading them to freedom is the premise of the
goal of the game is to get Zoombinis from Zoombini Isle to
Zoombiniville. Obstacles, in the form of challenging logic puzzles,
are met along the way. Players need to choose 16 Zoombinis each time
they return to Zoombini Isle. They toggle through different
combinations of the four variables that not only make Zoombinis
different, but become variables in many of the puzzles. This
is because the Zoombini's attributes form the basis of the logic
puzzles themselves (in most cases).
four variables are: eyes, hair, feet, and noses. For example, a
Zoombini might have a blue nose, one eye, pointy hair, and wheels as
"feet". Another Zoombini might have a purple nose,
sunglasses, hair in a ponytail, and skates.
first challenge the Zoombinis face along the road to Zoombini Isle
is Allergic Cliffs. The cliffs are allergic to certain attributes of
the Zoombinis, but it's up to players to determine exactly which
cliff is allergic to which trait. Using trial and error, and powers
of deduction, players may be able to get all or many of the
Zoombinis across. One of the best-loved activities involves the
Pizza Troll (see screenshot immediately below), who is finicky about the toppings he would like to see
on his pizza, but who is not telling exactly what it is he wants.
Educated trial and error is necessary in order to feed the Pizza
Troll what he wants, which will grant the Zoombinis passage through
to the next puzzle.
children progress, the puzzles remain the same but increase in
only problem with the game is that it is difficult to
"beat". The highest difficulty level seems impossible.
This doesn't deter children from playing, however.
sequels have been released in the last few years. The second title
in the series, Zoombinis Mountain Rescue, is the stronger of the
two. As solid as the sequels are, however, neither has the
devotional appeal of the first.
We have owned
the Zoombinis since its original release, and it remains a
favorite with my children. Their friends often ask to play the game
when they are at our home for play dates. Interestingly enough, it
has captured the interest of my kids sporadically as they grew. One of my
daughters enjoyed the game as young as 4 years old (on the basic
level) and now that she is 10, she still returns to the game.
beauty of Zoombinis Logical Journey is reflected in its
harnessing of play (involving experimentation and inventiveness) as
the means through which children develop logical thinking skills.
Zoombinis Logical Journey