Imagine: Zookeeper Game Poster Image

Imagine: Zookeeper



Simple, accessible, and fun animal care for young girls.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn about wild animals and some of their basic needs in this simple but fun animal care game. Players get to track and eventually interact with virtual versions of lions, zebras, and giraffes in a simulated wilderness while learning to recognize their behaviors and moods. In Imagine: Zookeeper, kids bring wild animals back to camp for treatment and learn how to use medicines, food, water, and enclosures to gradually heal them.

Positive messages

This game is all about caring for animals. Players get to pet, examine, treat, and feed them.

Positive role models

Players assume the role of a zookeeper who finds wounded animals in the wild and brings them back to a preserve to care for them. She is surrounded by other animal loving professionals who help her do her job, including a veterinarian, a photographer, and a professor.

Ease of play

Simple touch-based controls. All activities are preceded by short text instructions the first time you play.

Violence & scariness

Not an issue.


Not an issue.


Not an issue.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Imagine: Zookeeper is targeted at young girls and its focus is animal care. Players find sick or hurt animals in the wild and bring them back to a preserve where they can be treated and fed in safety. The game’s characters, including the player’s avatar and her many colleagues at the preserve, are all kind-hearted animal lovers who never show any sign of cruelty or ill will. The game isn’t quite as educational as one might hope, given its theme, but it is completely free of violence, bad language, and sexuality. Plus, it’s a cinch to learn.

Parents say

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What's it about?

IMAGINE: ZOOKEEPER, yet another entry in Ubisoft’s quickly growing line of Imagine games for girls, is a simple animal care adventure. It puts players in the role of a young zookeeper who is recruited to join a nature preserve. Her job is to explore the wilderness, documenting animals and taking sick creatures back to camp where they’re treated and cared for. Out in the wild, players take stock of animals in helicopter flyovers, track them by their footprints, cautiously approach them, and pet and examine them to gain their trust and see if they require medical attention. Should they need immediate help, you’ll hop into a jeep and drive them back. All of these activities take the form of simple touch-screen minigames. Back at camp, players get to construct customized buildings, including enclosures, watering holes, and medical facilities, again, using simple touch-screen controls. Preserve management performance is graded with stars, which are awarded when animals are given adequate food and water, are properly cared for, and when all buildings have enough energy to function properly.

Is it any good?


Imagine: Zookeeper is among the more simple animal care games available, leading players through quick and easy missions in the wilderness and holding their hands through camp construction and animal care. It does a good job of keeping players in the action and out of menus; players will be sent on their first exploration mission within a couple of minutes of powering up the game, and there’s never more than a few lines of text to be read between events.

Plus, the graphics are great. Zebras, lions, giraffes, and koalas animate nicely and appear surprisingly large on the DS’ tiny screen. Plus, they react to our interactions with genuine emotions, moving their heads into our strokes and rolling over to show us their bellies when happy. It’s a bit low on educational content—we’ve seen evolving animal encyclopedias in similarly themed games—but its accessibility and fast-paced action ought to appeal to young animal lovers.

Online interaction: Not an issue.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it takes to look after animals. Do you think it’s as easy as the game makes it appear?

  • How realistic do you think this game is? Do you think that a sick wild lion would allow a human to walk up to it and take it back to an enclosure for medical treatment? Is there any way the game could have been made a bit more realistic and retain its all-ages appeal?

  • Did this game give you any ideas about what you want to do when you get older?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Subjects:Science: animals, biology
Hobbies: building, pets
Language & Reading: reading
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, investigation
Emotional Development: empathy
Self-Direction: initiative, set objectives, work to achieve goals
Available online?Not available online
Release date:October 6, 2009
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors)

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