Zooper is a new match 3 game from Mango Factory that’s been wooing mobile gamers since its recent launch. Perhaps no other casual gaming genre has made the switch to touch-screen mobile gaming as seamlessly as match 3 games. This classic game theme has survived every type of platform and console evolution, and now, match 3 games still thrive in the iTunes App Store. So it’s little wonder that developers continue to come up with new match-3 titles, but how many more twists on this old theme could there be?

Apparently, the genre has some life in it yet because Zooper is incredibly fresh and engaging. Most match-3s revolve around a fairly strict grid of some type, and matches are made horizontally, vertically, and/or diagonally. Zooper turns the regimented match-3 world on its head. The animal characters which are fodder for the matches are tumbled together. Rather than arranging them using some strictly linear set up, the player can rearrange the animals by tilting the device or using their fingertips to move the creatures.

The game’s whimsical character design and cute sound effects are part and parcel of its overall high quality gameplay experience. Zooper even has a developed backstory—hardly a necessity for a match-3, but it’s a breath of fresh air to see this level of commitment from developers. A “zooper” is a zoo warper. Which is what, you might ask? Well, “warping” refers to warping animals from space back to Earth. This is necessary because they’re in space against their will, and not only have they been kidnapped, they’re at the mercy of some extremely unsavory scientists who are experimenting on them. What self-respecting zooper would allow these atrocities to continue? Not this one! But there’s a catch, of course. To send animals earth-ward, the zooper has to round up like animals in groups of (you guessed it) three or more. Only then can they be transported to safety.

Using touch controls and tilting, the zooper gets the animals grouped up, then taps the groups to send them off. One of the best qualities of Zooper is the variety of combos and special abilities players can access. Upping the ante with more advanced game mechanics is what sets a match 3 like Zooper apart from its more simplistic competition. After all, the strongest and weakest point of the match 3 genre is its lack of complexity. Match 3 games are easy to learn, but without proper pacing and intriguing mechanics, they’re just as easy to forget about. Zooper avoids this trap by having perfectly executed pacing and difficulty and unique mechanics and physics. Players can try to create special power animals to liven things up, as well. These keep Zooper fresh and challenging, whether it’s the first time a player tries it out, or the thousandth time.

Monkeys, tigers, pigs, bears, and lions make up the menagerie you’ll be fighting to free. Zooper’s clean graphics and well-thought-out character design means match-making is visually easy. The background music is unobtrusive and the sound effects are a perfect match for the game’s animations.

What’s not so simple is becoming a true master of the game—and that’s a good thing. Players will learn the basics of Zooper in moments thanks to the game’s simple tutorial, but there’s plenty to build on with special moves, combos that give more points, and of course, the ever-increasing challenge of more animals pouring onto the screen faster as the player levels.

Zooper is available right now in the iTunes App Store, and you can download the app for free!

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