In an app store awash with clones, copies and tired retreads of existing genres, originality is all too rare. Games can quite easily aim for instant mainstream acceptance, losing any real identity in their race for the lowest common denominator, or can be defiantly aimed at ‘real’ gamers, so bullet holes and orcs abound.
Which makes Mr Shingu’s Paper Zoo all the more charming and unexpected. Described by developer, Stormcloud as a cross between origami and Tamagotchi, the game allows players to create little zoo animals – folding them out of sheets of paper. The origami animals can then be tweaked, tailored and, umm, bred, to build little families of animals, which populate the paper zoo.
Origami on an iPad doesn’t sound like the most obvious route for a game aimed at a younger audience, but Stormcloud has created a simple, and intuitive interface for the game, which should enable kids to not only build their animal sanctuary in-game, but go and have fun in the real world, with a sheet of paper and some imagination.
Mr Shingu is, we understand, something of a celebrity in his native Japan. A paper manipulating maestro of no small order. Stormcloud have achieved something remarkable, bringing an ancient and slightly obscure pastime from Japan into the new generation of smartphone and tablet savvy kids (and parents and families and players…) in the West and creating something new and fun (remember fun?)
Mr Shingu’s Paper Zoo is priced at £2.99 ($4.99) and is out now for iPhone, iPod and iPad. Stormcloud are also promising an Android version is coming soon…
Stormcloud has also ensured that the app supports a wide range of languages, with English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, all available from launch.
You can find out more about the game over on Facebook, Twitter or the Mr Shingu website.
Stormcloud’s flock of foldable fauna is fabulous fun. You should buy it for someone you love. Even if it’s yourself…