Video Game: Logical Journey of the Zoombinis

The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis is the first and most well-known in a series of Edutainment Games. The Zoombinis, an idyllic race of cute blue Waddling Heads live in peace on Zoombini Isle, until a race called the Bloats comes in and offers to improve their trade routes and infrastructure. But the Bloats are really just looking for an excuse to gain access to the resources of the island. The Zoombinis find themselves enslaved, and so they set out to find a new homeland across the sea.

The puzzles in the game are mainly based off of the appearance of the Zoombinis - various hairstyles, nose colors, etc - which was customizable at the start of each trip. Often, the puzzles would require trial and error in order to figure out the rules. The puzzles themselves ranged from braving difficult terrain (crossing bridges over allergic cliffs or traveling over a watery chasm in a bubble) to getting past the locals (like pizza trolls, or Fleens - a related species to the Zoombinis who were mutated by a bad batch of mousse) to simply getting them all in the right place (in their seats on a barge, or in rooms in a hotel).

At the very end, the Zoombinis that were successfully led through the dangers would find themselves in Zoombiniville, where they would build greater and greater monuments as the population grew.

Unsurprisingly, the series has a Wiki.

Had 2 much less famous sequels called Mountain Rescue and Island Odyssey.

In Mountain Rescue, after a group of Zoombinis get lost exploring a mountain, they come across another group of explorers, a tribe called Boolies (named after Boolean data) who have also lost their way from their hometown of Booliewood. It turns out they were looking for their leader, the Grand Boolie Boolie, so the Zoombinis decide to find the other 400 Boolies needed to summon their leader.

In Island Odyssey, the Zoombinis discover the Bloats have since abandonded Zoombini Isle, leaving it an ecological wasteland. The Zoombinis send a team to survey the damage, revealing the local zerble population is on the verge of extinction. This causes the Zoombinis to send more teams out to try to restore their food chain and get them to begin reproducing, along with the eventual restoration of Zoombini Isle itself.

In 2015, a remake of Logical Journey, simply titled Zoombinis, was successfully funded on Kickstarter. It was released on iOS and Android shortly afterward, with computer ports in the works.

Tropes in the game:

  • 100% Completion:
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: All of the Zoombiniville monuments have this in spades. Even the verb describing how the monument was built is alliterative with the building itself more often than not.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Arno, Willoaen and Shyler are trolls, but they resemble walking trees without leaves. They also love pizza and sundae, but are extremely fussy about their toppings.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Zoombinis are blue and the Fleens are green, though neither of them are particularly humanoid.
  • Anti-Poop Socking : One of the narrator's lines in Zoombiniville reassures the player that they've done enough for now and they should go get some fresh air.
  • Armless Biped: Some Zoombinis. The rest don't even have legs, bouncing around on springs or floating around on propellers.
  • Ascended Meme: In the Kickstarter campaign for the reboot, the lowest-tier rewards were "Just the toppings", "Come on, more stuff!", and "The perfect (digital) pizza". All of which were based on lines from Arno the Pizza Troll.
    • The trailer for the campaign itself also included several. It started off with Arno shouting "MORE TOPPINGS!!" The trailer then goes on to say, "More fun! More ways to play! More graphics and sound! More adventure! MORE ARNO!!"
  • Bee Afraid: Apparently, bees have no problem with Zoombinis. They do have a problem with Fleens. Then again, the Fleens are the ones who disturbed them first.
  • Beef Gate: The second half of the game ramps up the difficulty of the puzzles; the Fleens minigame specifically seems to exist to punish players who "cheated" some of the earlier games by creating twins, as you have to find the three Fleens that will trigger the swarm.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Shyler the pizza troll; his Shrinking Violet persona doesn't stop him from getting violent with the Zoombinis when they can't get his pizza right.
  • Bleak Level: The last three puzzles are all in a cave and have gloomier music and creepier ambient sounds compared to the rest of the game. It's also the only leg of the journey where you don't meet anyone new.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: In the original, half the Zoombinis are different in appearance. The other half are twins of the first half. This is different in the remake; while most zoombinis are different, it is possible to have more twins now, just not on the same crew anymore.
  • Digitized Sprites: The first game uses pixel art (and the remake uses vectors), but the two TLC games have pre-rendered CGI images.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Arno and the other Pizza Trolls have certain toppings that they hate. Another thing to note is that each topping is favoured by only one troll, the other two hate it.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Fleens may well be this to the Zoombinis. On easier difficulties, each trait they have even directly corresponds to a Zoombini trait. On harder difficulties, their traits correspond to another Zoombini trait. Also, apparently, the Fleens used to be an offshoot of the Zoombinis until they were mutated by... bad hair products.
  • Evil Laugh: One of the several snippets of narration that can play at the Shade Tree rest stop includes the narrator bursting into one for no particular reason.
  • Excuse Plot: The Zoombinis need to make it to their safe haven, and only you can help! Are you a bad enough dude to help the Zoombinis?
  • Floating in a Bubble: This allows your Zoombinis to cross the Bubblewonder Abyss. Of course, there are going to be many obstacles in the path...
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Harder difficulties of the Titanic Tattooed Toads level have these coming out of the water to block the way.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: The Zoombinis have kids hairstyles and they're the good guys. The Fleens on the other hand have punk/gangster hairstyles or headwear and they're evil.
  • Grid Puzzle
    • Mudball Wall. Each colour and design corresponds to a different point in the grid.
    • Hotel Dimensia/Didimension Hotel is one with how the rooms are laid out.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Though not very obvious due to her apron, Ulla Instantaneous, the innkeeper of Hotel Dimensia/Didimension Hotel, doesn't wear pants.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: From "Not So Easy" to "Very, Very Hard".
  • Idle Animation
  • Jet Pack: Some of the Fleens have them in place of feet.
  • Large Ham: The narrator, and Arno the pizza troll.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The Fleens puzzle can easily become this if you use twins. You may well be leaving some Zoombinis behind at Hotel Dimensia/Didimension Hotel if you place your first Zoombini in the wrong room on Very Hard.
  • The Migration: the Zoombinis flee Bloat-controlled Zoombini Isle and seek a new place to settle.
  • Orphaned Series: The Chain of Deals that publisher Broderbund went through was not easy on the Zoombinis at all. See the trivia page for details.
  • The Quincy Punk: The Fleens are, for the most part, a bunch of little green Waddling Head Quincy Punks.
  • Recycled Script: The two TLC games have various puzzles that are obvious retreads. Jarringly, there's even a retread of Pizza Pass in Mountain Rescue featuring new creatures called the Norfs.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Zoombinis.
  • Rock Monster: The Stone Guardians and the Allergic Cliffs.
  • Solve the Soup Cans: The game is practically built on soup cans. Some of them make more sense in the context of the story than others, but they're all fairly outlandish. Slips into Alphabet Soup Cans at some points.
  • Speaking Simlish:
    • The NPCs speak English, but the Zoombinis and the Fleens communicate in nonsensical chatter.
  • Super OCD: Captain Cajun will not let you sit on his boat if you don't share a similar attribute with the people next to you.
  • There Are No Tents: Hotel Dimensia is a hotel in the wilderness run by a kind squirrel named Ulla Instantaneous. It's a safe place for the Zoombinis to stay in for the night, but getting into the hotel is a puzzle in itself.
  • Tone Shift: With possibly a hint of Cerebus Syndrome. The first leg of the journey is bright and silly. However, once the player passes Shade Tree, things get substantially darker (in terms of lighting and content) and more serious.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Half of the minigames require various amounts of trial and error in order for you to collect enough information to solve the puzzle. One of them (specifically, Fleens!) appears to be a member of this contingent, but can be figured out before sending any Zoombinis if you pay close and careful attention to the puzzle.
    • At least, so long as you didn't make all or most of your Zoombini party out of sets of twins, which takes it past Trial-and-Error Gameplay and into Luck-Based Mission territory. For that matter, even if you just have a few duplicate Zoombinis, if one ends up on the branch then it's impossible to tell which twin you need to send out before trying it.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Technically enforced in terms of the traditional 3:2 gender ratio in that there are 3 male hairstyles and 2 female ones. Of course, this is just hair, and it's entirely possible the Zoombinis don't even have genders at all.
  • Unexplained Recovery: While the Zoombinis surviving failing most challenges to try again later are Hand Waved in the manual by saying they're resourceful, Bubble Wonder Abyss shows Zoombinis being sucked into a black hole and vaporized onscreen if you fail. And yet, they're right back at Shade Tree afterwards. There's also the easter egg of throwing Zoombinis into the chasm in the Lion's Lair; they fall right back where they started, apparently from the ceiling.
  • Updated Re-release: Thanks to the dedication of TERC and the fans on Kickstarter.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Of course there's the obvious way intentionally getting things wrong, but in examples that you won't be punished for, you can electrocute a Zoombini in Stone Rise by dragging them onto an unavailable space, and in the Lion's Lair, you can throw them into the chasm instead of placing them on the path. They wind up back where they started, but still.note 
  • Video Game Lives: In certain areas, the number of "chances" you have are represented by things like pegs keeping a door or bridge from collapsing, to the number of Zoombinis on a tree branch, or a clock that ticks down to midnight.
  • Waddling Head: The Zoombinis have no arms, and move stuff around by carrying it on their heads or pushing it with their heads. One of the stone guardians calls them "little pebbles". They do, however, have legs connecting their feet to their bodies, at least when they have actual feet in the first place.

Alternative Title(s):

Logical Journey Of The Zoombinis