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.
Had 2 much less famous sequels called Mountain Rescue and Island Odyssey.
Tropes in the game:
- 100% Completion: A new monument is built in Zoombiniville the first time the player completes a path on a new difficulty setting without losing any Zoombinis. As noted below, some paths are harder than others.
- 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.
- 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 Gosh Hornet 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.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Half the Zoombinis are different in appearance. The other half are twins of the first half.
- 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.
- 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...
- Frogs and Toads: The Titanic Tattooed Toads.
- 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.
- Gosh Hornet: 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.
- Grid Puzzle: Mudball Wall. Each colour and design corresponds to a different point in the grid.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: From "Not So Easy" to "Very, Very Hard".
- Idle Animation
- Large Ham: The narrator, and Arno the pizza troll.
- The Migration: the Zoombinis flee Bloat-controlled Zoombini Isle and seek a new place to settle.
- The Quincy Punk: The Fleens are, for the most part, a bunch of little green Waddling Head Quincy Punks.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Zoombinis.
- Rock Monster: The Stone Guardians.
- 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 communicate in nonsensical chatter.
- The Fleens speak in their own form of nonsensical chatter as well.
- 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.
- 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.