Cryptozookeeper mobile app

Text adventure classic Cryptozookeeper comes to mobile devices

Screenshot of the game on a tablet. On top half from left to right: a picture of the protagonist, a picture of a house in a desert, and a list of the player's inventory. The bottom half is the game's text.

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April 26th 2019 – Mantissa Ltd has released a mobile version of the classic graphical text adventure Cryptozookeeper by Jolt Country / Robb Sherwin. Cryptozookeeper is a parser-based adventure first released in 2011 to critical acclaim, winning five XYZZY awardsout of six nominations, including Best Game and Best Writing. This is the first time Cryptozookeeper is available on mobile platforms.

Cryptozookeeper is a traditional, Zork-style text adventure, also known as Interactive Fiction. The game is played by typing commands and reading the game's responses as text. Part of the game is centered around creating, training and combat with fantastical creatures, which incorporates RPG elements into the gameplay.

The mobile version of the game has been adopted for both phones and tablets. The game layout adapts to the device it's played on, adjusting the game's graphics depending on the available screen space.

"Cryptozookeeper is an important part of modern Interactive Fiction scene's history and I hope the new platforms help more players find it," says Juhana Leinonen, the mobile version's programmer. "We've worked hard to make the game easy to play on mobile devices without losing the original's unique tone."

The game can be downloaded from the App Store for Apple devices and from the Play Store for Android devices. Cryptozookeeper contains adult themes such as profanity and horror elements, and it is not recommended for children.

Plot summary

Five years into the future, in a dusty town in New Mexico, William Vest has been tasked with delivering a package of alien bone marrow. Everything goes quickly awry as Vest learns his employer has used the marrow as bait, to kill him.

Escaping death, Vest finds himself on the run with only two things that can save him – his complete lack of proper scientific methodology, and a machine that can create creatures of pseudoscience, or cryptids. Along with a few gruff and sarcastic companions, Vest must solve puzzles and scenes in order to find valuable animal DNA that he can then combine into creatures like Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the fur-bearing trout.

In addition to creating these creatures, the player can train and level them up throughout the game by fighting other animals, thus increasing their attributes and ferocity. Once armed with a proper army of fantastical creatures, the player can use them to defeat his enemies as the Cryptozookeeper!

About the authors

Cryptozookeeper author Robb Sherwin ( has written several well-received Interactive Fiction games (list) and is currently working on a graphical text adventure-RPG hybrid Cyberganked.

The mobile version was implemented by Juhana Leinonen (Mantissa Ltd) who has worked for several years on Interactive Fiction related technologies including Vorple and Texture.


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