*Review: Zoo Tycoon
[ x ] remove ads and scale site to 1080p+
[ x ] remove the ads & get mobile premium
pay whatever you want to upgrade
 
 

Review: Zoo Tycoon

2:00 PM on 11.22.2013·  4 minute read   ·  Chris Carter@DtoidChris
0

Perfect for kids and animal lovers alike

Not all simulators are created equal. While some let you dabble into the tiniest microcosmic detail like individual wages of specific levels of society, others are content to let you roam free in a zen garden-like state. The newest iteration of Zoo Tycoon is decidedly the latter, as there's nary a concept presented throughout the course of a game that a child couldn't eventually figure out.

While Zoo Tycoon may not be the most complicated simulator on the market, it has a distinct amount of charm that distances itself from the rush-job many people were expecting. It's also pretty damn adorable.

\ We've blogged about this before: read (2) back stories 

 

Zoo Tycoon (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: November 22, 2013
MSRP: $59.99

Far and away the best part of Zoo Tycoon is interacting with the animal kingdom. There are tons of creatures to choose from, all the way from the noble lion to the smallest lizard, and pretty much everything in between. Going a step above expectations, animals have individual names, personalities, and can be adopted and released. You'll have some idea of what to expect when bringing them in and you'll get updates when they're shipped out, so there's a connection there that's not usually found in simulation games.

It's expected that you'll take care of these animals mind you, with a number of different requirements for each exhibit. Throughout the course of the game you'll monitor your animal pens, and check to make sure they're enjoying their environment, that they're clean, and that they're fed. It's nothing major, really, and it can all be monitored very easily with the press of a button, with meters for each necessity and a few clicks to solve each problem.

But that's all you're going to be doing in terms of the simulation aspect, as there's very little you can influence beyond your animal's welfare. While it may seem like you can control the macro elements of the zoo at first, most of the changes are extremely bare-bones -- in other words there's no "exact percentage" sliders to speak of. For example, instead of upping your park tickets by "55%" to find that sweet spot, you're limited to "free, low, normal, and high" -- a concept that carries over to every other facet of the actual park.

Most of your fun is going to come out of wandering around your creation -- not navigating the game's (lack of) menus. While you can take a traditional overhead real-time strategy viewpoint to manage your whole park, you can just as easily take control of a customizable avatar to walk around your zoo in third person, as well as call upon a golf car to zip around. There actually is a point to the game as well, with various story missions with unique objectives. Goals usually center around earning more patrons or more cash, with the occasional twist. For instance, some missions might task you with taking a specific picture using the first-person camera function -- putting further emphasis on the exploration aspects of the game.

Kinect functionality is completely optional here, and it's mostly for feeding and interacting with animals. Family members will love this feature in particular, especially when they're holding out their hand to feed their favorite creature. There are a few other mini-games you can play with your furry residents (like making faces at them or hosing them down for a bath), and the result almost always ends in a smile.

You can enjoy all these features by way of three major modes -- campaign, challenge mode, and free play. Some of the challenges are puzzle-like in nature, like the ones that force you to build on certain pieces of land with limited resources. Since you can't just expand everywhere to brute force the mission, you'll have to figure out how to make the best of your real estate. There are also a number of social features, like the ability to take care of other player's animals -- but there's no full-on Minecraft-esque multiplayer mode.

Free play is just how it sounds, as the game provides you with unlimited funds to build the zoo of your dreams. It literally is an interactive zen garden, as there's no fear of reprisal for building one too many incorrect environments, and you can fill your park with as many cute animals as you like. I spent more than a few hours in this, and my wife would occasionally look in with an "awww" every now and then during a cute moment. In other words, this mode is perfect for handing off to your kids or non-gamers without a need to coach them at every turn.

Zoo Tycoon has a distinct lack of depth, but if you're capable of sitting down with this simplistic simulator, you'll smile more times than you can count. The simulator fan in me was a bit disappointed by the ease of it all, but the child in me couldn't help but enjoy myself.

 

Zoo Tycoon reviewed by Chris Carter

7.5

GOOD

A solid game that definitely has an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Destructoid Reviews Guide

 
 
 

Enlighten an uninformed cougar: FacebookTwitterRedditEmail
 

#Animals #reviews #Simulators #Xbox 360 #Xbox One
 
 
 
[x] advertisement
 
 


Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC // Profile & Disclosures
Fronts6939Posts1Blogs 36Following180Followers381

Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more
Similar stories on Destructoid:
 
 


Join the robot army! We're a family-owned site, updating multiple times a day (since 2006!) thanks to our Huge Members

Tezwins
Tezwins


Since 10:27 AM on 02.01.2010

diegercvb
diegercvb


Since 3:16 PM on 01.15.2012

ICLHStudios
ICLHStudios


Since 8:59 PM on 01.08.2010

XBOX FNF
XBOX FNF


Since 1:04 PM on 01.04.2011

 

Please login (or) make a quick account (free)
to view and post comments.





Three day old threads are only visible to verified humans - this helps our small community management team stay on top of spam

Sorry for the extra step!