Planet Zoo – Review
Follow Genre: Simulation
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Planet Zoo – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Atmosphere, Options, Decent Tycoon game
Bad: Random crashes, Loading times, Some mechanics don't properly work
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Back in 2013, Microsoft Studios published Zoo Tycoon, which was, at the time, a great experience for the Xbox 360. Even within the capabilities of the previous generation, the game looked quite spiffy and attractive, and it felt like it put the console to the test. Of course, the game also saw a release on the Xbox One, where it looked even sleeker. Nonetheless, even though it scored well on the site, many people considered the game somewhat basic and rudimentary for an actual Tycoon experience. Now, Planet Zoo tries to tackle a lot of the initial remarks for Zoo Tycoon, by creating a very expansive and intensive zoo keeping experience.

Story

While the campaign has a bit of story value, introducing your character as a brand new zookeeper, that’s also all there is to it. You do have conversations with other characters who tell you what to do, but it’s all just a bit of context given to the game, to make the frame a bit more appealing. You do have the chance to learn a bit more about the animals you can purchase for your zoo, as well as their living conditions, as you’ll have to adapt the terrain to their needs. Don’t expect to become a zoologist after playing the game for a couple of hours, but you will still learn something in the process.

Graphics

Graphically Planet Zoo is quite impressive. It does take some time for the game to take shape though, especially when playing the sandbox mode. The zoos are built from the ground up, where you have to customize the habitats, the terrain and so on before things actually come to life. There are plenty of animals to choose from and the premade zoos already look quite impressive. The game does have a few graphical glitches though, where animals move through obstacles. Other than that, Planet Zoo is an impressive piece of work, especially when looking at the details of the animals, and even the visitors of your zoo.

Sound

The sound design of the game is upbeat and cheerful, which suits the theme of the game. Some tunes might get a bit repetitive, but when you’re focusing on building and browsing through the game’s many menus, you often won’t notice the background music, to be honest. There is some voice acting present in the game, and it is handled in a very qualitative way. Sound effects are decent, but they don’t stand out too much.

Gameplay

Planet Zoo is a simulation game in which you manage preexisting zoos or build one from the ground up. It’ll be your task to create and maintain habitats, to buy animals, to check up on their needs, make sure your visitors have a pleasant stay and so on. We can immediately tell you that Planet Zoo is no title to dive in without playing the tutorial levels, as the game is too much to figure out on your own. The game’s campaign is a great way to ease in, and allow yourself to learn the ropes. You don’t need to play that many levels to grasp the basics, but it’s advised to spend some time in the campaign, fixing up existing zoos.

You can opt to play the campaign mode which will drop you in existing zoos, to finish up certain tasks, to embed new sanctuaries and so on. The campaign mode is elaborate enough to spend a lot of hours on, especially if you want to tackle all the objectives per level. You can of course also opt to play the sandbox mode or go for challenges. The game has a lot of content and you can pretty much choose whatever you fancy on doing.

For the most part, the game handles quite well. The camera controls can be a bit clunky and slow, but the menus are clear (once you know where to find whatever it is you’re looking for) and the UI is simple but suffices for the tasks at hand. The only thing that feels somewhat clumsy is placing the walls of the different habitats. It’s sometimes a bit awkward to draw the proper plotlines and the editing options aren’t always easy either. Sometimes it’s also nearly impossible to replace one wall-type with another, as the game keeps switching back to the one that you want to replace. Some changes should be done here, making things a bit better.

The game does suffer from random crashes and long loading times. We tried the game with a more than an adequate setup and once every two boot-ups of the game, the game crashed. There was no clear indication of why this happened, but it got annoying really fast. Add to that the long loading times of the game, and things might get annoying if you want to get a quick session in. The game is rather heavy for your PC as there are a lot of moving components and the overall graphical prowess is quite high, but we are under the impression that not everything is properly optimized.

Conclusion

Planet Zoo is a real zoo management game that lets you customize things however you want. The game does have an intermediate learning curve, and there is a lot of content to explore. We advise you to play through (part) of the campaign before you dive into the deep end of the game. If you’re looking for a great Tycoon game, with many animals to choose from, great graphics and many different options, you should not hesitate to get this one. Keep in mind that the current build clearly has a few optimization flaws.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Planet Zoo - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.