Personal revelation: I love animals! Always have, and always will. When I travel, one of my first attractions is usually a zoo, aquarium, or natural history museum. Not to mention beaches, refuges, and forests. And while we’re at it, throw some vegetarian restaurants into the mix. That is one reason today I’ll be reviewing Planet Zoo.
Unfortunately, haven’t been able to go much of anywhere in a while due to you know what. It’s a subject that is turning video games less into a way to relax and into a full-blown way to experience things.
And that’s how it used to be for me when I was younger. When I was in my teens I loved games like Sim City and The Sims because they helped my rural isolation experience the world in the way that good books do.
I would be seriously inept if I were not to mention a current love for the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small based on the book series of the same name. Plus I’ve either had pets or lived with pets my whole life. Most of it consists of feeding guests in our yard these days, which I love. There are also all the wonderful social media pet personalities, who help me start my day with a woof or a meow.
Planet Zoo: Animal Party
Planet Zoo is a zoo simulator. You can play in either career, challenge, or sandbox mode. A lot of it can be played online, but it’s not necessary. I played for a couple of hours in career mode. It’s one of the few times where I’ve played a game tutorial and felt like I was doing some positive with my time by learning to play a game. That’s just the way this game is.
You basically control a few major components of the game, and all of them revolve around the welfare of your virtual animals.
1. The construction, modification, and maintenance of exhibits for animals.
2. The acquisition and caretaking of animals.
3. Management and dispatch of zoo staff like keepers, maintenance, and even concessions.
Additionally, the guests who visit the zoo are an important element of operations that will see the animals and donate to the zoo, in collection baskets around the exhibits. They keep the finances of the zoo going, but the main focus of this game is the animals.
You’re The Leader of the Pack
The amount of intricacy in this game is mind-blowing. Just a glance at the needs meters of any animal has so many diverse components from food to how long the grass affects the mood of the animal. It’s a very important component of the game. The career mode tutorial will explain everything perfectly so I recommend starting there. There are a ton of animals too; when you purchase a new animal there are variations in animals on the market in age or scarcity.
The only discrepancy I had was the prices seemed way too low for exotic animals. Like an ostrich for $200? I know that’s not the best example, but do zoos get a discount? It doesn’t matter really. I just remembered that I bought a house in the Sims last time I played for $15,000. It’s all good.
After this, I guess you can do whatever you want. It seems like there are a lot of different ways you can play Planet Zoo. Were I to fall in love again with a game, Planet Zoo would work! You’ll quickly notice there is no shortage of things to do around your zoo.
You can grow your staff, make a profit, experiment with design, and thrill guests. It’s all there. Should I pick this up again, I think I’d go for a sandbox mode.
I could really have fun learning all the detailed settings I can improve my zoo with. You’ll notice in the screenshots that there are plenty of buttons with different features. This will guide you on your zoo building.
The Circle of Life
I said it already, but I really suggest you complete the first few missions in career mode to get started. It is narrated by a compelling zookeeper named Nancy that will tell you how the game works. It really did make a pretty compelling case for how easy yet customizable Planet Zoo is. That will give you the key information you need to get started like how to make exhibits and purchase animals.
I found this game on sale at Steam for $22. It usually goes for about $44. People really love this game though, and I can see why. Animals rock and you’re probably going to develop a care for real animals because of it.
A couple more things to note. This game will utilize a nice graphics card if you have one. If you don’t, as of this writing, best wishes for finding one. There is a shortage of superconductors currently which is making it extremely difficult to purchase video cards online. I didn’t even know about it until last night, but it’s a legitimate problem.
In context, I ran this game on an Nvidia GeForce 750 Ti in Medium mode.
I want to play this game more. I really got excited about all the different animals. There is also a game called Planet Coaster. I think that one is pretty fun too, and naturally, I’m guessing, very inspired by the classic Rollercoaster Tycoon. Planet Zoo and Planet Coaster are generally on sale at the same time it seems, but Planet Zoo might be more popular. Not sure. I want to play Coaster too. Did mention DLC?
Final Thoughts on Planet Zoo
Oh, yeah, one more thing. There is some sort of online component to this game. I don’t mean to sound uninformed, but I really did not understand it. I guess guests can visit your zoo? Like some James Halliday zoo tycoon Oasis? You’ll probably notice I’m not really into multiplayer games, but it didn’t seem to affect anything and you can play offline after the first session.
Although zoos in real life are super important, which obviously this game will convince you of, if you can’t get to one right now, you can get into Planet Zoo for the cost of admission at a regular zoo instead.
That’s it for this one. If you don’t buy pizza at my food kiosks, I’ll forgive you and won’t throw you in with the lions. Check this game out if it interests you, it’s got another Mr. Dave Pizza seal of approval.