Looking good Poppa Daddy.
Frontier knows how to make good looking games, and Planet Zoo is no exception to that, with graphics that are leaps and bounds above currently available zoo simulations, Planet Zoo could be one of the best looking games of 2019.
With brilliant art & sound design and a familiar UI to fans of the Planet Coaster series, it’s a welcome addition to the Planet family, while it has a few flaws, such as laggy and unintuitive camera movement, its good points shine through and make this a solid 9/10 title.
I will note the dialogue in career mode has excellent voice acting, but the jokes are terrible and I cringed more than laughed at how bad they were, “roarsome…” really…
The terrain system has been dramatically improved since Planet Coaster, however the pathing system remains just as awful as it was in Planet Coaster, and feels less intuitive than 1994s Theme Park.
Motivation and Progression.
Planet Zoo has a deeper emphasis on finances than previous Frontier titles, money doesn’t seem to be an infinitely growing resource, and you need to plan out your business to avoid ruin, this is my favourite element of the Tycoon/Sim genre, and I am glad to see Frontier finally get it right, the animal welfare system is a welcome addition, even if it has a few flaws (look below).
The ability to breed and release/sell/trade animals, adds a stock market type aspect to the game, and the fact it’s shared between players increases immersion greatly, on that note being visited by other Planet Zoo players is a nice touch, and reminds me a little of games like Farm Together.
These elements combined keep you want to log in and play more, and give further motivation to play, beyond merely looking at the cute pandas.. and they are seriously cute.
The upside has its downside.
Unlike previous titles, there now is an abundance of things to do, and many of them add a layer of interaction and challenge that is a welcome change. However, some of these changes feel more like busywork than actual fun, aardvarks need shelters large enough to park a bus, and the sight of a few extra blades of grass will send your tigers into depression, the welfare system is excellent, just feels a little overturned and artificially difficult.
Worth a Buy?
Frontier has addressed the complaints I and many others had with their previous titles, the lack of management and difficulty aspects, while there is still a way to go, Planet Zoo is one of the best Zoo management games available in 2019 and will hopefully see continued support, DLC and updates like its elder sibling Planet Coaster.
With better camera controls, I would be playing it heavily.
I found the camera controls offputting and refunded; for now, I hope in time the pathing system and camera movement will be updated to feel less jerky and provide a smoother experience.
If you can play it without being distracted by the camera movements, you will find it one of the best simulation/management games available.