Zoo Tycoon- Wishing for More

Box art for Xbox One and Xbox 360 Zoo Tycoon
7.5 Overall Score
Graphics: 7/10
Game Play: 8/10
SinglePlayer Experience: 8/10

Light Hearted/Relaxing I Easily Controlled and Understood

Low Customization Variety I Repetitive

Zoo Tycoon for Xbox 360 and Xbox One is one fantastic business simulator. This game is a very fun way to unwind from a busy day and just relax playing games. From the stress-free feel of free-play mode, to the sociable challenge of challenge mode with friends and the amazing career mode; this game is one that could suit any player’s needs. Zoo Tycoon is an Xbox exclusive game that hit store shelves November 22 2013 and has been immersing players in a great management experience ever since!

Zoo Tycoon focuses on your character managing zoos. You will be tasked with multiple different duties to complete along with challenges. The focus here is building animal exhibits, caring for your animals, breeding animals, keeping guest entertained, making money and keeping your park clean. All these duties are fulfilled by you and recorded in specific game stats. The games stars area is particularly neat because not only will you be able to view profits made but you are also able to see different types of animals breeds that you have. It can be addicting to want to collect all the different types of animals and it can be even more addicting to wish to breed different color variants of animals. In a weird way, this aspect of the game can be compared to Pokémon.

Something that could go wrong with a lot of games designed like Zoo Tycoon is confusing handling. This game does handling right; with seamless switches between third-person view and table-top view. The controls are extremely easy for players of all ages to get used to. In the terms of controls it is also to note that it is actually odd when a player wishes to customize a particular exhibit. Within exhibit customization it can’t help but feel like it takes extra time to pop in and out of food, care and entertainment for the animals. Each category of item that you can place within a cage is separated forcing player to push extra buttons to get where they want to be. When you wish to choose an item for the cage that you are customizing you will find yourself popping forward and back quite a bit more than you’d like.

The game also seems to have a lack in animal variety and other customization options. For a game like Zoo Tycoon one of the most important things is to have a complete abundance of animal variety but we feel there might be a lot of different kinds of tigers/ ect but not a huge variety of different types for animals. There are limits with Zoo Tycoon and it would feel a lot better if the player was constantly finding out new things. For a game the focuses so greatly on customization it should feel like you could do anything but in Zoo Tycoon you will be able to see your limits. Maybe the problem lies within the game not building players up to unlocking all content. In Zoo Tycoon the second you start you are able to build each zoos level and unlock everything fairly quickly.

Each exhibit looks identical to the next. When you build an exhibit of the same type (tropical, savanna, ect) it will look like all the other exhibits in the zoo. All tropical large looks like all other tropical large and that is a customization option that would have felt nice to be able to control. The game does give players the option to customize the areas around exhibits with various trees, ricks and more but to not be able to go within the exhibits and truly make them less identical to one another feels like a restriction.

The actual concept of Zoo Tycoon is really very good but the game sort of feels incomplete; to the point of there being surprisingly little noise played throughout the game. The game feels so incomplete there is no background music, the characters make little to no sound and it is rare to even hear the sounds of the animals in your zoo. It seems like more time could have gone into making this the best Zoo Tycoon experience. Players have been presented with an experience that is almost good if it were tweaked a bit. We wanted a game with endless options; where a zoo could have felt like your own. We wanted a game that you could think of any animal and place them in and infinite variety of exhibits, each looking different than the next. While the challenges are addicting and playing with friends is an amazing non-competitive experience it’s the little things that add you to make us feel like Zoo Tycoon for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One could have been much more than it ended up to be.

Don’t take this the wrong way, Zoo Tycoon provides a lot of fun experiences. It is actually one of the few games out there that feels relaxing anymore. This could also be an amazing experience for families with kids to enjoy together. For a core gamer Zoo Tycoon could provide a bit of a challenge. With that being said, it also doesn’t feel up to certain standards. What is said to be wrong with the game might feel like minor details, which they are, but those little minor things do end up adding up especially with what is seen on Zoo Tycoon.

Important Note: As Zoo Tycoon was released for both Xbox 360 and Xbox One, this review was based off of the Xbox One version of the game. The Xbox 360 version of the game has minor detail changes like less impressive graphic, only featuring 65 of the 101 animal choices and it only features a single player mode.


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Author: Heather Spears View all posts by

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