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Home » Planet Zoo Review: Is it Worth the Hype?

Planet Zoo Review: Is it Worth the Hype?

Before you read my Planet Zoo review, yes, the game is worth the hype. Spoiler alert, I absolutely love the game. However, there are aspects I prefer from its counterpart, Planet Coaster. If Planet Zoo has taught me anything though, it’s that I’m not going to be taking on the role of Matt Damon or Scarlett Johansson anytime soon. If you haven’t seen it, they star in a film called “We Bought a Zoo“.

On my latest franchise, I managed to get myself into debt with only my second habitat in place. When the Arctic DLC was released, I was eager to create a beautiful frozen lake scene.

Planet Zoo Review
Planet Zoo Arctic Pack

I created such beauty but I got a little carried away with my Timber Wolves. I took out two loans and reminded myself that I should probably stick to the sandbox mode. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get too caught up in the details to worry about finances!

If you’ve played Planet Coaster, you’ll understand the level of customisation Frontier offers its players. From changing the structure of the land to placing individual bushes down, let your creative mind be set free.

Actually, I think this is a really good thing. When you start a new zoo in Planet Zoo, you’re always presented with flat land which is pretty boring. I have genuinely spent HOURS sculpting land and not even realised it.

If you head over to YouTube, there are so many inspirational videos available. Lots of very skilled people offer up their talents, presenting walkthroughs of their creations. If I had more time and patience, I’d definitely love to indulge even further.

Animals

Planet Zoo animal enrichment

Obviously Planet Zoo is about animals, but it’s so much more than just that. However, for now, I am going to focus on the animals. The models of the animals used in this game are unbelievable. Watching the way they move, interact, and go about their daily business intrigues me.

In the past, I’ve found myself just watching the interaction between my zoo’s animals. Whether you have a habitat with just one animal, or multiple species living together, it’s truly something else.

You can hear every scratch, howl, and roar. For me, the animals are something that hasn’t needed to evolve much since the Planet Zoo beta.

There are times where you’ll need to manage your animals a little more than others. For example, some inhabitants get stressed out without enough coverage. I’ve had a few occasions where my Lemurs felt the guests entering their habitat were a little too intrusive. It’s an easy fix though, and all part of the fun of managing a zoo.

Economy

zoo game Animal Market

The economy and the financial side of running a zoo can be tough. Like I’ve already mentioned, I’ve fallen into debt more times than I can count. Maybe that’s the issue though… maybe I can’t count – doh!

However, I have had a lot of fun playing with Planet Zoo’s Conservation Credits. These can be earned in a number of ways, which you can read about here.

There’s also a Conservation Rating in Planet Zoo. This is based on a number of things like guest happiness, popularity, animal welfare, and more. It’s definitely worth investing some time into displaying information and educational screens/speakers.

Game Modes

Planet Zoo Arctic Pack

Planet Zoo offers multiple game modes. The first of which I suggest playing is the career mode. This has a built-in tutorial that will teach you the mechanics of the game. I was too eager during the beta that I kind of forgot to learn how to play…

Franchise mode is where I spend a lot of my time. You can build multiple zoos, each costing Conservation Credits to open. You can carry your credits over from one zoo to another, as well as trading animals with other Planet Zoo players.

Sandbox mode is a great place to simply play. You’ll have no financial worries, being able to freely explore the fun of the game. If you’re like me and can spend hours on creating a shell for one building, I suggest this is the game mode you indulge in. In fact, you can pretty much terraform yourself the perfect zoo layout with no financial burden, ready for a ‘real’ game later down the line.

game Franchise visiting status

The online mode of the game is a little weird. This is probably my biggest gripe with the game because it has left me a bit confused. The menus are still really laggy and often don’t work. This was a big issue during the beta and still seems to be even now. You also can’t actually visit someone else’s zoo which is disappointing. Unless my friends were to physically upload their zoo to the workshop (then you download it), you can’t visit their zoo.

Planet Zoo Review Conclusion

Although I pretty much suck at this game, I absolutely love it. From the outstanding landscapes to intricate details, Frontier has won me over again with their zoo simulation masterpiece.

Granted, there are aspects of the game that are frustrating, but it’s hard to find an absolutely immaculate game. However, Planet Coaster may still tip the scales for me. I prefer the concept of Planet Zoo, but somehow feel the execution of Planet Coaster was done better.

Overall though, I am 100% going to be spending many more hours playing Planet Zoo. What’s not to love about going into so much debt because you want to build a 5-star hotel-like habitat for your Lions?

If you’ve enjoyed this Planet Zoo review and want some Planet Zoo tips and tricks before diving in, check out some I’ve put together here.

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Summary
My initial question was whether Planet Zoo is worth the hype and I can say for sure, it is! It's definitely had its issues, but I firmly believe the developers listen to their player base and do what they can to fix them. Planet Zoo is worth the price tag, and it's a game I will happily buy the DLCs for, without question. If you like the thought of managing your own zoo, including its animals, guests and financials, Planet Zoo will tick all those boxes. The intricate details help to make this game stunningly beautiful, with magnificent landscapes, 3D modelling, and awareness about conservation.
Good
  • Conservation Education
  • Detailed landscapes
  • Intricate customisation
  • Animal modelling and behavior is great
  • Multiple game modes
Bad
  • Online mode sluggish
  • Have to download friends zoo to visit
8.9
Great
Gameplay - 9.5
Graphics - 9
Audio - 8
Longevity - 9
Written by
Co-Founder of unboxedreviews.com - Georgie is a freelance Content Writer specialising in gaming news, reviews, and technology. Georgie enjoys stealth, survival and RPG games. She loves penguins, unicorns and anything that sparkles!

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