In many ways Planet Zoo is a successful combination of Frontier Developments’ last two games: Planet Coaster and Jurassic World Evolution. The sim park management and robust construction tools from Planet Coaster are all here, but we’re trading in our Teacups and Giga Coasters for African Buffalo and Reticulated Giraffes. As in Jurassic World Evolution, these animals have a complex list of social, environmental, and dietary needs, and taking care of them is the most important element of running a successful zoo.
My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!
#6 Jurassic World Evolution
Developer: Frontier Developments
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
I have fond memories playing Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis back in the early 2000s. It was basically a dino-themed Sim Theme Park but with excellent use of the official license and a truly impressive dinosaur AI. Fast-forward a decade and a half later and we finally get the spiritual successor we deserve.
Frontier Developments streamlined much of their also excellent Planet Coaster to make a more console-friendly theme park game, but thankfully they kept the intricate dinosaur AI that makes managing, caring for, and dealing with dinosaurs so rewarding and fascinating.
The campaign is broken up into multiple islands, each with their own specific challenges and objectives, like extremely limited building spaces, or tropical storms that knock out your power grid and soon cause running and screaming. DNA progress and unlocked research carry over between islands, letting you hop back and forth and essentially play multiple games at once.
Figuring out how the most efficient and effective ways to manage the dinosaurs is a satisfying puzzle, as each species has specific requirements towards foliage, social herds, and enclosure size. It’s even a viable strategy to feed herbivores to carnivores and let dinos duke it out, increasing their star rating and boosting sales, turning everyone into the callous, nature-strangling overlords that Dr. Ian Malcom warned us about.
I admit that 2016’s Planet Coaster is ostensibly a better, and more robust theme park game, but I’m a huge sucker for dinosaurs and Jurassic World Evolution is the closest thing to a Jurassic Park dream game I’ve been waiting over a decade for.
Read the full guide on Pixelkin
Jurassic World Evolution isn’t a particularly challenging or demanding theme park sim, but it has its quirks, and does a poor job explaining many of its systems. On any of the remote tropical islands within the Muertas Archipelago the Oooh-ing and Ahh-ing can quickly devolve into running and screaming. Or worse, you simply run out of money, whether through guests’ lawsuits or poor planning.
We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to help prove that a dinosaur theme park can be a successful, and profitable, venture.
Read the full guide on Pixelkin
Fifteen years ago I fell in love with Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis. It was the original dinosaur park sim that let me prove that breeding dinosaurs for consumer entertainment is a totally valid business strategy.
Now from the makers of Planet Coaster comes Jurassic World Evolution. Like the current era of Jurassic World films it’s not quite as good as the original. But Evolution does feature all the joy and danger of breeding and housing dinosaurs for entertainment that makes the concept so richly compelling.
Creating your own amusement park should never go out of style. Frontier Developments’ new self-published title Planet Coaster captures the magic of roller coasters and theme parks from classic games like RollerCoaster Tycoon and Sim Theme Park. Planet Coaster succeeds as a modern update to a classic formula thanks to intuitive controls and an aesthetic that keeps everything light and fun.
Planet Coaster includes three main ways to play: Campaign, Challenge, and Sandbox. In each mode you start with a large tract of land, several rides, and a few thousand dollars. Guests pour into your park, each with their own needs and wants. It’s your job to satisfy them all (and take their money) while researching and building new rides and venues.
The developers of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 are looking to continue their successful formula with their latest park management simulation, Planet Coaster.
One of the most beloved series to emerge from the popular Tycoon/Sim genre was RollerCoaster Tycoon. Pitting you in charge of your own budding amusement park, the series enjoyed several expansion packs and a passionate fan base. Later the games transitioned into 3D with RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, and even later onto consoles with the spiritual successor Thrillville.
Now the same developer is looking to continue their successful formula with their latest park management simulation, Planet Coaster.
“Planet Coaster is a game we’ve wanted to make for a long time,” says Jonny Watts, Chief Creative Officer for Frontier Developments. “But it’s only now as a self-publishing studio we’re able to make the game we had envisioned.”
For fans of RollerCoaster Tycoon, you’re in luck. After trying the Alpha version, Planet Coaster plays much like a natural evolution of those great theme park classics. You’re given a large, empty plot of land. From there you can construct pathways, shops, buildings, scenery, rides, and of course elaborate roller coaster designs.