Games of the Year

Planet Zoo

Planet Zoo Screenshot 1
Planet Zoo Screenshot 2
Planet Zoo Screenshot 3
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Build a world for wildlife in Planet Zoo. From the developers of Planet Coaster and Zoo Tycoon comes the ultimate zoo sim, featuring authentic living animals who think, feel and explore the world you create around them. Experience a globe-trotting campaign or let your imagination run wild in the freedom of Sandbox mode. Create unique habitats and vast landscapes, make big decisions and meaningful choices, and nurture your animals as you construct and manage the world’s wildest zoos. Meet a world of incredible animals. From playful lion cubs to mighty elephants, every animal in Planet Zoo is a thinking, feeling individual with a distinctive look and personality of their own. Craft detailed habitats to bring your animals’ natural environments home, research and manage each species to allow them to thrive, and help your animals raise families to pass their genes onto future generations. Manage an amazing living world that responds to every decision you make. Focus on the big picture or go hands-on and control the smallest details. Thrill visitors with iconic exhibits, develop your zoo with new research, and release new generations of your animals back into the wild. Your choices come alive in a world where animal welfare and conservation comes first.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I can't sleep at night. This game ruined my life. I close my eyes and all I see is planet zoo.

Review from Steam

I like this game. But those dlcs are really expensive.

Review from Steam

Overall Rating: 8.5/10
(TL;DR at the end)
Okay, there's a lot to go over for this game.
If you are the type of person who seriously enjoys simulation games that you think you'll only play for an hour or so and end up staying awake until 4 am, this is one of those games. From its endless amount of creative freedom to its beautiful graphics, Planet Zoo has become one of my top favorite games.
I was an avid player of Zoo Tycoon 2 many years ago - had all of the expansion packs and spent hours upon hours managing my little animals and their little zoo. When I jumped into Planet Zoo, I was expecting a similar game. To put things short, Planet Zoo is its own ball game.
In Planet Zoo, you really get immersed in the whole zoo management system. There's so much that you have to keep in check while designing your zoo, but it's not so much to the point it becomes overwhelming. One moment you'll be making sure your animals have the correct environment in their enclosure, next you'll be making sure your staff have the correct balance of jobs (work zones saved my life on that one). The never-ending amount of creative freedom in this game provides endless opportunities for whatever your heart desires. If you're the type of person who doesn't like spending hours hand-designing shops, enclosures, etc, the Steam Workshop is filled with thousands of custom-made exhibits, decorations, anything you could dream of. On the other hand, if you are the type of person who likes to design things specifically how you like them, Planet Zoo offers endless chances to design whatever you want, however you want (to an extent).
Now, the only reason I wouldn't give this game a 10/10 rating is due to some of the very poor development choices. Probably the most infuriating one that you'll see mentioned in plenty of other reviews is the path system. God, does the system need to be redone. It's extremely finicky at some times, and you are guaranteed to end up with little gaps in your walkways while designing your zoo. The only way to combat these is either using the grid system for your paths or filling the small gaps with decorations, but otherwise, you just have to suffer through it. Another major development issue is that zookeepers will quite literally let some animals starve to death. If your animals have certain enrichment items in their enclosures, the keepers register that as being food and will avoid feeding the animals. If you're seriously concerned about game bugs, I'd recommend reading multiple in-depth reviews, as some explain them better than I can. IMO, the game is most enjoyable in sandbox mode, since the majority of bugs can be worked around through the creative settings.
If you're seriously considering buying Planet Zoo, please put in the patience and wait for a sale. Yes, the game is extremely enjoyable, but with what the cons and expansion packs entail, I wouldn't rush to buy the game at full price.
TL;DR: Planet Zoo is a stunning simulation game that lets your creativity run wild. Hype aside, it has some extremely frustrating bugs and game mechanics. Recommend waiting for a sale to buy.

Review from Steam

build a zoo, feel unsatisfied, make a new zoo. repeat.

Review from Steam

Literally half of my playtime is spent just watching the animals run around and interact with their environment!

Review from Steam

You can kill the guests

Review from Steam

Like a good chunk of other players, I was interested in playing this game because I spent way too much time as a child playing Zoo Tycoon 2.
While this game is very good, and does scratch the itch of a zoo simulator, I would say it is not the perfect successor for the Zoo Tycoon series if that is what you are searching for.
This game is is definitely geared more towards a micro-managment system, which for me, was a bit overwhelming initially. You have to consider power grids, poor environmental appearance, noise, etc. Following the scenarios and tutorials were a big help - I would not recommend diving into sandbox mode immediately. I found the controls and gameplay to be less intuitive than ZT2.
That being said, I do enjoy playing this game, and the graphics are pretty spectacular. I have a fairly high-end PC so I've had no trouble running this, but for those with lower specs, the experience might be dampened somewhat. I haven't run into any major bugs, apart from the fact that staff and guest can get stuck on pathways or objects if too crowded.
My main point however, about the difference between Planet Zoo and ZT2, is that Planet Zoo lacks the zanyness and emergent gameplay ability that the Tycoon series had. You can't breed killer penguins, you can't unleash tigers on the public so they would grab the guest by the pants and shake them around. No random guests showing up in odd outfits or with peculiar names. I also sorely miss some type of ground mode, where you have a guests-eye view of the park.
Planet Zoo is great, but it's missing that spark that the Tycoon series had. It's more dedicated to being realistic and almost corporate, than a wacky zoo game. If that is for you, then you will enjoy this immensely.

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