Planet Zoo | PC
If you played Zoo Tycoon in the early 2000s, Planet Zoo will immediately feel familiar. Your overall goal, if you can call it that, is the same: build and maintain a successful zoo, whatever that means to you. You pick your animals, build their habitats, and keep them happy, all while keeping your guests happy, too. But Planet Zoo’s tools go much further than Zoo Tycoon’s did all those years ago, from the big-picture management to the most zoomed-in view of your zoo.
Planet Zoo comes from the team behind Planet Coaster, and many of its management features are similar. One of the standouts is a piece-by-piece building tool, which allows you to customize larger structures from individual pieces, as opposed to placing pre-built structures in full. This means you can customize, say, the play structure in your primate habitat to fit the area as well as your own imagination. You can then zoom in to watch as the chimps play on their custom-made playground (or ignore it for nearby trees).
The animals in Planet Zoo have personalities, a variety of needs, and their own genetic print–no two giraffes will have the same pattern. Each individual animal has a series of needs that update in real time as you update things like their habitat’s terrain, the amount of fresh water available to them, and even the climate of indoor habitats. Following animals around just to see what they do is a kind of metagame of its own, too, as they’ll engage in activities both typical for their species and unique to their own personality, like playing with toys.
We only got a brief overview during E3, but it’s clear that Planet Zoo has both breadth and depth. From the basic layout of your zoo, which involves keeping the behind-the-scenes things out of sight and the educational side of a zoo at the forefront, to the minute details of each individual animal, the zoos you can create could only have been dreamed of in the early days of Zoo Tycoon. We’re eager to see the full scope when Planet Zoo releases on Steam on November 5. — Kallie Plagge, Reviews Editor