Over the years there has been many games that have seen their release on a new generation console, years after initially releasing. Titles such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Borderlands and Bioshock have all had shiny upgrades, moving forward with console technology. It is rarely surprising with the titles that are chosen to receive this upgrade, that was, until now. ZOO Tycoon released on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One in 2013, has been one of the latest titles to get the new gen, 4K Xbox One X, HD upgrade, one would wonder why?
ZOO Tycoon, as the name suggests, is a management simulation in which you repair and rebuild ZOOs. You need to build and upgrade enclosures, keep the animals and patrons happy and make your ZOO the best it can be. Like most simulation games, ZOO tycoon is played from a bird’s eye perspective, but there is the ability to move into a third person mode also. The game encourages this, and many of the tasks are completed by playing as your ZOO Tycoon (I guess we will call him).
The game allows you to partake in a lengthy tutorial which showcases the games mechanics. These are reasonably basic and you soon get the feeling that ZOO tycoon is aimed at a younger audience. You are able to place features such as, food stops, decorations, animal showers, play grounds, naturally, animals are also able to be added. Adding these raises the happiness of your animals which in turn brings a greater audience, allowing more money to be generated.
There are a few modes available, a free type mode that allows you to simply build a zoo, multi-player and the games main attraction, a campaign mode. Here you have to repair and build up ZOO’s from around the globe with challenges that are required to be met for progression. I found this mode the most enticing due to being goal orientated.
If you have ever played a business simulation before you will know how it works, but the 3rd person view feels somewhat original. You can jump in a cart and scoot around the park, hand feeding animals, and run around looking at everything up close. It is quite fun, and hand feeding the animals is unbelievably cute.
The range of animals is huge, over 200. They range from common types such as Antelopes and Chimpanzees, to exotics such as Jaguars and Platypuses. Yes, there are Australian animals, and even an Australian ZOO quest in the campaign mode. There is also an animal encyclopedia which gives detailed information on each of the games animals. This was quite educational and a great addition.
ZOO Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection is an adorable looking game. I have not played the original, but this edition looks really good. The animals ooze of cuteness, my young boys really enjoyed hand feeding the animals. The presentation lies somewhere between cartoon and realism. It’s sharp and vibrant, with the game being enhanced for 4K and is HDR compatible.
There is a multi-player mode available. Up to four players can manage ZOOs together and swap and trade animals with people from around the globe. I have not spent much time with the online mode as the campaign drew my attention, but can say it all runs quite smoothly.
ZOO Tycoon: Ultimate Animal Collection is good simulation which has a little less depth than most. It seems to be aimed at a younger audience but I still found enjoyment here. I’m not sure the longevity is there to keep a gamer coming back due to repetition, but the campaign mode tries to keep things somewhat fresh. It looks good, is low priced and worth checking out for younger folks if you don’t have the original.
Thanks to Microsoft for providing Daily Joystick Podcasts with a copy of the game for review