Quirky and addicting zoo sim, Lets Build a Zoo, captivated me for twelve hours straight. I regret nothing.
Lets Build a Zoo is one of those games where you continuously play to improve your park or in this case zoo. Developed by spring loaded and published by No more Robots, this clever park management sim has rocketed its way to easily one of my favorite of the genre. Let’s dive in here at VIBE and find out why.
The game starts off with a tutorial in the form of tasks. These tasks guide you through the main tasks of the game which include building enclosures, sourcing animals, and decorating the park with amenities for guests. The tutorial follows the player throughout the game with each new addition. As a result of this, the player is never truly alone to deal with all the game has to throw at the player and offer. The tutorial was less invasive than most tutorials as it allowed you to do other activities before completing the tasks. For example, I decorated my entrance path before moving on to find how to source animals.
The main focus of the game, you guessed it! It’s to build a zoo with high ratings, high visitor footfall, and high quality animals. The ratings are spread across several factors which involve water supply, transport routes, amenities, animals featured, and costs of the park.
Lions Tigers and Bears Oh My
The animals have a wide range of variety. They range from domestic animals such as pigs to some of the wildest such as hyenas or a komodo dragon. The zoo allows you to source and trade animals from other zoos across the world. As a result of this, the player ends up with exciting additions to their zoo. On the other hand, the player may recieve animals of the more domestic variety. As shown above, a pig is traded for some geese. Additionally, there is a chance to adopt animals for a cash price and the list resets everyday. This way players can have a variety of animals on display for the visitors of your zoo.
An interesting feature to the game is the ability to splice animals together. At first, as an avid animal lover I was extremely sceptical but when I saw some of the hilarious combinations, I knew it was a lighthearted feature of the game. The splicing allows for insane combos of animals. A favorite in my playthrough was a snake and pig, a snakig. In turn, this generates a higher park rating and, of course, morbid curiosity attracts the visitors in droves. However, to start the slicing process the player must have acquired five different breeds of the animal. This encourages utilizing the breeding program which involves researching and building a nursery. Players can then select specific animals to breed to then make different variants of the animal. As a result of this, the more breeds discovered allows for more variety and increases park rating.
Your Choices Matter
During the game, choices pop up to the player. Each choice will have either a good morality or bad morality option. For example, a mob boss asks the player to feed a corpse to their animals and if the player selects yes then they will accrue negative morality points, but if they reject it they will accrue good morality points. The morality meter allows for certain buildings to be used. Good morality generates positive buildings for the animals such as ethically safe processing for milk and eggs etc. On the other hand, negative morality generates buildings such as glue factories or abattoirs. Both used to transfer animals into products for profit.
How Does The Game Hold Up For A Park Sim?
Park Management sims are an increasingly popular genre and have featured several releases. The main features of sims include visitor management, budget management, and construction overseeing. Let’s Build A Zoo has very easy mechanics and it’s quite easy to play. Visitor management is dependent on whether people are fed, seeing great animals, and prices are not too high. The advisor for the park will quickly inform the player if they are lacking in any aspects. Budget management is probably the most difficult as everything costs money. This ranges from food supply from the enclosures to the staffs wages. It’s easy to run out of money but things like loans and selling animals and products help the player build it back up. Lastly, construction is well oiled and there is not much confusion about placement and having a good infrastructure for the park. All of the above resulted in an easy accessible park sim management game which is enjoyable at the same time. Personally, the most enjoyable thing for me was seeing the park flourish.
Heat Maps Are Every Players Best Friend
A handy tool for players was the heat map function. This allowed players to open several different tabs and make sure thing such as the water system pumps were reaching all enclosures. This is essential for smooth running of the park and cuts time out of having to go to each enclosure separately. As pictured above you can end up with several enclosures and it’s hard work to manage them all individually. The different tabs can be selected and then players can choose which one to work on.
Thank you as always for sticking with me for my articles. I wholeheartedly recommend Lets Build A Zoo. This quirky, quaint but questionable park sim will allow for countless hours of fun. Especially if you are looking for something not serious and to sink time into. If you are still on the fence have a look at the trailer below and let us know in the comments if you do decide to pick it up! Link available here for steam purchase: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1547890/Lets_Build_a_Zoo/
26, Indie Game connoisseur. Also a hamster mum, fiancée & working in the addiction field. Gaming and writing are my escape and comfort for when the world gets too much!