Planet Zoo

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Planet Zoo Game Poster Image
Deep, attractive, fun zoo sim has some tech issues.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Planet Zoo is a zoo simulation that challenges you to take care of the animals and successfully run the zoo. That means managing the health of the animals while keeping guests and employees happy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There isn’t a protagonist in this game. You're (invisibly) in control of the zoo, animals, and people -- from an angled top-down perspective – and must build and populate a zoo for visitors.

Ease of Play

The game starts off slow enough for you to learn the mechanics, including adjusting the 3D camera to zoom in and out and twist around for a different view of the action. That said, there are some confusig elements to the user-interface that could complicate things.

Violence

Placing animals inside enclosures with predators, like tigers, will usually result in the animals fighting and one will kill the other. On a related note, you can also streak the ground with blood, place frozen blood inside pumpkins for animals, and raw meat and organs can be seen in feeding pens, too.

Sex
Language

There's no inappropriate language, but there's “crude humor” as animals will often relieve themselves on the ground, and in one instance, a guide says something like “Some of them are bursting for the toilet."

Consumerism

There's optional DLC (downloadable content) from Steam.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Planet Zoo is a downloadable zoo simulation for Windows PCs that simulates what it’s like building and running a zoo. You must take care of the animals, keep humans happy (visitors and employees) and be profitable with your tourist attraction. If the wrong animals are placed together (like a predator and prey) it will likely lead to a violent altercation and death. Some blood can be seen, but it's mostly for feeding purposes. Animals may defecate on the ground, and there's some crude humor in the dialogue. There's also some downloadable content (or DLC) to expand the gameplay with new animals.

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User Reviews

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  • Kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byThatPenguin May 27, 2020

Amazing!

I think that this game is great. You get to build a zoo! If you are an animal lover, I would both recommend and not reccomend this game. There is animal death a... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 29, 2020

5 stars

good game, defiantly appropriate for 5+. definitely would recommend it to anyone.

What's it about?

From Frontier Developments, the team behind Planet Coaster and Zoo Tycoon, comes a brand-new simulation: PLANET ZOO. Here, you’re challenged with building a successful zoo, featuring a vast assortment of animals, each with artificial intelligence tied to its motivations and actions. You’ll create unique habitats to house these animals, make decisions on what goes where (like choosing the right climate, vegetation and enclosure), research and manage the animal’s needs, and expand your zoo with new areas and attractions. A Career mode has you going around the world to collect new species and complete various missions, including building exhibits for your attendees and breeding new animals (to perhaps release them back into the wild). The Sandbox mode is a little more open-ended and focuses primarily on the animals rather than the business side of things. There’s also an online Franchise mode, too, that has you buy and sell animals from other players (but without a multiplayer option, though). A “Zoopedia” is your in-game encyclopedia, chock-full of useful animal facts and stats. Because no two games will play out the exact same, the game should provide a different experience for each player (even for those who want to play it again), and your management choices will each have consequences, as you might expect.

Is it any good?

This is a unique game that can be deeply rewarding, but you need to be a little patient with it because of slow progression and a confusing interface at times. Planet Zoo is as beautiful as it is deep, and the rendered animals are a marvel to look at. Not only are the graphics impressive, but the animals’ behavior is fun to watch. It’s great to expand your zoo, building new enclosures and attractions. The main mode has tutorials to help you along, so it’s where you should start to learn the ropes. You’ll refer to your Zoopedia to make sure you’re putting the animals in the most ideal environment, with a proper male to female ratio for the species, with the correct temperature, and right terrain and plants (and other animals perhaps). You’ll research what to feed or water them, how often, and so on. You get the idea. Get it wrong and your creatures will die or protesters may picket about the inhumane conditions at your zoo!

It can be a pain looking up all this information as there could be many screens and sub-menus. Perhaps the developers could've offered voice support to ask questions, or the option to type in something specific for a quick answer. You also can’t look up animals until they’re in your zoo already, which seems odd. Another issue is constructing buildings, which sometimes didn’t work, and it wasn’t clear why, although a recent patch seems to have fixed this issue. Other small problems were tied to A.I. pathfinding – sometimes employees didn’t know where to go unless you helped them out or animals were stuck somewhere, but the game mostly gets it right. Overall, Planet Zoo is a super deep and enjoyable simulation for animal lovers and management sim enthusiasts alike.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Planet Zoo affected by the blood and gore shown when players introduce animals into habitats? Does the blood and gore matter if you avoid getting animals killed? Would the game be engaging if there wasn't the possibility that animals could be killed?

  • Does the complexity of managing the zoo make it too hard for some players? Would it be more enjoyable if the game was easier?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love simulations

Themes & Topics

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