Zoo Tycoon

Common Sense Media says

Fantastic animal and business simulation, fun for all ages.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game fosters an appreciation of animals and an understanding of how zoos operate. Players get to research various creatures and find out what they need to thrive while learning about the basic economics involved in running businesses in general and a zoo in particular.

Positive role models

The zookeepers featured within the game are kind and caring people interested in taking care of animals. They don't talk, but through their actions players see what it takes to be a responsible worker in a zoo.

Ease of play

Like any management simulation, there's a lot to learn. However, a series of 10 interactive tutorials lead players through everything they need to know. Also, once kids jump into scenarios they'll be given constant text notifications and visual cues showing them what they must do next. Just keep in mind that kids need to be able to read well and have a basic understanding of how businesses operate to play without frustration.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Some privacy and safety concerns. Players can play cooperatively with up to three others online. Voice communication is allowed, so players may encounter inappropriate language and subjects of discussion and will have the opportunity to share personal information.  

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Zoo Tycoon is a zoo-management simulation game designed to be accessible to and entertaining for younger players. Kids will spend their time designing enclosures for animals, learning about their needs, and even interacting with them via the Kinect sensor (required to play). They'll also see some good role models in the game's silent but responsible zookeepers and witness the economics of a functioning zoo in action. There's no iffy content at all, though parents should note that kids can play cooperatively online with other players.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • money

Science

  • animals

Arts

  • photography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information

Creativity

  • making new creations

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

The gorgeous creatures will be an instant draw for animal-loving kids, who will enjoy interacting with the giraffes, elephants, and especially the apes. An intuitive interface makes the rest of the game just as enticing.

Learning Approach

Kids will research animal needs in the Zoopedia, then apply that knowledge to keep their wards happy and healthy. They'll maintain zoo operations through a mix of instruction and active experimentation.

Support

Zoo Tycoon offers ample in-game instruction as well as contextual task cues. Players also can seek help from others online in the co-op mode. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • money

Science

  • animals

Arts

  • photography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information

Creativity

  • making new creations

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • teamwork

Kids can learn about animals, conservation, business management, and teamwork in this amazing, all-ages, zoo simulation game. Kids will get to learn about more than a dozen species as they figure out how best to look after them. They'll also learn about conservation by breeding endangered species, sharing animals with other zoos, and eventually releasing them back into the wild -- all while improving their understanding of the economics of a functioning business. Zoo Tycoon delivers entertainment and education in equal doses while making learning fun for a broad range of ages, from elementary school to adult.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

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Kids say

What's it about?

A modern reboot of a classic simulation game, ZOO TYCOON puts players in control of a beautiful menagerie of exotic creatures. Your aim is to look after the zoo, keeping it functional, clean, and profitable while also researching ways to expand it, adding new animals and attractions, and spending some quality time with the creatures in your care. A series of comprehensive tutorials leads players through all facets of the simulation. Then, kids are free either to start building the zoo of their dreams in the virtually unlimited free-form mode or begin taking on specially designed scenarios in the career mode, where they'll be given specific tasks and objectives. You may be required to create a new attraction to please bored guests, research and build a breeding center to help propagate a species, deliver items from the main gate to a concession, or just go take some pictures of your favorite animals for a nature magazine. A cooperative online mode allows kids to play with up to three others to more quickly achieve goals.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Zoo Tycoon is an unexpected gem among the initial crop of launch games for Xbox One (although it's also playable on Xbox 360). Not only does it look terrific -- the animals are so lifelike you'll want to reach into the game and pet them -- it's also a blast to play. Building enclosures, outfitting them with interactive pavilions, and airlifting in animals to populate them is a ton of fun. So, too, is running around the zoo at street level, where you can make faces for monkeys to copy (thanks to the power of Xbox One's next-generation Kinect, which recognizes facial expressions) or drive around in one of the zoo carts.

Even the business simulation stuff is easy to understand and well integrated into the adventure. Thanks to some smart voice commands that let you call up key pieces of information -- such as which animals need attention and which buildings need repairs -- on the map, you need never worry about getting stuck surfing around dull menus. Entertaining, educational, and a pleasure to behold, Zoo Tycoon is a must for animal-loving Xbox One families. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about animals. Which of the animals that appeared in the game were your favorites? Could you discern differences among varying breeds within the same species? Are there any animals you'd have liked to see in the game that weren't included?

  • Families also can discuss online safety. What sort of precautions do you take when playing a game online? What would you do if you encountered someone online who you believed was up to no good?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, Xbox One
Price:$59.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Microsoft Studios
Release date:November 22, 2013
Genre:Simulation
Topics:Wild animals
ESRB rating:E for No Descriptors (Xbox 360, Xbox One)

This review of Zoo Tycoon was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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Teen, 16 years old Written bywillman72 December 2, 2013
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

good kids game

a fantastic game for 4 years and older petting and looking after virtual animals
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bypeteguy August 22, 2014
AGE
4
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Zoo tycoon is a VERY fun game!

Nothing questionable at all, besides the fact that you sometimes have to clean up "poop" (But come on, that's not a big deal.). Younger children may need help with the controls.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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