Zoo Tycoon 2 DS

Game review by
Erin Bell, Common Sense Media
Zoo Tycoon 2 DS Game Poster Image
Portable zoo simulation offers impressive depth.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages
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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a zoo simulation game in which kids will learn about all aspects of zoo administration: construction, administration, and animal care-taking. It also teaches kids about animals including which earth "biome" the animal belongs to (i.e. savannah, tundra, boreal) to help them construct the proper habitat. In multiplayer mode, kids can trade zoos with each other or race to build the best zoo in Tycoon Showdown mode.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2, 6, and 9-year-old Written bymygrlzandboy January 2, 2010

Not good for younger kids - difficult and boring

After reading the very minimal info on the back of the box my 9 year old decided she wanted this game. We purchased the game and ended up being very disappointe... Continue reading
Adult Written by307025740 April 9, 2008
Teen, 14 years old Written byAnonymous100 April 27, 2016
Kid, 8 years old July 24, 2010

What's it about?

Get ready to learn everything you ever wanted to know about running a zoo in ZOO TYCOON 2 DS, a detailed educational simulation that transplants the concepts found in its PC cousin, Zoo Tycoon 2, into a portable package – right down to the impressive graphical close-ups of the animals.

Players can start from scratch and let their imaginations run wild in Freeform mode, or work their way through Campaign mode's increasingly challenging timed scenarios. In both cases you'll have to juggle many responsibilities to keep your zoo running smoothly, whether it's building paths, enclosures, restaurants, restrooms, benches, and other amenities; managing cash flow, investing in research, hiring staff, adjusting prices, and launching marketing campaigns; or getting up close and personal with the animals by feeding and washing them, treating their illnesses, and other one-on-one interactions.

Is it any good?

Some of the challenges players will face in Zoo Tycoon 2 DS might include designing exhibits for three different horned animals, ensuring that the lions achieve a happiness rating of at least 70%, or creating conditions for an endangered species to mate and give birth. There are 36 animals in the game, from zoo staples like lions, ostriches, and zebras to endangered species and even some prehistoric and "fantasy" animals that are unlocked later on as special rewards. Each species requires different care based on the "biome" they belong to –- such as savannah, boreal forest, tundra, or aquatic, and you must construct an appropriate habitat for them by laying the right ground, foliage, rocks, toys, and shelter.

It might take players a while to get the hang of the controls and the detailed menus while struggling against the imposed time limits, but once the learning curve has been overcome Zoo Tycoon 2 DS proves itself to be an enjoyable and educational game with impressive depth.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the roles that zoos play in animal conservation. What are your favorite animals to visit when you go to the zoo? If you could add one animal to your zoo that isn't featured in the game, what would it be?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: THQ
  • Release date: February 4, 2008
  • Genre: Simulation
  • ESRB rating: E
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

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