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'Zoo Tycoon' fun for entire family

Game review

POSTED: December 12, 2013 11:37 a.m.
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In "Zoo Tycoon," players are tasked with creating and operating a zoo while keeping its guests and animals happy.

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 Developer Frontier Developments and publisher Microsoft Studios have decided to go wild with a new iteration of the video game “Zoo Tycoon.” Like its predecessor, the game allows the player to create and operate a zoo while keeping guests and animals happy.
Players may create and upgrade their zoos from either a top-down bird’s-eye view or a free-roam third-person view with an occasional first-person perspective as well. Using a menu system, the player can select many features, animals and other items to upgrade, add or remove from the zoo. The game includes 10 training missions that will teach players the basics of building exhibits and managing the zoo layout as well as navigating across the zoo. There are even a few complex options for managing the zoo — setting advertising campaigns and ticket prices, for example.
The game has stunning visuals that are further enhanced by the sheer number of animals found in the game. There are 65 animals found in the Xbox 360 version and a whopping 101 in the Xbox One version. Also featured on the Xbox One version is both a 15-hour story campaign mode and a challenge mode. On the Xbox One, players can use Kinect to play minigames and have the option to share and upload pictures taken. There is also support for up to four players via Xbox Live, giving it somewhat of a Minecraft feel but with the added benefit of uploading the zoo to the cloud so that friends can continue to work on the zoo even when the owner is not online or present.
The ugly side of the game comes in the form of the many menus a player must navigate to do anything. For a small child playing the game, it may not be so easy to understand the navigation involved in the menus for each action inside of the zoo. Also, it can get quite repetitive doing the tasks given by the game.
Still, the game is very fun and beautiful to see. It’s pretty accessible for all ages if they can read and understand the menus. Fans of simulators will definitely enjoy it, as will casual players looking for some family-safe entertainment.

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