Business simulator games clearly aren’t meant for everyone, but if you can appreciate the finer points of a game which allows you to effectively control all the various aspects of running something fairly complex, Zoo Tycoon is a pretty enjoyable game. One of the things which tends to remain rather sparse in a lot of simulator titles is in-depth research. Yes, there are some which do place you into a situation where you can check on various stats, conditions and projections, but few which offer what ZT can give.
Some will delight in every aspect of building a new structure or even the advertising selection element, others will see it all as being perhaps time spent away from caring for or interacting with the virtual animals. Regardless, Zoo Tycoon knows what it wants to it wants to do and looks pretty good doing it, although it’s questionable as to whether most people will have the patience to check it out.
To say that Zoo Tycoon isn’t a very graphically acceptable title is of course, way off. While it might not be the most impressive, it certainly isn’t lacking in terms of its visuals – the character models (the animals) look true to form and the environments are also pleasing as well. Simply scrolling around and observing a sloth slink across a branch is an event, and with all the immersive sound effects painting a mental picture you will most definitely get the impression of what a visitor might be experiencing. Moreover, since you can switch between exploration and the more familiar overhead strategy view, the game comes off as offering a very multifaceted experience.
When you first start out you’ll need to breeze through the training missions, each of which dispels some useful information with regards to park maintenance and care. The layout of the game’s menu system might cause some people to move away from the game though, with some gamers perhaps seeing them as lacking in terms of design. In effect, the true highlight of Zoo Tycoon is in how you manage your day to day affairs. Your wild residents require a lot of care and attention, and all the administrative features demand their own considerations as well. Since there are timed scenarios you also have to be very alert and dare we say it, disciplined. Again, it’s not hard to see why some gamers might be turned off by the idea of being granted a certain level of freedom but might resent being timed. Of course the intention is to instill the feeling of schedule that exists inside of a zoo, which the serious sim fan will likely appreciate.