Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 10/11/05 | Genre: Simulation
I love going to the zoo. Ever since I was a kid, I have visited the Fort Worth Zoo, watched the monkeys, cautiously went through the reptile exhibit, and looked at the aquarium (before they shut it down. Dang you Forth Worth Zoo!!!). Zoo Tycoon is a title that in theory should be very fun. The Tycoon games have all been very popular and well done on the PC but I never have had a lot of time to spend with them there. After playing Zoo Tycoon DS, I am not sure I want to though.
Being the first game of its type on the Nintendo DS, Developer Blue Fan Games and Publisher THQ could have really hit a home run here. Instead, they end up giving us a title that feels a bit rushed. Visuals are very dated. Sure, we are dealing with a small screen and it may be difficult to make specific elements stand out. Zoo Tycoon DS just looks bland and uninspired.
The interface is also lacking in several areas. For starters, the game requires you to use the stylus. This is fine but there are several times when the D Pad would have worked just as well or better. Why not give us an option for both? Building your Zoo also is quite a headache due to the menus. Your Zoo appears on the top screen with a grid on the bottom screen. It can take several attempts before you actually get what you want setup in the right spot. Due to the complexity of the interface, once you have your Zoo up and running, it is more trouble than it is worth to change things up. This leaves you with watching people come in your Zoo once it is up and running.
Players have over 50 different animals to setup in their Zoo. For the most part, each animal is a brown glob that moves exactly the same as their fellow animals. Besides the animals, players will have to build walkways around the Zoo, restrooms, places to eat, places to sit, and manage their animals. You can put babies that are born up for adoption or add them to an exhibit.
Because Zoo Tycoon DS is a simulation, you may find enough enjoyment to warrant a purchase. However, this game is just average. If you are a fan of the genre, it may be worth checking out. Everyone else will probably not get much more than a weekend of enjoyment out of this one.