Let’s Build a Zoo is finally on console and we’re glad to see this off-the-wall zoo management sim getting a wider audience.
The premise is that you.. wait for it… build a zoo. And if you’ve played Planet Zoo, Jurassic World Evolution and its ilk you’ll know how much fun that can be. What makes Let’s Build a Zoo something really special, apart from its cutesy Theme Park-style aesthetic, is the ethically questionable shenanigans you can get up to.
For a start, can splice any two animals together to create your own abomin…er, attraction. Want a crocodile with the head of a goose? Knock yourself out. And, no matter how much it’s begging for the sweet release of death, your patrons will flock to see it. Well, till they get bored, anyway.
Or if you really want to dive into the dark side, you can engage in some even more suspect activities. Sure, gene-splicing animals is fun. But if you really want to twirl your moustache, turning animals in to burgers is where it’s at. Got too many snakes? Fire up the ol’ belt factory.
So how has publisher No More Robots and developer Springloaded handled the jump to console? Pretty well, as it happens. In our review of the PC version, we concluded that “..if you’ve the slightest interest interest in sim games, you’ll have hour after hour of ethically-dubious fun with Let’s Build a Zoo,” and that sentiment still stands.
Controller-wise, the management wheel, summoned with the left trigger, is a treat to use. The PC version of Let’s Build a Zoo also supports controllers so Springloaded have had some practice in that respect. The trade-off is that when it comes to navigating individual menus, whether they’re shops, animals or so forth, you’ve got to manually move between boxes.
It’s not a major issue, though. What did occasionally prove testing, however, was the text size. There were occasions, every now and then, when we’d have liked the text to be a little bit bigger. You can zoom into your zoo but the text remains the same. Let’s Build a Zoo sports a couple of accessibility options, but neither relate to text size.
What Springloaded have fixed (and patched on PC) is that you only need five animals to start cross-breeding. If your ideal holiday destination is The Island of Doctor Moreau, you can be making your own beasts within the first couple of hours. And that’s even without paying for the Dinosaur Island DLC.
Let’s Build a Zoo is a silly game, yes, but as we noted last time, its “..comedic approach to zoo management belies just how deep it is.” One minute you’re laughing yourself silly at your Professor Elemental-style animal magic or stealing electricity, the next you’re poring over your zoo price, trying to find the sweet spot where your would-be-visitors don’t just turn right round.
If you’ve not experienced the joys (or player-inflicted horrors) of Let’s Build a Zoo on PC, then you should absolutely snap up this gem. And if you have? This console release is the perfect opportunity to tread the opposite path.
Let’s Build a Zoo is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC