Zoo Tycoon Complete Collection - PC
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An insidiously addictive simulation game, Zoo Tycoon allows players to create their own zoo, but not just any zoo. It's completely free-form: Start with fences for your exhibits, then pick animals and give them toys, foliage, and anything else you want. For your customers, you can lay down paths to lead them around, then add food stands, amusement rides, even maps and trash cans. Not sure what you need? The zoo advisors will tell you how to make the animals happy, and the customers themselves will tell you what they're looking for, be it snacks, more animals, or anything else. There's also a vast amount of background information on each critter--its diet, its habitat, etc.--which can be useful when you're adding a macrauchenia or a Loch Ness Monster. In all, you can choose over 100 animals, plus countless habitat and park embellishments.
What makes Zoo Tycoon Complete Collection especially compelling is its inclusion of the expansion packs Marine Mania and Dinosaur Digs, so you can add dolphin shows to your zoo, or even a T-Rex or wooly mammoth. Be sure to maintain those worn-out fences, though, or you could have big trouble on your hands.
Zoo Tycoon is a great game for kids because while they'll have terrific fun crafting the zoo of their dreams, they'll also get a reality lesson about what customers want, and how their choice of expenditures ultimately affect the bottom line (that nacho stand sounds tasty, but is it making money?). If you've made a good zoo, customers will be happy, and the money will roll in. And it's also the kind of game grown-ups can enjoy, because there are so many possibilities. Be wary, however, of trying to sneak in 20 minutes of play before bedtime because you'll probably stay up a lot longer than you planned. (Ages 7 and older) --David Horiuchi
- Great game for kids and parents to play together.
- Endless replay possibilities
- Educational value in its animal information and "real world" economics
- Sometimes tiresome trying to get an animal's exhibit just right
- How much free time do you have to spare?