Very much geared with conservation in mind, every zoo that you build in Planet will contain a wide variety of animals. From hulking bears and towering elephants to playful cubs and cheeky monkeys, Planet provides players with no shortage of wildlife to fill their habitats with.
Fixed bug whereby small animals navigating over scenery could end up inside it. Fixed issue where animals could become stuck in vet surgery when player cancels moving them whilst they are receiving treatment.
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As with Planet Coaster, critics praised PlanetZoo's creation tools along with its realistic animal portrayals and emphasis on wildlife conservation. However, the game was also criticized for the complexity of its management and building mechanics, which were deemed to be overly challenging for some players.
Planet continues to receive regular post-launch updates and downloadable content. It was a commercial success, selling more than a million copies in six months.
Planet tasks players with building a zoo, with 73 animal species in the base game, and 22 new species becoming available through five separate downloadable content packs and the Deluxe Edition. Animals, controlled by artificial intelligence, behave similarly to their real-life counterparts.
For instance, wolves adopt a pack mentality and animals of the African plains (such as elephants, giraffe, zebras, wildebeest, and buffalo) can live together in a single mixed-species habitat. Each species has its own requirements and needs that players must satisfy through creation of a suitable exhibit environment and adequate behavioral enrichment.
Each animal has their own genome within the game's breeding system, which reflect its life expectancy, size, health, and fertility and can be passed down through offspring. As such, elements such as inbreeding may have negative consequences on progeny.
In addition to ensuring animal welfare, the player must deal with managing the park as an institution. This includes hiring staff, constructing guest amenities and staff facilities, performing research, and working towards the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
Like Planet Coaster, Planet provides over a thousand building pieces such as benches, lighting, flowers, trees, and items such as individual planks of wood, glass, rocks, and roof tiles. By allowing these items to phase-into and/or lock with each other, the creative player can create elaborate buildings, landscaping, and natural structures such as waterfalls and cave systems from scratch.
Custom structures can be uploaded as blueprints for other players to download for free and place in their own zoos via the Steam Workshop. Safari, boat, train, monorail, and gondola lift rides can also be constructed throughout the zoo for transportation and to offer guests additional ways of viewing animals.
The game features a dynamic day/night cycle, weather patterns, and animal poop physics. Animals can be purchased and traded with other players' zoos through an online marketplace.
Regular cooperative online community challenges focused on conservation (such as breeding and releasing as many giant pandas to the wild within a certain timeframe) allow players to receive “conservation credits,” which can be redeemed for new animals instead of regular in-game currency. The game features ten critically endangered animal species and subspecies: the Bornean orangutan, Chinese pangolin, facial, Himalayan brown bear, Lehmann's poison frog, Lesser Antillean iguana, red ruffed lemur, West African lion, western chimpanzee, and western lowland gorilla.
Increasing the zoo's conservation rating through the display and release of endangered animals, informational signs, and educational talks is an important gameplay goal. The game was officially announced on 24 April 2019, and was released on 5 November 2019.
Its release was highly anticipated by many fans of the original Zoo Tycoon series who were disappointed by the significant changes to the 2013 reboot. Besides pre-ordering the game, players had the opportunity to pre-order the Deluxe Edition, which includes three exclusive animals (pygmy hippopotamus, Komodo dragon, and Thomson's gazelle) and other bonus content (such as wallpapers) and provided beta access a few weeks before release.
Four more additional downloadable content packs have been released since the game's first launch. These include the Arctic Pack, the South America Pack and the Australia Pack, each adding new animals to take care of as well as new scenery pieces, terrain, foliage, and building designs based on the desired region.
The most recent, the Aquatic Pack, was released on 8 December 2020. In addition to patching and bug fixes, these free updates have included new content such as scenery items including foliage and building pieces, new menus for food quality and park rides, and new in-game mechanics like her editable color variation, vending machines, educator animal talks, and animal underwater diving.
South America Pack 7 April 2021 The South American Pack adds five new animals (jaguar, giant anteater, llama, Capuchin monkey, and red-eyed tree frog), scenery, rainforest plants, over 250 building pieces, a new default map, and blueprints. Australia Pack 25 August 2021 The Australia Pack adds five new animals (koala, red kangaroo, dingo, southern cassowary, and eastern blue-tongued lizard), scenery, over 230 building pieces, and a new challenge zoo set in Australia.
Notable plants that were added include the fan palm, ghost gum, desert blood wood, stringy wood eucalyptus, and Trivia grass. Aquatic Pack 8 December 2020 The Aquatic Pack adds five new animals (gray seal, king penguin, giant otter, Cuvier's dwarf caiman and diamondback terrapin), over 170 building pieces, aquatic plants, and a new challenge zoo mode set in Oregon, United States.
Planet received generally positive reviews from critics. It was praised for its attention to detail, graphics, heavily-researched animal behavior, robust build tools, in-depth management and economy system, and educational value regarding wildlife conservation.
Destruction praised it as successfully capturing the spirit of Zoo Tycoon and many positive reviews have characterized it as the finest zoo management game of its time, with Kodak calling it “one of gaming's great sandboxes.” However, these features also drew criticism for a steep learning curve and requiring a heavy attention to management; many reviewers considered this potentially off-putting to casual players who may be primarily interested in the animals over broader elements of park management.
Although highly complex and detailed structures may be designed from scratch, the building mechanics and bathing system in particular have been described as being very difficult for new players to execute properly, especially for those who had not previously played Planet Coaster. Various guest, staff, and animal welfare mechanics have also been described as requiring an at times overwhelming degree of micromanagement.
GameS pot described the game as a “spreadsheet safari” which “sometimes stumbles under the weight of its own systems”, while GameInformer concluded that “an unreasonable level of patience creates a barrier around its best qualities.” Reception to post-launch support and updates has been positive, with several attempts to address ongoing criticisms of the management and building systems.
The introduction of new animals and set pieces has been highly positive, although some players have advocated for increasing the number of additional animals per DLC pack. Planet has adopted an approach of releasing smaller, more frequent content packs in contrast to the larger expansion packs of the original Zoo Tycoon series.
Planet Coaster Creators Reveal Spiritual Successor To Zoo Tycoon”. Planet Zoo will feature “the most realistic animals in any game ".
PLANET ZOO : SOUTH AMERICAN DLC & UPDATE Review: Expanding Into Better Gameplay”. Planet Zoo Australia DLC Review”.
Planet Zoo has surpassed 1 million sales in under six months”. “Death Stranding and Control dominate BAFTA games awards nominations”.