As long as the size of your park doesn’t grow out of proportion, you should be able to sustain a decent living, but it can be easy to spend way too much of your hard earned money on new upgrades and features, that can leave you with no cash left to add new animals to the Zoo. There are all kinds of snack and food stalls and carts that you can build ranging from popcorn to full blown restaurants and of course there’s always the usual Zoo merchandise you can peddle.
But all the other amenities don’t count for much if you haven’t got a good selection of animals in your park and this is where the different play modes really play a big part. In some modes the types of species you can choose between is severely limited. The Challenge mode gives you more freedom than Campaign, whereas the Sandbox mode gives you access to everything.
The range of animals is quite varied, but there seems to be an uneven balance on the different zones or biomes where the animals originate, and this can make it hard to plan the way your park will grow. Certain animals require a lot of space compared to others and some can mix with each other – take African animals such as Elephants, Rhinos, Gazelles, Zebras and Giraffes which all mix happily as long as there is enough space for them to stroll around in.
You can however not introduce a Lion into the mix, as predator animals will kill and eat grazers, which would probably not go down very well with your guests. For certain types of animal you have to provide shelter and toys for them to play with to keep them happy.
As if this wasn’t enough you also have to create a suitable biome so the animals feel at home and sometimes you’re forced to create a suitable landscape as well, since animals living in alpine areas won’t be happy on flat land and vice versa.
You have to fence off areas where the animals are kept, otherwise they will roam around in the park and guests won’t bother looking at them. There are however some animals that don’t need to be behind a fence, such as the peacocks and flamingos. There is a wide range of fences to choose from and more can be researched as you progress through the game.
There is of course help at hand to give you advice on what to do – this is accessed by clicking on the zookeeper in the right hand corner of the screen. The zookeeper will give you detailed information about the kind of food the animals like, what living quarters are suitable and what toys they like to play with. Further information about the mood and feelings of your animal can be access by clicking on an animal and selecting the various options on the screen. This is also where you can find out how long it will be until a pregnant animal gives birth.