Planet Zoo has been out since 2019 and has a bunch of other packs you can purchase along with the base game which most are on offer currently thanks to the Steam Winter Sale 2021.
The DLC packs aim to expand your repertoire of animals so you can add more unique wildlife to your ever-expanding zoo. Each pack also adds various other items for habitats and scenery so that you can deck out your enclosures with more goodies for the animals. While providing more visual stimulus for the guests who come look at the animals and probably pick up a hot dog and drink while they are there.
The European pack does not falter from the siblings and delivers five new species which you can add to your zoo. Alpine ibex, Eurasian lynx, European fallow deer, European Badger and Salamander are the stars of this new DLC with the great realistic in-game models and textures to really bring the animals to life.
Each animal is fun to watch navigate their enclosure playing with their toys or with each other. It’s a decent nod to the programming and graphics departments for building some good animal AI and models across the Planet Zoo franchise. I’ve always enjoyed watching the zoo animals from up close and sometimes makes a great backdrop when working for chilled out vibes.
Like the other animals, you need to keep on top of making them happy by providing each unique animal with a different set of enrichment activities and a space that matches their native lands. You’ll build a lush forest scape for the Lynx, rocky mountainous grasslands for the Ibex and a warm jungle-laden enclosure for the Fire Salamander.
A new timed scenario showcases a lot of the latest scenery pieces with over 250 new additions for the Europe Pack. The Christmas themed Swiss-style villages add the perfect festive cheer to your pack over the holiday period. Planet Zoo has always been a really pretty game (although a graphic card killer – it’s a hungry game) – but there was something over Christmas with the snowy scenery and the European village upon the hill which made it extra magical.
Editor note: no GPUs were killed in the making of this review.
Timed scenarios main objective is to complete all the required tasks in the time frame allotted and you choose a difficultly which will tweak the overall amount of time you have to complete the objectives. Not a groundbreaking new game design feature but works in the realm of the Planet Zoo world when you need to put on a number of animal talks within your park or make a certain amount of profit before the time runs out.
Some of the timed objectives were a little easy, with a lot of the park being pre-built it also meant you’re three steps closer to the goal before even starting. The difficulty comes mainly from a monetary standpoint, as you’ll be given limited funds and will have to build up the park visitor count to get the fund to progress through each objective. For example, in the new Europe Pack timed scenario you need to lay some train track which is pretty simple enough, but of course, will need funds to finish the job.
Overall, the DLC does what it needs to do. Adds additional content into a game so that long term players who want freshness can keep playing. The new timed scenario was very pretty to look at and showcases all the new scenery items nicely but was a little too easy for me with the usual objectives you find in a sim builder.
If you are new to Planet Zoo, I’d suggest just picking up the base game for now as with Update 1.8 out, there’s loads of free content and a good number of base animals. Just remember, this game does not run on a potato and even with my RX570 that’s not the latest of cards it does struggle from time to time on Ultra settings.
For more experienced players the Europe Pack there’s a decent amount of content in there for £7.99 to keep your park building dreams going. The time scenario will kill some time for you and some nice ideas on what to add to your own parks to bring some winter cheer.