Zooloretto – Animal Tycoon
“Zooloretto” (the board game) was published back in 2007, tasking players with managing a “zoo park” so to speak. Games like “Aquaretto” came later, but they all revolved around the same theme: collect animals and place them into your park in a way that made you the most points. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the video game adaptation, coming to Windows platforms on August 3, 2013. Before we take a look at this particular game, I’d like to thank Stefan Layer of Libredia (AKA LAYERNET) for providing me with a free review copy.
The main menu allows the player to participate in the campaign, play a single match, view rankings, and adjust game options. Unfortunately, online multiplayer functionality is absent from this game. This is a real shame, as games like “Zooloretto” practically scream online multiplayer. It does, however, support local multiplayer via a “hot seat” mechanic. The main menu also includes a “My Zoo” option, which allows the player to unlock new content for their game. You’ll be able to unlock new characters, add-ons, and zoo parts by spending currency (in this case, pigs), which you’ll be earning as you play. The options menu addresses screen resolution (1280×800 widescreen being the highest), audio volumes, language, and profile management. You can also view the rules and participate in a tutorial from here. All in all, the options menu covers your basics, but I was a little disappointed by the lack of screen resolution options.
For those of you who haven’t played “Zooloretto” or any of its sister games, each player will have their own zoo park in which to place animals. Throughout the game, players will seed trucks with animals of their choice. Along those same lines, players will also get to choose trucks and attempt to place these animals in their zoo park. While there are numerous ways to score points, the primary method is to place large groups of like-animals together while keeping the oddball animals out of your barn (storage). Having full or near-full enclosures will earn you more points, so grabbing the trucks containing those animals is almost a must. However, you’ll often get animals you don’t need in that same truck and the challenge will be finding space for them. It’s a simple, yet fairly in-depth game that I enjoy playing from time to time.
The video game adaptation follows the same rule set as the board game for the most part. Experienced “Zooloretto” vets will be able to jump right into this game without any problems. Newcomers to the game will be pleased to know that multiple AI difficulties exist under the “single match” game, though the minimum number of opponents you’ll be forced to play against is two. The campaign is structured to go from easy to difficult, providing players with a challenge over a gradual period of time. The first level was still a bit of a challenge, so I highly recommend checking out the tutorial before you play. Single matches however can be customized so that the player can play against the AI in any manner of difficulty they choose, or with other people via local play. In order to play against others however, you’ll need to create a profile for them first before you get things underway. Add-ons of the original board game found their way into this one, allowing the player to customize their experience even further…though you’ll need to unlock them along with the other content by continually playing the game.
Going through the motions of seeding trucks with animals was painless, as all you’ll need to do is drag and drop where appropriate. Selecting a truck and moving animals onto free enclosure spaces was equally as painless. As you and your opponents take turns, the screen will change to reflect the current player’s park. This can be a bit disorienting, but it does allow you to see at a glance what you’re up against. Thankfully, the game’s interface is fluid enough to where I was able to worry more about the strategic aspects of the game as opposed to just simply being able to navigate it. There’s a lot about “Zooloretto’s” rules that I didn’t cover here, but I’m pleased to report that they were all presented in a way that made the game easy to learn and play.
Overall, “Zooloretto – Animal Tycoon” is a fairly good adaptation and will keep players busy for a good, long while. Lack of an online multiplayer function holds the game back, I feel, and will limit the audience that it would appeal to. With that said, I’m personally glad to see yet another board game make its way onto the video game market…we (as gamers) honestly need more of that. The market is ripe for video game adaptations, and “Zooloretto – Animal Tycoon” is definitely a step in the right direction. It’s far from perfect, but it holds up well enough for repeat visits every now and again. The game is currently going for ten bucks (as of 8/3/13)…for that price, in my opinion, you’d do well to pick it up.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase “Zooloretto” by visiting the following websites:
You can view video play sessions here: