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Planet Zoo Console Review: Can Frontier’s Zoo Simulator Make the Leap to Consoles Successfully?

Five years and 14 DLC packs later, Planet Zoo follows in the footsteps of Frontier’s previous project, Planet Coaster, and migrates to consoles. As one of the most in-depth zoo simulators on the market, Planet Zoo has built a loyal fan base over the years, receiving constant content updates along the way. But the question is, can Planet Zoo continue this success on console and stick to the tricky landing when it comes to converting its controls to a controller setup?

As we’ve previously reviewed Planet Zoo and its several DLC packs here on Gamereactor, I won’t delve into the specifics of the game (for that, you can read our preliminary review of the PC version here ). Instead, I’m going to focus on how this new version compares to the original in terms of things like performance and available content.

First, on the animals front, there are currently 72 unique creatures in the base game, all of which are realistically designed and come with their own eye-opening facts. One minor drawback of the console version is that all 14 DLC packs are not available for player release. Instead, these will be released in a staggered fashion through March 2025, with only four packs currently available. They are Europe Pack, Wetlands Pack, North American Animal Pack and Southeast Asia Pack.

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The burning question you might be asking is how the experience on consoles is controlled. Well, the simple answer to this question is not bad. Obviously, things feel a little clunkier than being able to click freely through the menus with ease, but thanks to the constant on-screen button prompts, I never felt too lost. There are also options to filter projects by criteria like country of origin or biome, so I’m not scrolling forever.

However, I ran into a few minor issues. For example, when assigning vets to my zoo for research, I have to press and drag them to the area of ​​research I want to complete. This would have felt intuitive on a PC with a mouse, but I was confused and had to pull out an extra tutorial to figure out what I was missing. It’s worth noting that on consoles like the Xbox Series X/S, you can choose to use a mouse and play the game using its optimal control scheme.

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In terms of performance, I did notice some glaring glitches that appeared frequently. The animals, while beautifully designed, often move around in a jerky and unnatural way that takes away from their sense of reality. This may sound like a small criticism, but it puts me off seeing these animals up close because sometimes it sucks. I also found that when I built a large zoo, the frame rate would drop, with tons of visitors wandering around. I cross my fingers that Frontier will get a performance patch in the near future.

One feature not available in the PC version is the Zoo Complexity Meter, which essentially limits the size and detail of your zoo. A similar system is implemented in Planet Coaster, which is basically to maintain smooth performance. I played the game on PS5 and built a few medium and large zoos in the game, but only found myself hitting around 50%, so that does seem generous. For context, the image below is what 21% looks like on the Zoo Complexity Meter.

I wouldn’t describe the console version as the final version of Planet Zoo, but it’s still a solid port of call for the game that animal lovers have been craving for years. There are some sacrifices, the controls feel a little clunky, and the performance is a little rough around the edges, but that doesn’t detract too much from the massively entertaining loop of building and managing your own zoo. If you’re an analog fan without a PC, I encourage you to check this out and the equally excellent Planet Coaster.

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