It's All About the Habitat
Fans of the original Zoo Tycoon may remember the challenge of building appropriate habitats for their animals. One tree too many and the animals’ happiness would plummet. Users spent most of their time trying to balance out the number of trees in a habitat with the number of rocks. Zoo Tycoon 2 has done away with that level of detail, allowing budding designers free reign to decide just how much of the terrain should be dirt, grass or water. In fact, there is a tool allowing the builder to “paint” on the landscape and avoiding decision-making altogether.
Walk With the Animals
Another fantastic addition to Zoo Tycoon 2 is the Guest/Zookeeper mode, allowing the user to “walk” among guests and animals. They can even act as a maintenance worker or zookeeper, cleaning up trash and poop and saving much-needed money on salaries. This up-close interaction with the zoo makes adding design elements all that much more fun.
It is not always easy to find games without sexuality, language, adult themes and violence, so Zoo Tycoon 2 is a nice treat for parents. With the exception of pooping animals and the occasional carnivore attacking another animal (which appears as a cloud of dust), it’s about as tame as you can get. Even better, the game has appeal for children and adults alike.
Ease of Gameplay
Zoo Tycoon 2 is a relatively simple game to play and should be easy enough for children who are able to read. There is a bit of a learning curve, however, so it does take some patience to get started. Younger children may enjoy playing along with mom and dad, and even the littlest family members can take a “trip” to the zoo to watch the animals. Careful placement of fences and certain buildings can be tricky, so it is important that children are comfortable with a mouse and understand how to undo and delete. Also, although Zoo Tycoon 2 is one of the easier simulation games in terms of staying out of debt, it can be easy to run out of money. When this happens, it’s usually a matter of waiting for the cash to build again before building. Impatient users may find this frustrating, but parents can avoid tantrums by starting the game with a lot of extra cash.
Overall, the ease of gameplay and the G rating, make Zoo Tycoon 2 the perfect addition to the family video game library. Beware, though, this one can be addictive for the whole family.
Zoo Tycoon 2 is published by Microsoft/Macsoft and is available for Windows XP/ME/98 or Mac. It runs just fine on Windows Vista.