Planet Zoo – Game Review

Planet Zoo

PS5 review

Planet Zoo is the construction and animal management simulator that originally released on PC back in 2019. It has now been released for both PS5 and Xbox X & S in 2024.

Instead of focusing on building the ultimate rollercoaster theme park like the prior game, players now embark on creating the ultimate zoo, through breeding programs and other conservation methods.


The Animals.

The base game features nearly 80 different animals from land, aquatic and avian animals, that each require specific habitats to house them with very different needs.

As the needs of these animals vary wildly, it also makes housing together different species more interesting, as while herbivores of the African planes are more laid back and happy to exist with others e.g. Zebras and Giraffes. The same cannot be said of the carnivores who would hunt the herbivores.

The same can be said of animals that dwell in water, since they require larger bodies of water to swim and hide in, compared to land animals that will get stressed over not having enough land to roam on.

So, each animal requires careful consideration when building their habitats as when balanced correctly will bring in a lot of visitors, otherwise only protestors will arrive to shame the player over their poor gameplay choices.

Art style.

While being built on the same engine as Planet Coaster Frontier, it has done a great job of improving upon it to the new animals.

All the animals look very realistic and behave the same way with their animals, to the point where I would say that this game has the best-looking animals out of any zoo simulator on console at this point.

Animals also have a large variety of movement and rarely stay static in their habitats, so I would recommend players to turn on the following camera mode and just follow around the animals for a while for a very relaxing time as they explore and play in their specific habitats.

Map variety.

The game features 6 biomes across 7 continents, so if the player can imagine a place, then they could theoretically build a zoo belonging to that area.

I would highly recommend playing on different maps as they provide the player with different challenges due to the way weather and temperature impacts the animals and their exhibits.

Franchise mode.

Franchise mode is the standout main mode in this game. It allows players to create a custom zoo in any region and biome to start.

Then to get new animals they have to buy them from other players online to make zoos more interesting as the player works their way up to the more expensive animals like elephants and lions compared to starting out maybe with zebras and flamingos.

Whilst it may take a while to get going it is very fun and rewarding, as the player uses animals that they may never of used before and then read up on said animals using the Zoopedia that serves as a full encyclopaedia which teaches players the full information of said animal as well as their conservation information.

This leads players to start breeding programs for more endangered animals, as they will reward more conservation points to spend in franchise mode, on even more rare and endangered animals.

Community workshop.

A great carry over from Planet Coaster is the community workshop, which allows players to create and share blueprints with other players around the globe.

Players can create habitats, shops and even whole zoos and then share them online for anyone to use. This is great to help inspire players on how creative they could be if they use all the tools available.

Community challenges.

When the player is online then they have the ability to work together with other players to meet community goals.

The one that was running when I finished my play through was to breed and release 4-star semi-aquatic animals to help conservation issues.

These goals work as infinite goals as they always seem to be running, so the player never runs out of goals to meet and to expand their zoos.

Career mode.

Across the 13 career missions it does a great job of acclimating the player to the various mechanics of the game and how to deal with a wide range of problems that can crop up at any time.

It also sees the player travelling across the globe so players can try out zoo building across various biomes as well as countries and see how this changes the animals and their needs. 

Dynamic weather.

To add extra challenge to the gameplay modes is the ever-changing weather.

This is due to the fact that the weather changes up gameplay for the animals and habitats because if it is raining or snowing then that will temporarily lower the overall temperature of the zoo and so animals that prefer warmer weather will run to shelter or have their stats drop until heaters are placed to warm them back to normal.


Frame rate on larger maps.

I found that when the game had been running for a couple of hours, or when there was a large number of visitors in the park, then the frame rate would tank to below 30FPS and lower.

This made the game run extremely slowly and more like a slog, the way around this was to close the game and reopen it and that seems to fix it for a time even with the large crowds.

It appears to be a form of memory leak as on other maps when I have crowds of the same size the game would run normally and without issue.

Pathing issues.

This was an issue with Frontier’s prior game Planet Coaster, but it appears to be more of an issue here where at times paths would not link up together ruining planned out paths.

Animal A.I.

For the most part the animal A.I (Artificial Intelligence) was working as intended, but rarely I would have animals walk close to the fencing and then all of a sudden, their welfare stats would tank, and I would get protestors to show up.

This wasn’t an issue with the habitats themselves because when the animals moved back then their stats would rise again back to their normal levels.

Other animal A.I issues I encountered where when animals just phased through fencing when it wasn’t broken, and it had 100% durability. This happened with two animals that being the tigers and the rhinos.

Career mode objectives.

A handful of times during my playthrough the objectives would not update even when exceeding the value needed e.g. Get X number of visitors.

This required me to either close the game and reopen it or to restart from an older save file and that would usually fix the issue.

Franchise mode crashing.

While Franchise mode is a great game mode that brings players together online, I did have a recurring crashing issue. Where during my first 2 hours of gameplay I had 5 separate crashes across different maps and not just the same map.

Animal Market.

While great and interesting in concept I found the Animal Market’s randomness of when certain animals were up for purchase to be more of a hindrance.

As during the Career mode, you are tasked with housing certain animals but if the RNG (Random number generator) isn’t generous then you could be a length around of time until the right animal is for sale. This happened to me on several of the later Career mode maps where I was waiting up to at least 30 minutes of doing nothing and only waiting for the Animal Market to update with the correct animal.

Fencing issues.

A minor issue I was having when finishing up habitats is that occasionally the fences would not snap together, instead going off angle to snap to a pillar further down the wall.

If Frontier made it so that whenever a piece of fencing automatically created a new pillar at the end of the corresponding piece of fencing, then this would not be an issue and it would tidy up the angles a lot more.


A great follow up to Planet Coaster and a throwback to the older Zoo Tycoon generation.

With only a couple of changes or bug fixes this will be a must own for consoles, with it’s relaxing atmosphere and laid-back gameplay that players of any age can enjoy solo or together, as the game does offer infinite variation with Franchise mode or the Sandbox.

Score: 8.3

Reece Imiolek
Anime Amigo and Nerd Consultant

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The Next Axia29th May 2024
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