Zoo Tycoon DS
Wrangle up all your animals and throw them into the cages. You're about to be a Zoo Tycoon.
The zoo's always a good time, except when it's hot as hell outside and the heat is working its magic on the piles of animal crap (tasty). Plus you've got to deal with your legs after the day's over, which, if yours are as shoddy as mine, hurt all night after walking around for ten hours straight. Anyway, if you love the zoo but can't make it to the Bronx THQ is going to bring it to you in its upcoming Zoo Tycoon for the Nintendo DS, but even though this game allows you to check out all sorts of creatures great and small, don't think for one second that it'll be a...WALK IN THE PARK!
Quit messing around! Ok, so much like Atari's Rollercoaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon plops you into the shoes of a manager charged with making sure his or her park (in this case a zoo) runs as efficiently as possible, and your mission is two fold. First, you need to design and shape the park and make it comfortable for the 40 plus different types of animals. You can earn money during the game from ticket and vendor sales and you should use it to construct the appropriate habitats for your new pets. This includes tailoring each one to your furry friends' needs, so if you're charged with caring for a...BARREL FULL OF MONKEYS (it's ok, I'm composed), you should know (try picking up a National Geographic) that they love to hang out in trees, so it's a good idea to plant a few. If you have an Elephant, you may want to place a small wading pool so he or she can chill in it on those hot summer days. The game provides you with a bevy of these set pieces, and it appears that all you have to do is tap which one you want on the system's bottom screen (the actual playfield is displayed on the top one) to purchase it.
Building cages and cute little homes for your zoo's residents is the easy part (providing you have some knowledge about animals). Your second charge will be caring for the hopefully hundreds upon hundreds of visitors that'll walk through those gates, a rather daunting task because now you need to prove that the animals and these annoying people can coexist without incident. For example, it's probably not a good idea to allow the lion to roam free or your monkeys to get too close to the customers. While this is a family game and we'll never be treated to vicious human dismemberment (it's a gosh darn shame), you will need to deal with animal escapes as well as pesky park goers who insist upon feeding the tigers.
In addition to ensuring the safety of the zoo's patrons you'll also need to make everything accessible. Can they actually move around your park without getting lost? Are the bathrooms in a good spot? Is the food affordable? You have to manage all of these things, and since your zoo is going to be rather enormous there will probably always be something that demands your attention.
The DS is a powerful machine but none of its processing muscle is being taxed in Zoo Tycoon, though that doesn't mean that the game isn't pretty. Your new 2D home away from home sports quite a bit of detail, especially the various buildings, and the isometric perspective provides you with an excellent view.
Although Zoo Tycoon doesn't release until September it's looking pretty good. There's so much to do that it'll probably last for quite some time, and if you're a simulation game fanatic then this is a great reason to purchase a Nintendo DS. Look for more info from Modojo soon.