Jurassic World Evolution Review
Dinosaur theme park, in terms of ideas, it doesn’t get much cooler than that. “I’m not worried. It’s just a zoo, Henry.” Well, for anyone that ever saw a Jurassic Park film, we know exactly how that all turned out. Even knowing that, we all still would want to give it a try. Frontier Developments, makers of the well-regarded management sim Planet Coaster, are giving players the chance to build their own dinosaur theme park in Jurassic World Evolution (Hubris not included). Management sim fans, dinosaur fans this is your chance to build your very own Jurassic Park.
It should be no surprise that Jurassic World Evolution is going to appeal to a wider audience than just your typical management sim junkies due to its movie property tie-in. Possibly because there is the potential for many more newcomers due to those ties, the sim is decidedly easier to pick up and play than some of its genre brethren. While this may be considered a drawback to more hardcore genre fans, I actually think it’s a positive to make Jurassic World Evolution more accessible to a larger group of potential players. There certainly isn’t the level of micromanagement found in other titles, but there is more than enough to keep the average player busy. It’s something to keep in mind overall and a tough balancing act, being a deep enough simulation to engage as many people as possible, but not so deep or shallow as to completely turn others off.
Now, time to get into building that dinosaur theme park. Players start at Isla Mataceros to begin their journey. There are many familiar names, faces and their actual voices from the movies there to help guide you in what needs to be done or even to just give some small story type elements. There’s no real over-arching story besides building a great park and then moving on to the next island in Las Cinco Muertes to start all over again. The biggest plotline throughout though will be trying to appease the science staff, entertainment staff, and security staff. Each one offering up contracts and missions to complete, not just for monetary gain but also for their approval. Good luck trying to make everyone happy though, gaining reputation with one group means losing reputation with the other 2. While the contracts are helpful in building a better park on each island, I largely ignored the reputation aspect and simply took whatever contracts and missions came in the order they came.
The tasks did steer me in the right direction though when it came to doing what I was really there to do, build the best darn park ever. The biggest obstacle to this though was generally space. Planning is important, but the available land on most islands was rather similar and limited. The only real variation being some differing hazards, but mostly one decent design could be repeated throughout. With ample research more and more building become available, but they could still be easily implemented into current design or just added elsewhere.
The main attraction though is going to be the dinosaurs. Going on expeditions for fossils and extracting the DNA will help build a portfolio of viable beasts to reproduce on the island. Guests are there to see the dinosaurs after all, but you’ll be happy to see them too. The visuals of each one are impressive and you could be forgiven for stopping and watching each one up close as they are released. What would Jurassic Park be though if there wasn’t the option to alter their DNA to make a stronger, better, faster Dino? That may sound neat, but in reality, there isn’t much to it and it isn’t very exciting either.
A Solid Management Sim
One thing you’ll need to build that world-class park is going to be money. Gawking at a T-Rex is one thing, but they’ll want a t-shirt and a place to eat or sleep. These shops help bring in the cash for more of everything else. There are some management options with these places, but they are rather limited so there isn’t too large a layer of micromanagement going on. What does end up happening, especially starting up a new island, is a slow crawl of funds trickling in as there are separate pots on each island. This can lead to some rather boring times just sitting watching the money slowly trickle in as you wait for enough to add the next attraction.
There may seem like a lot of components to manage and it may get hectic at times in Jurassic World Evolution. The reality is that even in calamities, dealing with things is straightforward. These aren’t Sim City fires that cause a myriad of problems to deal with all at once. It might feel a little stressful to newer players, but sim vets may find it a bit underwhelming. Even most of the potential problems are easily fixed and require some real brain lapses or total lack of funds from preventing them from happening again.
Overall Jurassic World Evolution seemingly casts a wide net. If the aim here is to appeal to a larger audience, rather than a niche one, then it’s a job well done. It’s a mostly enjoyable experience, with a few dull moments here and there, that should keep the majority of players happy. Having a deep management simulation is a matter of perspective after all. To some, this may seem lacking, to others it might seem like there is a lot going on. Either way you see it, it’s a good effort at trying to bring the management sim to a bigger audience.
*** PC code provided by the publisher ***
- Excellent Visuals
- Low barrier to entry
- Familiar names, faces and voices
- Occasionally boring
- Relatively “minimal” management
- Similar look to islands