The Planet Zoo: Arid Animal Pack is the latest in a long line of DLC for Planet Zoo. It is the 14th content pack DLC for the game, bringing the grand total amount you’d need to spend to have every DLC to just shy of €200. Now that’s an investment!
That said, we here at GamEir love Planet Zoo and have had the privilege of reviewing the gamut of DLCs as they came out. So, does the Planet Zoo: Arid Animal Pack hold up against the rest?
Short answer: yes, to an extent. Long answer: it’s a good addition, but is perhaps a little uninspiring. Longer answer: see the rest of the review!
By hoof, by claw and by spine! The Animals of the Planet Zoo: Arid Animal Pack
Let’s get down to business (to defeat the Huns). This is an animal pack, for a game in which you build habitats to hold animals. And people pay to come see those animals. So, how are they? How are the animals?!
They’re… Pretty good. The new furry & scale friends in this DLC are as follows:
- Dromedary camel
- African crested porcupine
- Somali wild ass
- Black rhino
- Sand cat
- Dama gazelle
- Desert horned viper
As usual, each and every one of these animals is lovingly rendered and animated. If there’s one thing you can count on Frontier Developments to do, it is design and realise utterly breathtaking animals for Planet Zoo. As usual, there’s only one word for the animal stars of this DLC: flawless!
There are a few stand-out critters in this line-up. Obviously, the Dromedary Camel is a strong entry. A classic zoo animal, popular, spectacular, and a star from back in the Zoo Tycoon days. The African Crested Porcupine is a delight, especially in motion. Watching their spines wobble to and fro as they paces their habitat is so fun. Normally, habitat animals (ie, the animals that can only live in a Dublin apartment-sized box) are fairly uninspiring – however, the Desert Horned Viper is adorable! It hides in the sandy rocks of its habitat with its little spiky nose sticking out. Definitely will be a staple for my zoos moving forward.
Finally, the Sand Cat. I love cats. I shamelessly adore cats in all their forms. The Sand Cat? Out of this world cute. Can’t get over it. 11/10. Give me more sand cats.
In summary: yes, this is another home run where the execution of the animals is concerned!
But is it worth the tenner?
All that said, taken in the context of the rest of the game and its packs, the Planet Zoo: Arid Animal Pack is a little lacklustre. This DLC focuses heavily on hoofed animals and on animals from Africa. Both of these animal groups are extremely heavily represented in Planet Zoo already. So, even though each animal is wonderfully done, none of them really made me go “wow!”.
Furthermore, this pack adds yet another Career scenario starring the socialite Tiffany Summers. Why, Frontier?! We’ve had so many Tiffany missions already. You clearly gave up on voicing the scenarios several DLCs ago – why not give us another character, even a new one?
Speaking of the new scenario – it’s set in a gorgeous Saudi Arabian ruin, but the mission goals are very bog standard. Nothing really standout here – build a zoo, do it well, you’ll pass the scenario. Yawn.
Overall – the Planet Zoo: Arid Animal Pack is excellent where the animals themselves are concerns. But the pack taken as a whole, and in the context of what we’ve seen so far… Not incredible. A must-buy if you dearly love any of the animals, but you won’t miss it otherwise.
Finally: the 1.14 update!
As always, Frontier has released an excellent free content update alongside the DLC. This update focuses on letting players explore their creativity and expression, by adding:
- Staff Flexi colour – players can customise their staff’s uniforms for greater than ever fashion statements
- Spitting – numerous animals can now spit and your guests (amazing, no notes)
- Scenic camera mode & cinematic route editor – new tools to help players get the perfect shot of their zoo to post on the internet for sweet internet points
All brilliant additions! Especially the spitting. Hilarious. You’ve done it again, Frontier.