Good day, zookeepers and animal enthusiasts! Frontier Developments have brought yet another expansion to Planet Zoo in the form of the Planet Zoo: Australia Pack! Today, I’ll talk you through the additions made by this pack, as well as the changes introduced in the 1.3 update, which launched on the same day. So sit back with a cold one by the billabong, you old drongo – we’re heading down under!
New Animals in the Planet Zoo: Australia Pack
Alright, the part that everyone wants to hear about – the new animals. It is a zoo-building game, after all – we wouldn’t get very far without animals!
In keeping with previous Planet Zoo packs, there are 4 new habitat species added in this pack. These species are the Koala, Dingo, Red Kangaroo and Cassowary. Unsurprisingly, these new species are gorgeous, lovingly animated and beautifully textured. Frontier continues to outdo themselves on this front. The koalas, in particular, are absolutely gorgeous, and a joy to watch climb around.
These four animals are absolutely iconic Australian species. Personally, I would love to have seen echidnas or platypus in this pack, but you really can’t go wrong with Frontier’s choices.
Additionally, as well as the 4 habitat animals, this pack introduces a new exhibit animals. The Eastern Blue-Tongued Lizard joins Planet Zoo straight from the bush. It’s not the most exciting animal in the world, spending much of its time lying around – but what do you expect? It’s a lizard. I will say, however, that given Australia’s reputation for its many
dangerous terrifying exciting species of spider, I’m surprised the exhibit animal was not a spider of some kind. Arachnophobes breathe a sigh of relief, I’m sure.
New Scenery, New Scenarios
As well as the new animals, the Planet Zoo: Australia Pack adds many new decorations and scenery pieces. Additionally, you’ll see a few new species of foliage as well as a brand new biome to build in. Among these are 2 of Australia’s most distinctive trees – the Stringywood Eucalyptus and Ghost Gum.
The new construction pieces and décor fit into a few themes. You have modern Australian architecture integrating Aboriginal-style artwork, “upcycled” construction, and some rusted metal Outback buildings. Overall, plenty of new flavour to fit into new and existing zoos.
Additionally, there is one new scenario added in this pack – Tanami Roadside Zoo. Set in the Aussie outback, replete with red sand and rock, Tanami also features the new timed objectives introduced in the 1.3 update. More on that below.
Overall, the Planet Zoo: Australia Pack makes a fantastic addition to any zookeeper’s arsenal.
Update 1.3 – Colourmorphs, Vending Machines, QOL Changes
Released on the same day as the Planet Zoo: Australia Pack, Update 1.3 introduces a number of brilliant changes and additions. You can read a full list of all of these changes on the Planet Zoo website, but while you’re here I’ll run you through the highlights.
The most exciting change introduced in 1.3 is animal colour variation. Previously, animals of the same species, gender and size were always basically identical – unless they were albino. This update adds variations to colours and markings on the fur and skin of animals. There is a new component on the genetic makeup of all animals to reflect this. Newborn animals will tend to be similar to their parents, with some variation. This adds a whole new element to the animal breeding process!
1.3 also added vending machines for food and drink. These vending machines can dispense anything the old food and drink shops can. Not 100% convinced I’d buy a vending machine hamburger myself, but each to their own, I suppose. Strategically places vending machines will make life as a zoo manager so much easier.
Speaking of making life easier, Frontier has introduced a few new quality-of-life changes in the menu system. There’s a new food management page for habitats, allowing you to set and change animal food quality more easily. You can also multi-select staff now, allowing you to do things like promote all of your zookeepers or change payscales.
Lastly, 1.3 introduced a new kind of challenge – times scenarios! These scenarios have goals much like other scenarios, but there is a real-lifetime limit to achieve them. This timer ticks on whether the game is paused or not. The new scenario in the Planet Zoo: Australia Pack takes advantage of this new system. For those who don’t have the Australia Pack, 1.3 has introduced a new free scenario in Estonia.
Did I mention the 1.3 Update is free for all players of Planet Zoo?
Frontier Developments: Attention to Detail & Living Updates
Overall, the Planet Zoo: Australia Pack and 1.3 Update both make huge improvements to Planet Zoo. Frontier Developments continues to show that they are dedicated to crafting a perfect zoo management experience for their players. Other developers would charge for the kinds of changes made in 1.3, but it is being released for free to all players. The number of animals introduced in the Australia Pack is relatively small, but considering the amount of effort Frontier goes to in order to make those animals as true to life as possible, it’s certainly worth the asking price.