Planet Zoo: Grasslands Animal Pack in Review (and the 1.12 update!)
For animal enthusiasts and die-hard Planet Zoo fans.
3.5Overall Score
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Since its release in 2019, Planet Zoo has been no stranger to DLCs. The Planet Zoo: Grasslands Animal Pack is the 13th piece of paid content to be released in the years since. The quality of these DLCs has generally been very high, with each entry adding some combination of story content, new animals, and new building pieces.

Veteran players may find the Planet Zoo: Grasslands Animal Pack to be somewhat lackluster in comparison to previous packs. While it does add a whopping 8 new animals, it however lacks any new building pieces whatsoever. The new career scenario “Permits and Pampas” is charming, but let down by the dearth of voice acting.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

8 Brand New Animals in the Planet Zoo: Grasslands Animal Pack

Of course, it’s a game about zoos – the animals are the stars. What additions have we gotten?

  • Maned wolf
  • Emu
  • Caracal
  • Red-necked wallaby
  • Nine-banded armadillo
  • Striped hyena
  • Blue wildebeest
  • Five colourful species of butterfly

Now, this is the first time we’ve seen this many animals in 1 DLC. Technically, you could even say this is 12 new species of animals. Each of the new butterflies is unique and beautiful. Additionally, a few of the new animals – namely the emu, caracal, wallaby and armadillo – have been hugely anticipated by the community.

As usual, each of the animals is beautifully rendered and textured. They each have their own fascinating animations. I found the armadillo and the caracal to be particularly gorgeous.

The Blue Wildebeest is the closest thing to a weak link – Planet Zoo already has the Black Wildebeest, and plenty of other ungulates to choose from. That said, the Blue Wildebeest is gorgeous, even more so than the existing Black Wildebeest.

All in all, a bountiful addition to the animal roster with some stand-out beauties. That said, one addition brings more than just a new kind of animal – the butterflies!

Why are the butterflies so special?

Besides being 5 brand new species in 1, the butterflies have 3 features that make them stand out from every other creature in Planet Zoo to date.

  1. They are the first ever flying insect in the game
  2. It is possible to display them all in 1 exhibit – the first-ever multi-species exhibit!
  3. They take advantage of the brand new walkthrough exhibit introduced in the 1.11 update

So, besides being beautiful, colourful and enchanting, these butterflies are also utterly unique in the game in their mechanics.

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Permits and Pampas: The brand new career scenario in the Planet Zoo: Grassland Animals Pack

As is par for the course by now, the Planet Zoo: Grassland Animals Pack adds a brand new scenario to the game. This one – called “Permits and Pampas” – takes place in the Argentinian “Purmamarca Educational Reserve”. This one reintroduces us to Tiffany Summers (first met in the Twilight pack).

As I mentioned in the intro, I found the lack of voices in this scenario quite off-putting. The scenario opens up with a letter rather than the customary voice-over in other scenarios. This trend is not unique to the Grassland Animals Pack – we saw the same thing in the Twilight Pack, for example – but it really does break the immersion and sheer personality established by the other missions.

Apart from this, “Permits and Pampas” is the usual heartwarming mix of zoo management and conservation. The focus this time is on the harm that otherwise well-meaning folks can do to their animals. The exotic pet trade and unqualified zookeepers are an enormous problem in animal welfare, and it’s fantastic to see Frontier shining the spotlight this way.

In conclusion! Planet Zoo: Grassland Animals Pack – buy or avoid?

For me, this one is pretty cut-and-dry.

Buy if:

  • You’re a hardcore Planet Zoo fan looking for more content
  • Your passion is the animals in the game, and more animals = better
  • You want a new scenario to challenge yourself with

Avoid if:

  • You don’t need or want the injection of additional animals
  • You mostly play sandbox or franchise mode
  • The building and park management games are what you love

All in all, the Planet Zoo: Grassland Animals Pack is pretty good. There’s not much here to place it above any of the other packs, but what it does, it does well. I would say, for most Planet Zoo players, get it on sale.

Finally, the 1.12 update!

Frontier has established a history of scheduling a brand new update for free in tandem with their DLCs. We think that’s mighty fine of them, and I’ve taken to including a quick summary of the changes for our readers. In short, 1.12 adds the following:

  • Guided tours
  • Diorama mode
  • Bulldozer tool

Honestly, all three of these are fantastic additions. The guided tours add a whole new dimension to the educators and to zoo planning. Diorama mode allows players to make beautiful tiny builds to share – brilliant for those who make things like this incredible palace.

The stand-out feature (for me, at least) is the bulldozer tool. In retrospect, it’s crazy this wasn’t in the game from the beginning. Finally, players can delete large amounts of objects at once, and filter for plants, rocks, construction etc. etc. Absolute game-changer.

That’s it for the Grassland Pack and the 1.12 update. Thanks for reading – and happy zookeeping!

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About The Author

Darragh's earliest gaming memories are of playing Sonic, Golden Axe and Street Fighter on his parents' Sega Megadrive and has refused to put down the controller ever since. He thinks he's much funnier than he is.

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