The Planet Zoo: Twilight Pack is the latest content pack for the genre-defining zoo management game, Planet Zoo. We here at GamEir love Planet Zoo and have been covering and reviewing it and its DLC since release. Earlier content packs have included massively popular animals like the kangaroo and sun bear, as well as beautiful themed scenery pieces from across the world. Generally speaking, previous packs have either been geographically themed (such as the Europe Pack, North Africa Pack etc.) or biome-themed (such as the Wetlands and Arctic Pack).
Meanwhile, the Planet Zoo: Twilight Pack decides to take things in a decidedly… Spookier direction. Today I’ll be talking you through some of the sinister additions of the pack, as well as the free 1.1 update which dropped the same day!
NOTE: Planet Zoo: Twilight Pack is a DLC, meaning it’s no good to you without the main game! If you don’t already play Planet Zoo, stop here and go buy it before reading on! Or don’t. I’m not your dad.
What’s in the Planet Zoo: Twilight Pack?!
Alright, let’s get to the thing everyone wants to know – if you drop the cash for the Twilight Pack, what are you getting?!
First and foremost, let’s talk about the animals. The theme here is spooky. With the exception of the Egyptian Fruit Bat, every one of these animals is crepuscular – meaning they are most active around dawn and dusk. The fruit bat is unique in one other way as well, but we’ll get to that. The animals in the pack are:
- Red Foxes
- Common Wombats
- Striped Skunk
- Egyptian Fruit Bats
As we’ve come to expect from all of the Planet Zoo animals, they are all beautifully modelled and animated. For me, the raccoons stand out as being particularly joyful to watch. The standard set by the base game and earlier packs is high, but the Twilight Pack more than meets the bar.
My only real qualm with these new creatures is that they’re quite… Mundane? There’s something not quite believable about buying a zoo ticket to see a fox or a raccoon. Maybe my perspective is very western-centric, but if I saw a fox knocking about the zoo I’d assume it got lost looking for the bins.
The first four are all habitat animals, meaning they wander around in their own dedicated habitats. The fruit bats, on the other hand, are exhibit animals (meaning they get a cozy smaller cage, which is less customisable).
That said, the Egyptian Fruit Bat isn’t your standard exhibit animal. The Twilight Pack also adds a brand new feature: Walkthrough Exhibits.
Walkthrough Exhibits and what they mean for Planet Zoo!
Essentially, the new Walkthrough Exhibit allows guests to get up close and personal with exhibit animals. It features a walkable path down the middle, customisable walls, and a much larger volume than the regular exhibits. At the moment, this feature is exclusive to the Egyptian Fruit Bat. No other exhibit animals can be housed there… Yet!
That said, this is a step in an extremely exciting direction. Planet Zoo players have been clamouring for birds and aviaries for a long while. While the game does feature animals such as the flamingo and peafowl, there has never been a practical way to house smaller birds like Macaws, Birds of Paradise, Ibises etc. The introduction of a new larger exhibit feels like a big step in the direction of real aviaries and birdhouses!
On top of that, while the Egyptian Fruit Bat will only be available to players who buy the Twilight Pack, the walkthrough exhibit object is available to all players through the free 1.1 update. Promising indeed!
Spooky scenery and eerie foliage in the Planet Zoo: Twilight Pack
As well as the animals and the walkthrough habitat, the Twilight Pack adds approximately 200 new scenery items and props. Many of these are skewed very spooky (like carved Jack-o-Lanterns and witches cauldrons). The rest, however, are more usable year-round. The theme seems to largely be Romanian and generally gothic. For players who want to build a Medieval-style zoo, the items in this pack are definitely going to be a huge boon.
As well as this, the pack adds numerous plants in the same theme. The big star item is the Bristlecone Pine (super spooky, very cool), but the various other plants are equally excellent additions. I particularly love the addition of piles of fallen autumn leaves. The pop of bright autumnal colours adds real magic to forest scenes.
TL;DR: Planet Zoo: Twilight Pack is sure to please Hallowe’en lovers, but the scenery and plants are diverse enough that it doesn’t feel “one-note” and will be useful for plenty of themes across numerous zoos.
New Career Mode Scenario! Castle Myers
Lastly, the Twilight Pack adds a brand new Career Mode scenario! Set after the main story of the base game, “Castle Myers” is yet another mismanaged zoo for the player to bring up to par. In some ways, it feels a little bit like a showcase of the assets added by the pack – but that’s not a bad thing! It’s a beautiful, super atmospheric zoo.
Castle Myers doesn’t do anything too out of the box, but if you love playing Planet Zoo to meet objectives and adore the cast of characters, it’s one not to miss.
The conclusion! Planet Zoo: Twilight Pack – buy or avoid?
All in all, the Planet Zoo: Twilight Pack adds quite a lot. The animals are all beautifully rendered – if an odd addition to a zoo. The scenery and foliage objects are an excellent addition, though the focus on the Hallowe’en theme limits some of the pack to seasonal builds.
The main new game mechanic – walkthrough exhibits – will be available to all players through the 1.11 Update, though it won’t be usable until a later update or pack adds more animals for it.
- You love the cute-and-cosy spooky animals added
- You adore Hallowe’en or general gothic / Romanian architecture
- Career mode scenarios are your preferred way to play
- Going without buying every DLC will give you hives
- The crepuscular creature additions do nothing for you
- You’re more of a Christmas person
- You don’t care about more career-mode scenarios
- The choice is between the Twilight Pack and a more “universal” DLC like the Conservation Pack or another animal pack
If you’re like me and can’t get enough of the Planet Zoo experience, this is a must-buy. If you pick and choose your DLC, this one definitely won’t be for everyone.
The free 1.11 Update!
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably interested in the free additions players got with the 1.11 update. You can read the full update notes here, but here are the cliff notes of the most exciting additions:
- Educator exhibit demos: Educators can now take exhibit animals out of their exhibit to show off to the guest. This makes exhibits feel way more alive and interactive, rather than just a static prop or money-maker. Awesome addition.
- Customisable exhibit backdrops: the brand new ability to import your own images for the backdrops of your exhibits. Not for everyone as it requires a bit of extra out-of-game prep, but a game-changer for detail-oriented zookeepers.
- Piebald animal coats: a new mutation to add some variety to your animals! For now, this is limited to the Nyala, Pronghorn Antelope and Springbok, but we may see this rolled out to other species in the future.
- New escape behaviours: previously, animals largely just ran about the place after escaping their cages. Now, larger animals will be able to knock over bins and eat the contents (gross!). Frontier claims this is just one of a “range of new behaviours”, but this seems to be the only obvious one for now.