While a terrific idea, and there are good bones here, the interface and lack of direction make it tough to enjoy
It’s always exciting to see “simmy” games making their way over to the Switch from the land of mice and keyboards, but I’ve gotten to the point where I tend to guard my enthusiasm due to the force of previous experience. While I wish I had a more positive view of how past games that have more complexity and screens have been adapted to console controls, it’s games like this one that struggle and make me skeptical of their success at best. The thing is, the core radial-style menu works well enough, it’s just that once you get past that you generally get dropped into subscreen land and things start to break down, sometimes requiring the D-Pad to get around and generally not feeling ideal. You could probably get around that, and enjoy the ability to splice animal genes to create weird hybrids and do other cool stuff once you get rolling, but even as a pretty seasoned sim player for decades I was left wanting more clarity from the game about the road to success. Instead, aside from pretty basic initial instructions, the approach seems to be to let people either struggle and restart or look up a guide to understand how to wade through the torrents of information and options you have little to no wisdom to know how to utilize. While I have no doubt many will still be tempted by the promise of zoo ownership, my hope is that some more time can be invested in making the game more accessible, since this feels like it should be something everyone could enjoy, and in its current state I see it discouraging anyone remotely on the casual side of the coin.
Justin Nation, Score: