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Zoo Empire

I bet that after looking at that title, you're expecting yet another management sim in the same vein as the Tycoon and Theme series. Predictably, you'd be right. Zoo Empire is the follow-up to last year's Restaurant Empire (what do you mean you've never heard of it?), and draws several close parallels with the bafflingly successful Zoo Tycoon.

The game offers a freeform sandbox mode for you to design and build your own zoo in from scratch, with nothing but a wad of cash and a plot of land. There's also a career mode containing around 21 zoos for you to manage, the first few of which act as a rather drawn-out tutorial.


Although it seems like there's a fair bit to get to grips with, it's actually nowhere near as deep as it first appears. Once you've marked out some pens, stuck some beasts in, hired some staff to look after them and erected some money-grabbing food outlets, there's not actually that much left to do.

The look is reminiscent of Theme Park World - colourful, but not particularly detailed - although the animals have been put together with some charm. This, coupled with the lack of any real challenge, makes the game a reasonable option for animal-loving kids, but not a lot more. And no, you don't get to watch elephants having it off...

The verdict

Not quite animal magic

Sim / Strategy