A better go at gene-splicing animal parks.

As the name implies, Let’s Build a Zoo is a management simulation game in which you own a zoo. Your main goal is to create a fun environment for your customers while keeping things safe for your animals. There is a lot to do, and while you are guided through what to do, it can get a little challenging. That just makes the game even more fun, especially as your zoo grows. The cute pixel art style with a bunch of different looking customers and animals adds to the fun as well.

Starting out, you are given a small plot of land and quick tutorial on how to construct buildings and captivities for your animals, how to add decorations, how to hire people, and more. This is the vast majority of the gameplay—keeping your zoo in check and making sure things look nice and run smoothly. It’s important to do this so that your customers are happy and you can continue to make money to keep expanding.

Adding different animals to your zoo is another way to upgrade and improve the customers’ approval. You start the game with small animals like bunnies and geese, but as you get farther along you can get more animals by trading with other zoos or even creating your own new animals! There are 60 base animals in Let’s Build a Zoo, and through breeding there are about 10 different colors of those animals.

By unlocking a machine in the game, you can use it to combine certain animals with other ones to create over 300,000 hybrid creatures! This even includes dinosaurs via DLC.

There are also tasks that customers will ask of you, and your choices will affect your morality. For example, at one point someone loses a dog and places an ad to help find it at your zoo. You find the dog and can either return it or dress it as a lion and put it on display for more money and attraction. There are a bunch of other scenarios like this, some even more ridiculous, which adds an extra element of humor and fun to the game. You may end up making some questionable moral choices, but it’s all in good fun.

The controls for Let’s Build a Zoo are fairly simple, and you are given a tutorial for which buttons pull up which menus. I found that I liked playing the game in handheld mode as it reminded me a little bit of a DS game by the controls, but the visuals look good on a bigger screen. I also had no interface problems, and thought the game ran very smoothly.

The pixel art visual style for Let’s Build a Zoo is also very cute and appropriate to the game. Same with the music, which fit in nicely. There are a ton of different animals and people you will see in the game which shows how hard the creators and artists worked to provide an engaging experience.

Let’s Build a Zoo combines the management style simulation with a creative concept that goes beyond simply running a zoo. With a funny and cute vibe, this game is not only fun, but also super charming.