DLC REVIEW: ‘Planet Zoo: Africa Pack’ Showcases the Diversity of the Continent (PC)

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Planet Zoo: Africa

Frontier Developments returns with another Planet Zoo DLC that expands on the diverse cultures of Africa. The Africa Pack adds five new African animals to go with over 180 new scenery pieces and one new timed scenario challenge. The five new animals in the Planet Zoo: Africa Pack are the Meerkat, Fennec Fox, African Penguin, Southern White Rhinoceros, and the Scarab Beetle. Following suit with the last few DLCs there is one exhibit animal and four full habitat animals, with the Scarab Beetle is the new exhibit animal added to the game. Of course, each addition comes from the continent of Africa to fit with the DLC’s theme.

Now, the additions that come in the Planet Zoo: Africa Park come from all over Africa. But while the theme is not limited to a region, it is interesting that the Meerkat, Southern White Rhinoceros, and African Penguin come from Southern Africa despite all the scenery and aesthetic additions are inspired by North African architecture and design from places like Morocco — even being labeled in the menus as “North African.” That said, the two remaining animals — Fennec Fox and Scarab Beetle — do come directly from Northern African. Personally, the addition of the Scarab Beetle is a nice touch. This is because while there are already quite a few beetles already in the game, the Scarab Beetle is found all over ancient Egyptian culture which allows the DLC to showcase the history and a signature species from the region. Now, the regions that the animals reside in isn’t that big of a deal overall, because they expand on the already existing African species and the existing African theme found in the base game.

Additionally, the animal animations are worth mentioning since the Planet Zoo team has done an amazing job making the animals feel like actual animals which gives the game the immersive quality of feeling like you’re watching animals in an actual zoo. While these simple things may not be entertaining to everyone, I love them. They are not perfect, but they do the job in giving your animals life and characteristics, whether being playing with toys or just swimming in the water.

The animal mechanics added with this pack are for Scarab Beetle (building a dung ball) and the Meerkat (adorable digging). I knew the Meerkat digging was going to be an addition and honestly, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to notice or enjoy it. That said, the Meerkats running around, digging little tunnels, and popping out in different areas of their habitat are a joy to watch. I am not sure if your Meerkats can or will tunnel out of their habitats since this was something I did not experience. These animations are subtle and really don’t have an effect on the gameplay perse, but it’s all of these subtle things that keep me coming back to Planet Zoo and wanting as many new animals as possible.

When the Planet Zoo: Africa Pack was announced I was a little worried about what the new scenery was going to be as there is already an African theme within the base game. That said, Planet Zoo has done a great job overall of the DLCs of adding diverse sets of scenery. The scenery for this African theme is inspired by the culture from Northern Africa which makes the architecture vastly different than the existing African theme, which is really exciting and showcases the diverse cultures of Africa. These scenery pieces consist of mudbricks, mosaic tiles, and vibrant colors. This is quite different from the existing African theme that has more wood and thatch with more muted colors. This addition allows players to showcase and appreciate the diversity of African cultures all within one zoo — and that’s not even including the range of animals available.

Planet Zoo Africa Pack

The new timed scenario of “El Darar Bazaar” involves taking over a secluded desert oasis and try to make the turn into it a flourishing tourist trap. I have mentioned before that I am more of a franchise/sandbox player. I know these are timed and the point is to complete everything as fast as possible this was quite a challenge especially compared the other previous ones I had played before. The rolling blackouts really force players to build rather quickly and make sure to expand the power grid to prevent from certain areas just completely going out for periods of time. I do want to give a shout to Frontier for the Star Wars nod in the scenario, it was a real nice touch.

Overall, the Planet Zoo: Africa Pack really showcases the vibrant culture of North Africa along with gives some new animals for players to enjoy. There is already an African theme in the base game and the Africa Pack does a solid job of distinguishing itself from that theme. The Planet Zoo team talked about wanting this pack to show the diversity of cultures in Africa and while the two African themes complement each other in ways they really are like night and day to each other.

If you are a player that enjoys building on the African continent (my main zoo is in Africa) and want to expand on your African zoo then this pack is well worth it. The Planet ZooAfrica Pack was also released with a free content update (Update 1.6) that is available to all players. This update brings some new items such as webcams and vista points along with some quality-of-life features. There is also a new free-timed scenario for everyone to enjoy.

Planet Zoo: Africa Pack is available on Steam.


Planet Zoo: Africa Pack
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

If you are a player that enjoys building on the African continent (my main zoo is in Africa) and want to expand on your African zoo then this pack is well worth it. The Planet ZooAfrica Pack was also released with a free content update (Update 1.6) that is available to all players. This update brings some new items such as webcams and vista points along with some quality-of-life features. There is also a new free-timed scenario for everyone to enjoy.