I have always dreamt of being John Hammond and going on a crazy spending spree. (“We spared no expense.”)
With Jurassic World Evolution, that dream can now come true! The game didn’t have the best of timing, as it had to be released in the middle of the E3 expo, so as to coincide with the premiere of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” Nevertheless, with Frontier Developments at the helm, it was inevitable that the game would attract considerable attention, especially after the success of Planet Coaster. The combination of a theme park construction and management game and the “Jurassic Park” universe is the stuff dreams are made of! The only problem is that the latter has a tendency to suffer by comparison.
Forget about Planet Coaster
Let’s begin by making one thing clear: don’t expect to find another Planet Coaster in Jurassic World Evolution. If Planet Coaster allowed users to build incredible creations from scratch, Jurassic World Evolution rivals that with the inventive objects available in the game, as well as being much more interactive, and much less orientated towards creation. The same is true on the management side, as the game´s crowd system has been simplified, although that isn’t really important, because by sacrificing these aspects which are so specific to Planet Coaster, JWE has gained something even more invaluable: the gameplay is really easy to grasp.
Simple gameplay, yet still full of interesting details
I have spent a lot of time playing Planet Coaster, and I have to admit that starting new games is difficult, as you have to waste lots of time with the learning curve. JWE has the advantage of being fun even in the first few minutes of play, and the game mechanics are really easy to get used to, whether that be for building the park or sending archaeologists abroad to collect and extract the DNA which will be used to create different types of dinosaurs. The more intricate details of the game are equally as easy to pick up, such as making sure our dinosaurs can’t escape by enclosing the arena with electric fencing or the different services on offer to visitors. The terraforming tools remain basic yet effective.
Simple gameplay and easy mechanics doesn´t necessarily mean the game is easy. With 5 different islands to manage, the game becomes increasingly difficult and taking care of the dinosaurs, looking out for storms, tornadoes, power-cuts, or sabotages in the three different game factions makes conquering the gameplay towards the end all the more interesting. Completing missions to gain the loyalty of the three factions offers a small bonus point. The only big criticism I have with JWE is that once you understand how it works, you end up playing each new island using the same strategy that helped you conquer the previous ones. Despite that, the pleasure of seeing your Triceratops, Raptors, T-Rex or Diplodocus leave their enclosure never gets old.
It is clear that Jurassic World Evolution has been designed as a consumer management game. Smooth, free of overly complex gameplay elements, offering the possibility to control the Jeep or the staff helicopter by yourself, or undertake many other interactive activities. The game needed to please everyone, staying true to the Jurassic Park license, and the end result not only boasts amazing graphics but also leaves you wanting more, going back to play again and again, even after this first test review was written. It might sound stupid, but when you have to test several different games, you often end up abandoning the one you´re playing to start the other, but I know that this won’t happen with JWE.