The Arctic Pack is the first downloadable content pack for Frontier Developments’ Planet Zoo, a zoo tycoon PC game. We gave the base game 8.5 out of 10 upon release and small upgrades have been periodically released since. This is the first premium content for the game, adding in two new levels, animals and construction pieces. However, does the pack deserve a cold response? Let’s find out!
Planet Zoo launched with snow and there was a purpose to it. It was part of the temperature and weather system. It settled on the zoo floors. Players could construct covered areas for zoo guests to use so they weren’t constantly in the snow. Yet, there were almost no truly associated animals – with only the snow leopard available. This expansion adds in four animals to change that: the Polar Bear, the Arctic Wolf, Reindeer and Dall Sheep.
As is to be expected of any animal in Planet Zoo, each has their own behaviours and animations. This results in this new set of animals reaching the same high standards as the rest, not looking out of place in a zoo. Players will be able to see and hear the Polar Bears calling out, while the Reindeers headbutt about a large football. For cuteness it is surprising that the team went for the Arctic Wolf over the Arctic Fox. Given the fluffiness of some of the games wonderfully furry animals the fox would have fit in well.
Upon purchasing the DLC pack players will instantly have access to the Goodwin Arctic Research Park in the campaign mode. While both zoos aren’t unlocked, this is a much better solution than Two Point Hospitals – where players had to complete a large chunk of the game before DLC levels became available. It isn’t exactly hard to unlock the second level either, with only the bronze star needed on the Goodwin level.
Goodwin Arctic Research Park, set in Norway, comes with all of the Nordic trappings – tall elaborate wooden houses, tall trees and a metric tonne of snow. This is all about getting the full Arctic experience, with the main aim to nicely house the new animals over the three star ratings. It somewhat double downs on morals – with research, breeding and releasing also being a focus of this park.
The Mexican Conservation Park is at the other end of the zoo scale on many aspects. Instead of a couple of hundred guests, the zoo starts with 1400 guests. This medium sized zoo is already in full swing, with elephants, flamingos, hippos. Players are tasked with bringing animals from other regions, including polar bears, to this conservation. The heat won’t be a problem for all thankfully. Plus, there are interesting twists – like the need for renewable power sources.
For some players the addition of 200+ scenery pieces will be a thoroughly welcome aspect of the DLC pack. If you like to use pieces in many insanely creative ways to form incredible structures, this is only more in your arsenal. They certainly help make the DLC levels feel a little different, especially the Goodwin Arctic park. Worst comes to worst, there are some amazing new blueprints for players to use and there is sure to be workshop content utilizing the pieces soon.
Four new animals naturally adds a touch more variety into the game. It isn’t a long list though, with the deluxe edition of the game including 3 extras compared to the base game. With the title being so focused on the animals, even a couple more species would have drastically increased the value of the DLC pack. For those wanting more content, the Planet Zoo Arctic pack’s campaign levels can provide ample hours of entertainment. For those still with plenty of base game to go, unless one of the animals speaks to you, it may be best to wait a little before picking it up.
(Editor’s Note: The Planet Zoo Arctic Pack DLC was provided to use for the review by Frontier Developments.)