Immersing yourself in the world of Planet Zoo can be a brilliant way to spend your spare time, but some Planet Zoo tips will help get your head around it all quicker. Particularly when you're building a zoo from scratch. But don't fear, that's why we're here, to make all the mistakes first, and then report back to you with some handy Planet Zoo tips that should help make things a little easier.
1. Make sure to work through the Career mode first
A lot – although not all – of the biggest questions I had about building a zoo are answered by playing through the Planet Zoo Career Mode. There are definite gaps in its tutorials, but it will run through the important things like how to make your animals happy, create basic habitats, and keep your critters healthy is all covered in there. It's just when it gets more complicated you might want a Planet Zoo tip or two.
2. Start with the easier, smaller animals
Although you might think it's best to start with the big-ticket animals when starting your zoo, they are usually the highest maintenance residents with high enrichment and social requirements that you won't be able to meet straight away. Instead, start small and simple, with animals like ostriches, warthogs, and tortoises, which are all easy to maintain and will earn you Conservation Credits, and money to build more things in your zoo to bring in even more guests.
3. Buy animals for cash to begin with
Conservation Credits are a little bit like gold dust in Planet Zoo, so it's easier to focus on the animals you can buy for cash money to begin with. That way, you can get them in cheaply, and they can start earning for you without you having to sacrifice the Credits you'll need for the biggest purchases later. Don't get greedy with the Grizzlies okay?
4. You can't trade animals you bought with money for Conservation Coins
Although you can buy animals for money, it means that they're basically useless when you release them to the wild, in terms of earning you precious Planet Zoo Conservation Credits. Instead, turn your acquired critters into your breeding pair, and set their offspring lose to the wild for Credits instead. Yes, this might make your zoo sound like a breeding business, but it's the best way of getting everything you want.
5. Don't forget to place donation boxes
Money, money, money. How can your guests show how much they appreciate your zoo unless you give them buckets to chuck their spare change into? Make sure you place enough Planet Zoo donation boxes for your guests to appreciate you, and boost your zoo's revenue funds.
6. Make sure to hire enough keepers and mechanics
Although Planet Zoo caretakers and vets are obviously important, it's the keepers and mechanics that will keep your critters safe, fed, clean, and happy. Planet Zoo mechanics will maintain your habitats and make sure there aren't any escape risks, and Planet Zoo keepers will do everything animal related – namely clean up their poop, fill water and food troughs, and bring them new friends from the trading centre.
The game will tell you that you need to build all the staff facilities immediately when starting a new park, but actually you can get away with just the following:
- Trade Centre
- Staff Room
- Keeper Hut
You can then have enough to get your zoo up and running, trading in the smaller animals, which will earn you enough money through guests to fund the other staff facilities a little later. It's a good way to save money in the short term.
7. A merchandise shop is a great way to please your guests
Toys, balloons, a novelty eraser? Everyone wants some merch, so why not give the people what they want by placing a Planet Zoo merchandise shop as your first port of call? They always say exit through the gift shop, after all. It'll bring in enough dosh to make sure you can give them the things that might also keep them alive. Namely, toilets, food and water. But first, the merch!
8. Watch how many male animals you have
If you have happy critters, they're going to start making some of their own to add to your zoo. That's obviously a great thing because a) baby animals are the cutest b) they can be raised and released into the wild for Conservation Coins and zoo reputation and c) pull in more guests. But, beware. If you have more than one male adult animal per enclosure they'll start fighting for alpha status, which means injuries, vet bills, and unhappy guests.
9. Don't be afraid to use contraception
If you're struggling to keep a Planet Zoo population at a manageable state, then don't be afraid to add some contraceptives to your animals' dinner. You can just slide across the toggle in the animal tab to add or remove contraceptives, at least until you've got your monkey problem under control.
Take advantage of the Steam Workshop blueprints
If you don't want to be that creative yourself when it comes to building a zoo from scratch, you can root through the Planet Zoo Steam Workshop blueprints to discover what the community has already created. There's a raft of beautiful habitat, exhibit and other designs that already exist and can just be dropped straight into your zoo.