What is Zoo Kingdom?
Zoo Kingdom is a free to play, casual zoo simulation game available on Facebook. With over 300,000 monthly active users, the game features the ability to build and manage a zoo, including tending plants and raising and breeding animals.
Released in 2010, Zoo Kingdom is developed by Blue Fang, the same game developer that made zoo simulation games popular with their Zoo Tycoon series, and which also publishes Lion Pride for the iPhone and World of Zoo (PC, Wii, and DS).
Animals & Exhibits (5 out of 5)
The stars of any zoo are the animals, and a great deal of care has been put into the dozens of animals available in Zoo Kingdom.
To place an animal in a zoo, a player must first purchase a habitat. Both habitats, and animals, are sorted by their ecosystems (for example, savanna, desert, or wetlands). With the exception of the cement habitat available for free, each animal must be placed into a habitat with a matching ecosystem to their type. Anticipating players won't always know which animals belong to which ecosystem, the game allows animals and habitats to be purchased at the same time as their counterpart. It also only shows a match once an animal or habitat has been purchased.
Each animal also has a great deal of detail put into it, from its artwork and multiple stages of growth from child to old age (yes, animals do eventually grow old and die – and they can also breed), to the factual details included, such as scientific names and fun facts that can be unlocked. Animal keeping isn't just fun, it's also intelligent and educational.
Buildings & Decorations (4 out of 5)
Taking care of animals isn't all there is to being a king or queen in Zoo Kingdom, however. A good zoo keeper also has to keep their guests happy, earn money, and make the zoo aesthetically pleasing.
There are several kinds of buildings which can serve the needs of the zoo. Restrooms, shops, food, and drink stations all offer great ways for guests to stop and make extra money for the zoo over time. The zoo also supports education, entertainment, staff, maintenance, and medical facilities.
Making a zoo beautiful is also easy: from plants and trees that must be tended regularly, to pathways, lightposts, signs, benches, and other decorations, there's plenty of ways to spruce up the extra room in the zoo.
While the variety of non-animal buildings is fantastic, the downside is that they only provide extra money to collect over time. There's no in-depth management of customer satisfaction or profits; in short, your customers will always be happy.
Zoo Maintenance & Growth (5 out of 5)
Everything in Zoo Kingdom – except the customers – needs tending. Like any real zoo, animals need to be fed, plants watered, and trash picked up. Each aspect of the zoo is tended on a "cycle," or period of time. Unlike some games, passing this period of time will not harm your zoo; instead, it will merely halt the progress of plant or animal growth. Friend's zoos can also be tended once per day.
In order to gain experience, players must not only purchase new animals, buildings, and decorations; they must also take care of what they have.
Leveling up a zoo requires managing all aspects of the zoo. Each zoo "level" (different from an experience level) requires the player to reach several goals. These goals may be general, such as a specific number of animals or flora, to specific goals requiring a set amount of specific ecosystem animals. Achievements are also available for reaching various milestones in the game.
Social Extras (3 out of 5)
As given its social nature on Facebook, Zoo Kingdom offers three ways to share with friends.
Zoo events are special events that happen randomly at the zoo. These events may be posted to a Facebook Wall, and players who click on them can get special animals for their zoo.
Once per day, a player can use "ZooSpin" to get a free reward. By posting about this reward on their Wall, their friends can collect bonuses.
Finally, players can send free gifts to each other. These gifts range from animals and vendors to various decorations.
Overall Impressions (5 out of 5)
Blue Fang is an expert in producing top quality zoo simulation games, and Zoo Kingdom is no exception. While other zoo games have become too complicated for the casual player, or too fanciful for the realist, Zoo Kingdom stays true to its roots. While the game certainly is lacking in customer management and social aspects, it makes up for what is lost in its attention to zoo maintenance, aesthetics, and animal care.
Featuring frequent updates, a balance between all aspects of the zoo, and a knowledgeable development team, Zoo Kingdom is one of the best zoo games available for free online.