Frontier Developments’ Jurassic World Evolution stomped onto the scene with a triumphant roar, much to the delight of both fans of the franchise and enthusiasts of park-building simulators. Jurassic World Evolution brings players into a simulated world of nostalgic and child-like wonder while also remaining complex in nature, and that perfect blend allows for a nuanced experience that’s never the same on different playthroughs.
It’s always been a fantasy of many Jurassic Park fans to experience and even oversee their own parks. Managing dinosaurs, entertainment, and digging up fossils is all but a dream come true. Similar park builders gave gamers the ability to manage a theme park, like Roller Coaster Tycoon, and even a zoo in Planet Zoo, but bringing dinosaurs to life was an experience missing from the archive of simulators.
Despite Jurassic World Evolution building off of previous simulators, it does some of the typical park-building tropes much better and even adds its own new experiences. With that said, here are a few things Jurassic World Evolution does better than other park builders.
Familiar music, sounds, and voices of familiar actors playing fan-favorite characters (Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm) helps to build up the atmosphere of Jurassic World Evolution. The islands players create their parks in are also from the films, including Isla Nublar (the first movie) and Isla Sorna (The Lost World: Jurassic Park).
Not only does this setting and atmosphere do a lot to remind fans of the movies, but it is also reminiscent of an older park builder called Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, which released for the first Xbox and PlayStation 2. Anyone who played that game can see the similarities with Jurassic World Evolution’s mechanics, but the latter matured with its audience.
From the start, it’s apparent Jurassic World Evolution is more complex than other simulators. Although most park builders require a balance of budget, entertainment, and marketability, this game takes it to a whole new level. During gameplay, players must balance the budget, security, entertainment, and reimgs all at the same time. Need to build a hatchery for your dinosaurs? That’ll cost money and power, which if not closely monitored, can put players into debt very quickly.
Another element that adds complexity to Jurassic World Evolution is a store or restaurant’s profitability. Is this added piece to the park bringing in enough revenue to make it worthwhile, or is it costing the park too much money?
Like all park builders, budgeting is a huge part of Jurassic World Evolution‘s mechanics, but being frugal with other reimgs is just as important. Power is a limited reimg, yet needed for every building and structure in the park, including power buildings themselves. Budgeting and reimg management comes in handy, and if a player doesn’t have those skills, they’ll learn them the hard way.
Jurassic World Evolution also teaches multi-tasking, stress management, and problem-solving. Many islands come with their own natural disasters. For example, on one island, it’s common for tornadoes to ravage the park, destroying buildings and fences while also agitating the dinosaurs. Imagine having to fix fences, gates, buildings, while also having to keep the raptors at bay. Then, at the worst time, a dinosaur comes down with a disease, which shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Some of the details in Jurassic World Evolution are so specific and nuanced that players must pay attention at all times otherwise there will be a crisis. For example, dinosaurs have specific needs and desires, including what kind of vegetation is within the enclosure. Pick the wrong type or the wrong amount and they’ll get frustrated, leading to disaster. Other dinosaurs prefer a mate, while others enjoy isolation. These details force players to create enclosures that match those dinosaurs’ needs. If they need a certain amount of water or grass, but the enclosure is too small to fit more, it’s time to rethink the size of the entire attraction.