Worth the Grind: Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection

Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection is an updated version of the original Zoo Tycoon for Xbox One. It features a lot more animals, new campaign scenarios, and new challenges. Gameplay, graphics, and the like are the same, so it’s more a fresh coat of paint than a whole new game. It is also a Game Pass game. So is this a good game to grind out for an extra completion?

I am mixed on this one as far as “worth the grind” is concerned. I enjoy the game overall, the new campaigns are fun. It is also a great game to play with volume down and listening to a podcast or as a pallet cleanser. The problem comes in how long and how convoluted it can be to complete it.

For the most part, the game and the achievements are straight forward. Get all the different animals, play the campaigns, do things like refill feeders, etc. None of these are hard, but all of them can be a little time-consuming. What is a bit off and even more time consuming is the challenge mode. There are 20 challenge maps, and each one has a list of animals you are meant to adopt to that zoo, to be awarded a new animal, and complete the challenge. It doesn’t sound that bad… but here’s the catch. Every challenge zoo unlocks an animal that you must send to the reserve and use on another challenge map to complete that challenge zoo, lather, rinse, repeat. Meaning no single challenge zoo can be completed without getting a decent amount into another challenge zoo to get whatever unique animal from it is needed for another one.

This can get a little messy and hard to track, but eventually, you should be able to work through it and realize they come almost in groups. So, for instance, you need the Tasmanian Devils from Hawaii for the Rocky Mountain zoo, which gives Grizzly Bears for Hawaii. So you get Hawaii completed enough to get the Devils, send one to your reserve, start up the Rocky Mountain complete it and send a Grizzly Bear to the reserve, reload Hawaii, add the bear and done. Some of the groups have several zoos that all help to complete each other, a few just the two. Once you work it out, it starts to make sense, but it can be tricky at first.

But even once you work it out, this is still time-consuming as all get out. Adding to that, breeding every animal and their variant, release one of each type to the wild, etc. On the True Achievements site (say I sent/referred you if you decide to sign up) their completion time comes in at 120-150 hours, and it is very easy to push well passed that if you don’t work through getting the most done in the least amount of zoos or lose track of say what animals you have bred and released. However, it can also be shortened if you really plan, but will still take a while.

For me, the game was totally worth it. I love this type of micromanagement game, so it was well worth it to me to put the hours I did, even spaced out over several months. It is also not “hard” to complete, just long. However, I don’t want to recommend it without giving people a good idea of how long they will be devoting to this completion, easy though it might be.

You will also need a friend for a few of the achievements, but more people are playing with it being on Game Pass.

If you attempt it, enjoy and good luck!

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I am a writer and streamer by trade. A gamer, reader, and all around nerd by hobby ;)

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