Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 45
  2. Negative: 1 out of 45
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  1. This is a polished, full-fledged, very fun game. You’ll buy it for your kids so they don’t feel left out of the next-gen joy, but once they go to bed you may well end up spending as much time designing your dream zoo as they do...Maybe more.
  2. Dec 18, 2013
    Overall, the game may be simplistic on the surface, and lack some of the real in depth creating tools that many PC gamers have come to love, but it could also be that the game is also meant to get the controls into the hands of little ones as well.
  3. Dec 9, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon is engaging, rewarding, and fun, just don't burn yourself out on it too quickly. It isn't so much for the hardcore sim manager, but for those not looking for a tremendous amount of depth, there's a lot to like with what Frontier offers.
  4. Dec 2, 2013
    It may ultimately be a little shallow, but it has bags of charm and there is more than enough on offer here to provide hours of animal magic.
  5. Nov 22, 2013
    The game struggles a little over the mid-to-long term: the difficulty doesn't fluctuate much and, soon enough, you're merely turning the cogs rather than responding to thrilling challenges, but Zoo Tycoon is pleasant and engaging, even in its absence of spectacle.
  6. Nov 22, 2013
    Simulation gaming with a sense of fun we haven’t experienced in years. Think Viva Piñata meets Theme Park and you’re close. Plus it actually works really well with Kinect. A winning combo.
  7. Nov 18, 2013
    It's charming and sweet, to the point that I never wanted to stop playing — even when my colleagues demanded we use the console for one of the bigger launch titles.
  8. Nov 18, 2013
    The Xbox One episode of Zoo Tycoon has both the strategic elements of the PC games and the cool direct interaction granted by the new Kinect hardware. If you're looking for a deep single player and multiplayer experience with gorgeous looking animal 3D models, this is the game for you.
  9. Nov 25, 2013
    A simulation game fan looking for a hardcore micromanaging experience might want to look elsewhere, but for anyone else, Zoo Tycoon offers a whole lot of fun - with an important and oft neglected side dish of education and awareness raising.
  10. Dec 9, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon is definitely a family friend game that can be played by all ages.
  11. Nov 22, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon has a distinct lack of depth, but if you're capable of sitting down with this simplistic simulator, you'll smile more times than you can count. The simulator fan in me was a bit disappointed by the ease of it all, but the child in me couldn't help but enjoy myself.
  12. Nov 18, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon’s biggest crime is its lack of ambition.
  13. Feb 16, 2014
    Enjoyable but a little shallow. The younger audience will surely have fun with the Kinect minigames, but the fan of the series will miss some of the depth of the previous episodes.
  14. Dec 30, 2013
    A completely different game from anything else available on Xbox One, suitable both to managerial game lovers and families with children, thanks to the many play modes available. If you're a fan of the series, you won't be disappointed even if the difficulty is a little bit tuned on the low side.
  15. Dec 17, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon looks polished, the animals are incredibly cute and they're a joy to take care of. A lack of depth and an incomprehensible interface hold it back.
  16. Dec 16, 2013
    A rewarding business simulation for all types of players, though one that eventually boxes in the player a little too much.
  17. Dec 10, 2013
    Zoos are special and Zoo Tycoon captures that nicely. The sometimes disappointing limitations and even the dreadful menus don’t take away enough from the overall package to prevent it from earning a recommendation, particularly for animal lovers and families.
  18. Dec 10, 2013
    After playing Zoo Tycoon I have to admit that it is quite time consuming, has a long learning curve and is more ideal on a PC platform compared to a console experience. That being said, it is a game that provides a robust zoo experience perfect for any zoo enthusiast, a veteran “sim” player, or perhaps even for a parent looking for a game without any violence whatsoever.
  19. Dec 4, 2013
    The good ideas in Zoo Tycoon aren't developed far enough to warrant top marks, but Frontier Developments have delivered a capable game that will delight gamers of all ages.
  20. Dec 3, 2013
    It’s easy and accessible fun, but Zoo Tycoon has a long way to go before it has the depth to make it rewarding.
  21. Dec 2, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon is a nice return of the series on Xbox One, a fun demonstration of the console’s capabilities. This Zoo Tycoon is aiming for two audiences: fans and casual gamers. Zoo Tycoon's fans will be disappointed to have a minimal control on the management and the building of their park, while casual players perhaps won't try the challenges because of the difficulty.
  22. Dec 2, 2013
    With four modes, a deep interface and multiple activities, it’s clear that a lot of effort went into its development. Unfortunately, by combining classic Zoo Tycoon elements with those of Kinectimals, it lowers the challenge.
  23. Nov 27, 2013
    There's huge satisfaction to be had from building your zoo, observing the animals and watching all the graphs go up. It's just a shame that over time, as the novelties wear off, the lack of depth makes it hard to keep coming back.
  24. Nov 26, 2013
    From a mechanical standpoint, Zoo Tycoon works quite smoothly, but a ridiculously low agent cap severely detracts from the game’s longevity.
  25. Nov 26, 2013
    This game is an interesting experiment: it tries to transform the old builder sim in something fast and easy to play. The problem is the game is now too easy and it has several flaws in terms of user interface.
  26. 70
    With its charming, colorful sandbox of tools, there's definitely a micro-managing itch that Zoo Tycoon handily scratches - we just wish the thrills stuck around a bit longer.
  27. Nov 18, 2013
    If you only know the 'Tycoon'-moniker from those railroading games and expect to find something with complex mechanics and systems to mull over, this is not the game for you. It's a light-hearted and a bit shallow simulation for the whole family. And as such, it succeeds.
  28. Nov 18, 2013
    One of the few options for kids in the Xbox One initial lineup. They will especially appreciate the animal interactions and the educational side of the game. As a tycoon, it was greatly adapted to a console but fell short on the management side.
  29. Nov 18, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon may have taken a best-of-both-worlds approach, but to my surprise and delight, ends up being more successful as a "game" than a mere family-friendly "experience."
  30. 70
    For all its shallowness, I couldn't help but fall for Zoo Tycoon. While its charms may indeed be too quickly exhausted, they're potent while they last, and there's an overpowering wholesomeness that's difficult to resist. There are a lot of great ideas, wonderful moments and potential memories to be made here that make it more than worth a look, but much like my experiences with real-life animal parks, Zoo Tycoon becomes less likely to delight upon each subsequent visit.
  31. Nov 18, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon stands halfway between a kids game and a deeper strategic experience.
  32. Games Master UK
    Dec 19, 2013
    Technical issues and uninspiring visuals hold Zoo Tycoon back from must-have launch material. [Jan 2014, p.63]
  33. Dec 27, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon is too hard for kids and too simple for adults, specially if they're looking for a game to become zoo managers. So we guess that it's meant for parents who want to play with their kids. If you're one of those, then it's a great choice.
  34. Nov 25, 2013
    This Zoo Tycoon next-gen is aiming for two audiences: casual players and true management lovers. It's understandable but very risky obviously. Zoo Tycoon's fans will be disappointed to have such a minimal control on the management and the building of their park, while casual players won't try the Challenges because of the difficulty. At last, Kinect is just a gadget once more, not a real revolution...
  35. Dec 31, 2013
    It remains one of the most random launch titles of all time but is well worth a purchase if you are looking for something that isn’t a first person twitch fest.
  36. games(TM)
    Dec 17, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon will have a very narrow appeal beyond families. [Issue#142, p.90]
  37. Dec 5, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon has all the cuddly critters up its sleeve (and I'm down with any game that features red pandas), and it wields the stick of cuteness without shame. But this simulation buries the cuteness beneath menus and squanders the power of the next-gen console by limiting the size of the zoo. Though creating a zoo is pleasant and breezy, after building several zoos with all of the animals, you've pretty much experienced the lion's share of what Zoo Tycoon has to offer.
  38. Nov 29, 2013
    For all Zoo Tycoon’s charms, it’s ultimately too shallow; there’s only so much cooing at identikit baby animals you can do before the inevitable fatigue sets in.
  39. Nov 26, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon is making a nice return on Xbox One, even if it is difficult to define its identity, between light management features and Kinect interactions, which are certainly adorable, but lack of interest in the long term.
  40. Nov 25, 2013
    It's just a shame that the game forces you to spend so much time bogged down in its clumsy interface, when all you want to do is build a better zoo.
  41. Nov 18, 2013
    Zoo Tycoon is a half-successful experiment, as almost every product of this kind. Frontier had a powerful tool in their hands - the new Kinect - which it could've used in a more intelligent way to make the experience of a management game for consoles less painful than usual.
  42. Nov 18, 2013
    A fun demonstration of the Xbox One’s capabilities but unfortunately much more a stealth sequel to Kinectimals than it is a proper Tycoon game.
  43. Nov 23, 2013
    While the animals are gorgeously detailed in their own right, learning about them and creating an enriching environment for the cuddly critters isn’t always presented in an enjoyable way.
  44. Nov 18, 2013
    In the end it felt a lot like playing Kinectimals, and that was almost three years ago.
  45. Nov 23, 2013
    Be ashamed, Frontier! Where is the depth and the fun of Rollercoaster Tycoon? Even on the DS Zoo Tycoon was more entertaining than here. Yes: The animals all look great and you can interact with them – but this ain’t Kinectimals 2!
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 323 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 76 out of 323
  1. Jan 4, 2014
    Graphics and controls are great. It is easy and convenient to check on the well-being of your animals and the satisfaction of guests. TheGraphics and controls are great. It is easy and convenient to check on the well-being of your animals and the satisfaction of guests. The variety of animals available is good as well.

    This game has a serious flaw: the Zoo Limit. With every enclosure, animal, concession stand, decoration (and anything else) that you place, the zoo limit fills a bit. In the challenge mode of the game (which restricts what you can build based on cost and income is determined by guest satisfaction), I reached the zoo limit in about 3 hours of play. I had about a dozen enclosures, each full of animals, two mini--enclosures, and about half a dozen other buildings. The zoo limit does not increase with zoo level, so once you have reached the zoo limit, you can't build anything new without selling something else.

    This is a severe limit on how large the zoo can be and how many animals can be had at one time.

    Additionally, the extent to which zoos can be customized is disappointing. Enclosures are limited to three sizes: small, medium, and large, and are predefined shapes. Exhibit enhancements can only be placed in a small number of preset locations around the edge of the enclosures, and to keep your animals happy you generally must have one of each type (feeding station, cleansing station, and toy). Due to the lack of customization, adding enhancements becomes tedious and repetitive.

    The game would be very fun if not for these limitations.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 31, 2013
    Great for kids, but nothing like the originals Being the 16 year old that I am I loved the original zoo tycoons so I bought this one just forGreat for kids, but nothing like the originals Being the 16 year old that I am I loved the original zoo tycoons so I bought this one just for the sake of my love. It's nothing at all like the original. I stopped playing after I put down the first plot of land. Its a handicapped downgrade of the originals. Offering very little customization, mediocre graphics and lots of animal interaction for the kiddies.

    I guess its good if your 5 or 6 years old. But if you're like me and bought this because of the original. You won't be satisfied.
    Full Review »
  3. Jun 9, 2014
    I am a Zoo Tycoon fans and this Zoo Tycoon feels nothing like the original Zoo Tycoon. The original Zoo Tycoon give players a lot of freedomI am a Zoo Tycoon fans and this Zoo Tycoon feels nothing like the original Zoo Tycoon. The original Zoo Tycoon give players a lot of freedom to develop or to build a park, but the new Zoo Tycoon just feel extremely restricted. XBO Zoo Tycoon is just not as fun as the original. Basically, it is just boring. Graphics certainly look great and all animals and character models look very detailed considering it is a next-gen games but overall it is very disappointing Full Review »