So I was watching TV the other day and I saw that Jurassic Park was on and suddenly I got a wave of nostalgia, floods of dinosaur related memories came rushing back to me. I obviously watched the film but also checked out if any half decent game versions of the film had been released, I was promptly met with Jurassic Park Builder which is out for both Android and iOS. Being an iOS user I headed for the App Store and grabbed it. And so, after two weeks of game play here’s my vibe: It’s basically The Sims, but with dinosaurs instead of people. Now that I have your attention I shall tell you about what this game has to offer. (I would like to make note that all the in-game images are screenshots from my own park)
First off, this game is free (Or was at the time of writing this review/Is in the UK) So it’s a “you’ve got nothing to lose” kind of gamble. Unfortunately ‘Bucks’, which is the currency for purchasing special items or speeding up building work, come in paid packages from £1.99-£17.99 which is basically stupid. They can be collected by installing apps distributed by Tapjoy but aren’t necessary if you’re patient. I personally haven’t parted with a penny during my time playing and it hasn’t been detrimental to my experience at all as most items can be bought using ‘Coins’ not ‘Bucks’ which are gained from Dinosaurs.
Many of the original dinosaur crew and characters from the movies are present in the game. Dr. Hammond and Dr Alan Grant are always popping up and giving you missions and some of the first dinosaurs you add to your park include the Triceratops and the ink spitting Dilophosaurs. For a fan of the franchise this game is simply a nostalgia overload and it’s even better for dinosaur lovers. The tropical storm also makes an appearance in the way of a mini game where you have to keep all your carnivores calm. A saddening element, however is that the iconic Tyrannosaurs is 490 Bucks- The equivalent of around $27.50 which is insanity. Again not crucial; but just sad.
This isn’t really a game you can play for hours on end, the missions take about 5 minutes to complete and you get around 4 each level, however, that’s not how it was meant to be played. You’re supposed to just run the park almost along with your daily routine, you check up on your dinosaurs every now and then, collect some money off them, plant a few trees and then go back to watching the TV. This actually proves to drag the entertainment value of the game out even more as you find yourself thinking about your park and how it’s all going a lot more than you do about that 12 killstreak you got in Black Ops.
I’m not going to lie to you, this game takes a while. It’s a little overwhelming at first but incredibly easy to get the hang of, that’s not the issue. What proves aggravating is that nearly everything you do, from hatching dinosaurs to clearing forest space, takes time. Some things can take up to 12 hours to finish, however, they continue in the background even if the app is closed, and therefore it proves to be a brilliant game for those with a busy schedule that find themselves with only a few minutes each hour to themselves. You could always gather/purchase bucks to speed up processes too, if you’re inclined to do so.
This game has Facebook integration that allows your mates to join in on your park adventures, helping you to decode amber to discover new dinosaurs and to evolve existing ones. You can also share your discoveries with your Facebook community to show off how awesome your park is. These features would work really well if many people actually played it. I have over 500 people on Facebook and apparently none of them are playing it. I can’t conclude if that’s a bug with it or simply because I’m the only Jurassic Park lover amongst my Facebook friends, but I’m sure it’s the latter. If you don’t have Facebook not to worry, you can log in as a guest and continue park shenanigans just fine.
This game is good fun, flexible,dinosaur filled and free. The graphics are pleasing for an IOS game, especially when you zoom in on your park residents, the quests push the game forward and the mechanics are easy to get used to. Expansion of the game is underway and we can expect an underwater section of the park to open soon in an update. Even just today I received an update which raised the level cap of dinosaurs from 3 to 5 which has given me a lot more work to do so updates do come through and are beneficial. As this game is free (or was/is in the UK) then you’d be pretty daft to ignore it, especially if you’re into the franchise. I direct you back to my original statement. It’s like The Sims but with dinosaurs, which I think The Sims needed anyway.