I’m pretty sure I had heard of Jurassic World Evolution before, but with so many games releasing daily, not to mention that it’s E3 and there are new videos / presentations / other happenings going on, it seemed to have slipped my mind. A friend graciously gifted it to me yesterday, just in time for release today. Since my little was up at 4am (which of course means I was up) at around 5:30 I was able to download the game and install it, jumping right into the theme park.

I read a few reviews that brought up some legitimate concerns like the fact that you can’t play in sandbox mode until you’re further in the base (tutorial, basically) game, and you need to complete the missions in order to unlock objects to use in your theme park. For a game that was designed by the same folks who created Planet Coaster, you may find it lacking in a lot of areas – but that shouldn’t hamper your enjoyment, it’s one of those “stop comparing it to every other game” moments.

I started out learning about bioengineering dinosaurs, and then decided to work on the security of the park. I created Berta, a fairly docile herbivore. Spent some money to add some research into genomes, sent a team out to examine fossils, and then with their discovery created George. Another herbivore. I’m not ready to get into the meat eating (people eating??) ones yet.

I placed some food for them where tourists could easily watch so that my park rating goes up (who wants to go to a park to see dinosaurs if you never get to SEE dinosaurs) and did a practice escape run by letting George out of his pen. A helicopter came and tranquilized the creature then air lifted him back to his (now) secure home. Easy peasy. I imagine things ramp up in difficulty as you progress through the game, but for now it’s fairly straight forward and I’m OK with that.

The game is also just plain beautiful, something I appreciate. I’m sure when things get really hectic (like a meat eating dinosaur is on the loose going after my tourists) I’ll sing a different tune, but for now it’s quite a relaxing and tranquil place to hang out.

There’s not a lot of park customization available (absolutely nothing like planet coaster), but so far that hasn’t really bugged me. Maybe when I’m further along. There’s a lot of research to do, dinosaurs to discover, gnomes to study. There are three paths (which are not really that different at all) of research to progress down and various things to unlock with each. You’re also in charge of 5 islands, each with their own finance and budget to look after. Unfortunately many players are commenting that the game seems to lack ‘stuff’ and you may find it quite repetitive after a bit. I also think the price tag ($62 CAD) way too steep for what the game offers at this time.

With all that said, I’m happy to be creating dinos and content to watch them romp through my park, eating trees and hopefully not tourists. For now, at least.