Jurassic Park Builder has just received a mega-update, which adds an entirely new aquatic section to the park. The new underwater park functions almost identically to the above-ground park, with harbors for importing dino food and a similar process for clearing the sea floor to build structures.
The aquatic park does have an impressive new look, and it’s uncharted territory for the Jurassic Park film and game series. It also demonstrates how bottomless John Hammond’s pockets are, if he can replicate park buildings like museums and diners underwater.
Under the sea, there’s a new process for collecting dino DNA. Instead of clearing land and mining for amber, you have to send out subs every 9 hours to search for DNA. This replaces the Red Zone minigame, and it costs premium currency to send out more than one science vessel, but it’s a slight change that feels consistent with the rest of the game.
Jurassic Park Builder still doesn’t offer much of a challenge, but if you keep with it long enough, you’ll eventually have a very busy (and stable) dinosaur park. The aquatic section represents a chance to start over underwater, and to temporarily shift your attention away from the above-ground park. If you’re still playing this game, this update will probably be enough to bring you back for more.
Why do we keep heading back to Jurassic Park? Visiting live dinosaurs is about as unsafe as a walking tour of Chernobyl, but these megafauna parks (and games) keep doing mega-business. In Jurassic Park Builder, the rewards outweigh the risks, mainly because this casual sim doesn’t take many risks.
Jurassic Park Builder is one of the many Farmville or Tap Zoo clones where you can’t possibly lose. Everything you touch in the game earns you money or other resources. Dinosaurs earn revenue, which has to be collected in regular intervals, and you can also collect imported meat and vegetation from the docks. If you feed the dinos, they’ll level up and earn you more coins over time.
Can’t make a theme park without breaking a few eggs.
The entire premise of the game is that checking in often is the only way to quickly expand your park, along with optional in-app purchases, of course. Don’t expect an in-depth balancing act– as long as you visit your park regularly, you’ll be able to place the roads and exhibits however you want, without any fear of the meatasaurus eating a nearby veggiesaurus.
The other factor is time. If you don’t want to spend your premium currency or pay extra, you’ll have to wait for just about everything. Dino eggs take time to hatch, forest takes time to clear, and food takes time to ship in from the mainland. If you want to buy a new dino, or research the amber required to make new discoveries, you’ll have to wait and save up your revenue from the park.
So what does all this waiting get you? If you’re patient, and play persistently, you’ll eventually be able to buy one of each of the game’s dinosaurs. You can level them up over time, and send them back to the lab for more expensive research every ten levels. Meanwhile, you’ll be given very basic tasks from the film’s characters, who are all happy to help you create another Jurassic Park even after the first one endangered everyone’s lives.
Still working out the bugs.
Unlike Telltale’s Jurassic Park games, this is not the story of a dino park gone horribly wrong. In fact, for the most part, everything goes exactly as it should. You’ll constantly expand your park, rake in the cash, and never have to worry about Hammond’s grandkids becoming lunch. The only danger is in the “Red Zone” minigame, where you have to tap to placate the dinos before they find a way to escape. If they do escape, it’s still not a terrifying situation, since they’ll return after a certain amount of time.
As much as we dislike this unchallenging gameplay design, we still can’t help but enjoy the pleasant visuals and audio. If you look at Jurassic Park Builder as an added decoration for your iOS device, like a virtual terrarium, it’s a bit more fun. Plus, it’s a free download, and you never have to spend a dime if you take your time with the game.
Jurassic Park Builder isn’t deep or challenging at all, unless you consider self-control to be a challenge. If you can keep yourself from spending a lot of extra money for in-game extras, Jurassic Park Builder is harmless fun. It’s not too often that you can enjoy the roar or squeal of a dinosaur in a Jurassic Park game without experiencing some sort of terror immediately afterwards.