Youda Safari Review – Running a safari park is fun but may be too easy for time management veterans.

Youda Games’ ongoing series of time-management games has covered everything from teaching players how to be a world-class sushi chef, to learning the ins and outs of being a farmer. This time around the developer has decided to tackle the world of safari park management with Youda Safari. It plays a lot like the developers previous efforts, which means it features some charming cartoon graphics and addictive gameplay. Unfortunately, this also means that things get repetitive very quickly, as you can see most of what the game has to offer in the first hour or so.
Unlike most of Youda’s games, Youda Safari actually has a story, though it’s not particularly in-depth. You play as Lucy, who agrees to help out her friend with sprucing up his safari. As it turns out, a number of safaris are being turned into hunting grounds if they don’t make enough money. Really, the whole set-up is just an excuse for Lucy to travel the world and manage a few safaris along the way, starting off in America before moving on to locales like Brazil and Europe.

The gameplay is fairly straightforward, and very reminiscent of Youda Farmer. Your safari is populated with a number of different animals and each customer has specific animals that they want to see and photograph. The goal is to make their tour go as smoothly as possible by choosing the fastest, most efficient route that will take them past all of the animals they want to see. Of course, things quickly become more complicated. As you progress, more animals are added to the park, and you can take on more passengers at a time. Your jeep can be upgraded to hold more passengers, but you’ll also gain additional modes of transportation like a hot air balloon and a swan boat.

Getting your customers to the animals they want to see quickly will ensure they go home happy. If you don’t, they’ll get annoyed and leave without paying. But some are there for more than just sight-seeing. In addition to guiding the tours, you’ll also have to add facilities like a snack bar and ice cream shop. If someone wants a bag of chips or an ice cream cone, you’ll have to click on the facility and after a few moments they’ll get what they work looking for. Additionally, you’ll also have to be on the look out for obstacles that will block the road and animals that occasionally need to be fed. As you move along in the game, you’ll earn both money and stars. Money is used to upgrade your park, while stars are used to unlock new stages.

All in all, there’s an awful lot for you to look after. Thankfully, the game isn’t as difficult as it sounds, at least at first. In fact, initially, it’s quite very easy. It’s not uncommon to get more than five times the necessary stars needed to complete a level and perfect scores come surprisingly frequently. Around 20 or so levels the difficulty ramps up somewhat, but it’s still not all that hard.

But while the core gameplay is enjoyable and much less hectic than your standard time-management game, it’s also much too repetitive. You’re essentially doing the same thing for the entire game, as nearly all of the gameplay mechanics are introduced in the first area. And while the different locales you’ll visit look somewhat different and feature some new animals, it’s not really enough to make each area feel unique. Aside from the layout of the park, it’s really hard to tell the difference between say, America and Brazil.

The game is quite nice to look at though, with charming cartoon style visuals. Though everything in the parks is small, it’s all easily recognizable and packed with detail. Of course, the animals are the real stars of the show, and each is delightfully adorable. You even get to collect photos of the various creatures that you can use to fill up a photo album.

Youda Safari is a nice change of pace amongst time-management games, as it eschews the incredibly hectic gameplay that seems to be a staple of the genre. Things still get busy, but rarely to the point that it becomes overwhelming. It’s just a shame that there isn’t more variety to help spice things up. As it stands, Youda Safari is an enjoyable game, but chances are you’ll become bored before it’s all done.