Tap Jurassic let’s social zoo gamers build their own Jurassic Park
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: there’s an amazing park that – get this! – has been able to clone and breed real dinosaurs! There are going to be concession stands, lots of visitors, and it’ll be really cool! Tap Jurassic lets you experience all the thrills of this idea without the ugly business of being torn to shreds by a velociraptor – and it fits in your pocket to boot.
Tap Jurassic (not to be confused with the other Tap games) lets you open your own Jurassic… erm… park, complete with dinosaurs and other animals. To grow the park you’ll earn coins, experience points and premium bonus bucks by adding new attractions, upgrading your concessions and pens, breeding new dinosaurs and maintaining the park. It’s all standard social gaming here, but it’s solid, albeit not too different from what you’d expect.
There is, however, a lot of depth to Tap Jurassic. The quests are similar to those found in the Ville series of Facebook titles. By collecting certain items or completing objectives, you can earn a special item for your park. At time of review, there were only five quests, but given the online nature of the game, Tap Jurassic is sure to have more. There was even a prompt that the quests’ costs were 50% off for a limited time, giving players a reason to check back often.
It’s a good thing that there are sales, because after the first two quests the costs rise ridiculously. The amount of spending that’s required rises almost five-fold. Sure, it’s good that you won’t be able to complete every quest quickly – that would be the death knell of any social game – but a gentler cost curve would have been nice.
Outside of this you’ll spend your time visiting neighboring parks, buying landscaping items, or simply puttering around. There are a lot of different decorations, landscaping and concession choices, so your park will most definitely be yours. Over time, you’ll be able to expand the size of your park to accommodate more animals and visitors.
The menu system’s font is a bit on the small side, but still quite legible. Everything is explained simply but completely. You’ll never be lost for what to do next, nor will there be a shortage of instantly gratifying things to do while you wait for several hours (or days) to pass.
Naturally, being a free-to-play game, you can purchase premium currency using real money or participate in sponsored offers to download various apps or watch a video ad to earn extra bonus bucks. Bonus bucks aren’t as hard to come up with as other games, but you’ll still need a lot of them to get the really good stuff.
Tap Jurassic isn’t all that much to look at, but it’s serviceable. Given the source material – again, dinosaurs! – it would have been nice to see more detail. Audio-wise it’s a bit flat as well. There’s one audio loop that will get stuck in your head, but you won’t want to listen if you play for long stretches. The biggest disappointment in the sound department is not hearing a single dinosaur roar! Come on, that’s half the awesomeness of those creatures gone in an instant.
Speaking of creatures, Tap Jurassic offers a few lame ducks in its animal roster. Mixed with the T-Rexes and Stegosauruses, you’ll find camels and giraffes. While there’s nothing wrong with these beautiful animals, it seems weird seeing a raptor with an ostrich. There are a ton of cool dinosaurs out there; surely the developers could have delved a little deeper.
One more thing that was a bit of a nuisance was the time it took to connect to the server. Sometimes Tap Jurassic would load up quickly, but other times would take almost a minute to connect. And if you’re ever in a position where you can’t connect to the internet, Tap Jurassic simply won’t load for you at all. You can’t play locally and connect later. No connection equals no game. This seems to be the running trend with social mobile games.
Tap Jurassic has a great premise and a great structure. However, it’s hampered by a number of issues that drag it down from great to merely okay. The game’s problems could easily solved in future updates, but that’s no real excuse. Considering the low cost of entry, it’s still a social game worth watching. Hopefully, in the weeks and months ahead, a lot of these issues will be solved and Tap Jurassic turns into the dino-sized game we imagine it could be.