Zoo-opolis is perfectly playable, but it doesn’t stand out in the current field of Facebook zoo games
Zoo-Opolis is a game that feels unstuck in time. Two years ago, it would’ve been at the cutting edge of Facebook game design. Right now, it feels a bit quaint. Zoo-Opolis is an entry in the crowded genre of zoo-themed Facebook games that blend virtual pet gameplay with management sim elements. In Zoo-Opolis, you’re trying to build a diverse, high-ranked zoo by creating lots of enclosures that play host to many different species of animals. As you can afford to breed and display a greater number and variety of animals, your zoo rating goes up.
Visually, Zoo-Opolis is much plainer than a typical Facebook game. The user interface is much less contextual and user-friendly, instead relying heavily on hunting through nested menus for what you need. The interface is very powerful once you’ve learned it, letting you accomplish mundane tasks like feeding animals very quickly. Where a lot of games turn into click-fests at high levels, Zoo-Opolis seems to be designed with the goal of making high-level play efficient. The downside to this is that the GUI does have more a learning curve than most Facebook games these days.
You can go about the usual process of expanding your zoo and customizing it by selecting which style of enclosure and what sorts of decorations you’ll use. As is also usual for these sorts of management games, decorations range from modern and practical to completely fanciful. Decorating your zoo improves your zoo score, which increases the amount of money it generates passively over time. This in turn lets you afford more animals, fancier enclosures, and better decorations. You unlock new items as you level up, though leveling in Zoo-Opolis is relatively slow.
Aside from arranging your zoo, you spend most of your time in Zoo-Opolis watching timer bars. There’s a timer for feeding animals, timers for when animals are breeding, and timers for when you get more money. While many Facebook games also boil down to managing timers, modern games typically try to disguise the process a bit with busywork (like randomly spawning trash) or social mechanics you can use to kill time. While you can visit friends in Zoo-Opolis, there doesn’t seem to be any tremendously important game mechanics that hinge on these visits.
Zoo-Opolis‘s graphics-light presentation means it had no difficulties running in any of the browsers it was tried in during the text period. It didn’t seem to leak memory, either, able to stay open for dozens of hours in Google Chrome. It’s a very sturdy and playable game, though it’s hard to see its appeal when the zoo genre is already saturated with entries that are more intuitive, appealing, and varied. A game where you do nothing but breed animals might have stood out a few years ago on Facebook, but now natural selection is against it.