Fantasy Safari may be filled with fantasy creatures, but it’s not exactly fantastic
In real life, the business you can build and grow in Fantasy Safari would be an amazing place to go. After all, who wouldn’t want to visit a safari full of all sorts of magical creatures, from unicorns and dragons to a genie that looks ripped straight out of Aladdin? It’d be pretty awesome. Unfortunately, as great as the premise sounds, the reality of Fantasy Safari is that it’s a pretty standard social zoo management-style game that swaps out tigers and lions for pixies and three-headed hounds.
There’s no real set-up for Fantasy Safari. You’re simply given a plot of green land in the middle of a seemingly endless desert. And it’s there that you’ll build up your safari. You can purchase creatures of course, and build habitats for them. And there’s also the standard array of decorations, shops, and other concessions and attractions, many of which will earn coins at regular intervals. The only really unique thing to purchase, at least in terms of function, are the star enclosures, where you can place animals so that they can be the center of attention, earning extra gold and experience.
Of course, the main hook of Fantasy Safari is not its original gameplay, but instead the unique animals you can purchase. There are plenty of games where you can take care of animals in a zoo or safari-type environment, but few where you can house werewolves and trolls. And, at least in terms of sheer variety, Fantasy Safari delivers on its fantastical premise. There is a large and varied list of creatures to purchase, spanning all different types of fantasy.
It also doesn’t hurt that each of the creatures looks rather nice, with plenty of color and animation. The default view is zoomed out quite a bit, but the game still looks good when you zoom in for more detail. Not all of the creatures look all that original — specifically the Aladdin-style blue genie — but they do look good.
In order to play Fantasy Safari you’ll need to be connected at all times, which is especially strange considering just how limited the social features are. You can view other players’ safaris and pick up some trash and that’s about it. And in order to find friends, you’ll need to utilize EA’s own Origin service, as the game doesn’t support more common iOS networks like Game Center or OpenFeint. But since there’s so little to do you probably won’t want to bother logging in any ways.
Fantasy Safari certainly delivers on its title, letting you build a safari full of all sorts of fantasy creatures. Unfortunately the game isn’t quite as fantastic. Aside from its unique creatures, Fantasy Safari is a terribly standard social zoo tycoon game that offers little new or especially interesting. The creatures are fun, but they don’t elevate Fantasy Safari out the realm of simply being an average game.