Jurassic World Evolution is already one of my favorite games of the year. Next month it’s getting a significant update in the 1.4 patch, which hits September 13. You can watch…
Jurassic World Evolution isn’t a particularly challenging or demanding theme park sim, but it has its quirks, and does a poor job explaining many of its systems. On any of the remote tropical islands within the Muertas Archipelago the Oooh-ing and Ahh-ing can quickly devolve into running and screaming. Or worse, you simply run out of money, whether through guests’ lawsuits or poor planning.
We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to help prove that a dinosaur theme park can be a successful, and profitable, venture.
One Career, Six Islands
Jurassic World Evolution operates a bit differently than most building sims. You have a single career that carries over between islands. Your progress towards dinosaur DNA as well as all research unlocked at the Research Center carries over between each island park. Cash, however, is tied to whatever park you’re currently playing.
This means it’s a good idea to stay on an island even after hitting three stars and unlocking the next island. Since you should have a sizable cash flow by then, finish getting 100% on each dinosaur fossil you have access to as well as any research. This will make starting over again on the next island a bit easier.
You should also try and complete each of the division Missions before moving on, as you cannot complete the next island’s Mission until the previous one.
The island parks are paused while you’re not running them. You can easily return to earlier islands after unlocking better dinosaurs and research, which will make attaining the full five stars much more manageable.
The sixth island, Isla Nublar, is the infamous site of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, and also a big money-less sandbox. Build the park of your dreams!
Each island will feature multi-step Missions for each of the three divisions: Science, Entertainment, and Security, as well as smaller, randomized Contracts. You don’t have to wait for these Contracts to periodically appear.
Go to the Control Center, and the Contracts tab in the lower left. From there you can Request a New Contract to randomly generate a new one. You can even choose from the three divisions. It may not be one you can complete in a timely fashion; you can always decline them without any repercussions.
Because of the chance for high cash rewards, you should always be working on a full queue of three Contracts at all times.
Maintain Balance Between Divisions
It can be tempting to focus on increasing your reputation with only one of the three divisions in order to quickly unlock their rewards. Increasing reputation also comes with a nice cash loyalty bonus if you favor a certain division, and their building, should you build it (unlocked from the first island’s reputation), will yield more income.
However, you run the risk of sabotage from any of ignored divisions. That’s right, if you ignore their contracts and mission for too long and don’t fill up the bar, they will actively sabotage your park, including poisoning your dinosaurs and shutting down the power. This can create some devastating scenarios at inopportune times. Try to keep all three reputation bars steadily increasing to avoid any nasty sabotage.
Apply Building Upgrades
Remember that building upgrades aren’t automatically applied after you research them. You have to manually apply them to the appropriate building. If you research Improved Output 1.0, for example, go to a power station and click over to the upgrade tab to apply it.
Note that most upgrades cost a bit of power, so make sure you have a surplus.
Improved Ouput and Outage Protection are must-haves for every power station. The Ranger Station upgrades are also solid, given that you’ll be using them to do just about every task in your park.
Guests needs are important, but priority should always go to your dinosaurs. An unhappy dinosaur is a security risk and a huge financial liability. Viewing a dinosaur’s statistics will let you see their various needs and ratings for food, water, and population. The most important bar is Comfort. A distressed dinosaurs will slowly lose comfort. Once it reaches their red bar, it will attack the nearest fence and escape, wrecking havoc on nearby guests.
Some dinosaurs are much easier maintained than others. Typically more expensive, higher rated dinosaurs are more difficult to keep happy, and require very specific parameters of grass, forest, and population numbers, which is mostly discovered through trial and error (or this excellent spreadsheet).
Be especially wary of dinosaurs with a large red bar in their comfort level, like Tyrannosaurus Rex, Indominous Rex, and Velciraptor. Those dinosaurs will break out at the drop of a hat.
Social vs. Population
Each dinosaur has two separate bars for Social and Population. Social is how many of that dinosaur’s own species they like to have around them. Large carnivores, for example, typically don’t like to compete, though you can house up to three Ceratosaurus fairly peacefully.
Some dinosaurs will panic if they don’t have enough of their own kind. Torosarus and Dracrex will immediately start panicking if they don’t have a buddy nearby, and preferably at least a handful.
Population is the total number of dinosaurs within an enclosure. While Dracorex loves having a couple of its own kind, its Population tolerance is actually low. Put more than about half a dozen dinosaurs with it and its unhappiness will lead to attacked fences, escapes, and constant headaches for you.
On the other hand, the hadorsaurus family (Corythosaurus, Edmontosaurus, Parasaurolophus) have large Social and Population thresholds – they love having lots of friendly herbivores around them. Use them along with other friendly, social herbivores like Triceratops and Brachiosaurus to fill out a large mega-herbivore enclosure in every park.
Double The Fences
Something I discovered by accident is that you can build fences on top of fences, creating a double perimeter. The new fence will automatically wrap around the old. It’s not a bad idea to double the fence line for your more ornery dinosaurs, giving you some extra time to either fix the dinosaur’s needs once they start attacking, or fire up the ACU and Ranger jeep for the inevitable break out.
If you don’t like getting up-close with your dinosaurs, you’re playing the wrong game. Manually driving a Ranger vehicle lets you take pictures of your dinosaurs. Photographing certain dinosaur actions, like hunting, fighting, and eating, can satisfy some Contracts, but it’s also a nice bit of side income when you don’t have any pressing concerns and you’re waiting for the coffers to fill.
Taking pictures doesn’t cost you anything but time and can net thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars. Try to stage as many dinosaurs as possible in a frame.
Mixing Carnivores and Herbivores
Generally meat-eaters and plant-eaters aren’t going to get along very well, even in a very large enclosure with multiple goats running around. T-Rex wants to hunt, after all. However, there are a few successful combinations.
Dinosaur size is the biggest thing to be aware of when mixing. If herbivores are significantly larger than the carnivores, the carnivores won’t be able to mess with them. Though the herbivores may feel panicked on occasion. There are some exceptions. Try putting several Velociraptors in a pen with a defenseless Corythosaurus. Maybe save your game first.
An example of a successful mixed enclosure is a handful of Deinonychus with a pair of Ankylosaurus. The Deinonychus won’t be able to touch the lumbering tank-like Anks. Just make sure the enclosure is big enough where the Anks won’t feel threatened all the time, and put their feeders on opposite ends.
In the early stages of each park every single dinosaur matters. Everything outside of the Struthiomimus is fairly expensive. You definitely don’t want them eating each other.
But once money becomes less of a concern, you can employ the dubious tactic of breeding dinosaurs for the sole purpose of feeding them to your big carnivores. These large meat-eaters, such as the early game Ceratosaurus, can attain very large star ratings by fighting and killing other dinosaurs, like Torosarus.
Modify the genes of your large predators to increase their attack and defense ratings, then breed unmodified herbivores with weaker stats, but who can still fight, such as Torosaurus. Winning battles will earn them Combat Infamy and a bonus to their star rating. It’s a particularly good tactic for islands where you don’t have space for more dinosaurs and enclosures, such as Isla Pena.
Give your star predators time to heal between bouts. You can also hop in a Ranger jeep and shoot them with medical darts, which will actually heal them during the fight!
Use the Management View
The eye icon is the Management View, and it lets you cycle through several different overlays of your park. This is important to see where you need to build your guest amenities such as gift shops. and fast food.
Guest needs are primarily built around two areas in your park – hotels, and all of your various viewing galleries, platforms, and gyrospheres. While it may make aethsetic sense to drop a row of shops and eating at your park entrance, it’s not going to make your guests happy unless they are near a hotel or a dinosaur enclosure.
Think of all these guest facilities as having a hidden radius around them, and you want that radius to touch as many of your viewing galleries as possible. Since hotels house a large number of guests, you should also surround them in food, drinks, and fun.
We Need More Burgers
Every guest building can only serve a certain number of guests, depending on how many staff members you have empoyed. It’s hidden behind the dollar sign tab on each buildling, which also lets you adjust which item is being sold and for how much.
If you see the number of guests are full (like 320/320), click on Manage Staff to to hire more staff and accomadate more people. Always do this before buying an entirely second building to fill the same needs. On an island, space is a premium!
One Big Monorail
Every park has a Transport Rating, and the only way to improve it is with a monorail. The monorail’s job is to ferry folks from your park entrance to your hotels, reducing the downtime between arrival and dinosaur viewing.
If you go to the Management View you can also see that monorails act as mobile viewing galleries. Build them so they weave their way around and through your dinosaur enclosures to improve your Dinosaur Visibility rating.
A single monorail track should be able to cover your entire park. Stick a a few stations near hotels and hotspot locations, and your Transport Rating should remain solid all the way to five stars.
Fans of the movies will recognize the Velociraptor as being particularly dangerous. It’s no different in Jurassic World Evolution. Their Comfort threshold is exceedingly low, meaning they’ll get upset and attack the fences at the slightest provocation, whether it’s too many trees, too few of their own kind, or adverse weather conditions. This makes raptors rarely worth the headache of breeding them compared to other dinosaurs – but you’ll need them to complete several Island Missions.
To avoid instant Social concerns breed multiple raptors at a time and release them one after the other. What could possibly go wrong?
Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Fifteen years ago I fell in love with Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis. It was the original dinosaur park sim that let me prove that breeding dinosaurs for consumer entertainment is a totally valid business strategy.
Now from the makers of Planet Coaster comes Jurassic World Evolution. Like the current era of Jurassic World films it’s not quite as good as the original. But Evolution does feature all the joy and danger of breeding and housing dinosaurs for entertainment that makes the concept so richly compelling.
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I love Pokémon GO. I fell in love with the brilliant concept of hunting Pokémon in the real world and forgave the horrendous networking issues along with everyone else when it launched two years ago.
Jurassic World Alive borrows much of the basic gameplay and mechanics of Pokémon GO, using dinosaurs in place of Pokémon. Even if you’re not a big dino-fan, Jurassic World Alive improves upon Pokémon GO in several key areas, making it the AR game I’m more likely to play when I’m out.
Bingo, Dino DNA
Inn Jurassic World Alive you are a member of the Dinosaur Protection Group. Your mission is to save dinosaurs by, uh, shooting them with tranquilizer darts, creating genetic hybrids, and battling other dinosaurs. Who knew prehistoric conservation could be so much fun?
Just as in Pokémon GO, your primary job is to collect creatures on an augmented reality map, localized to your current location. Dinosaurs and Pit Stops are scattered around the world, the latter giving you darts to capture dinosaurs and gold for upgrading them.
When you find a dinosaur you enter a timed mini-game. The dinosaur runs around as your flying drone attempts to fire tranq darts from above. A crosshair reappears in different places on your target as you hit the marks, upping the challenge. It makes capturing the dinosaurs far more engaging and less frustrating than flinging a bunch of poké balls.
The other key difference is that you never capture a single dinosaur. Instead you collect a number of DNA points, depending on how well you hit the crosshairs. A direct bullseye will net over 10 DNA per shot, while a grazing shot gives half of that. If you miss the crosshair you’ll receive none at all.
Since each capture session is timed, you can only get a limited amount of DNA from each dinosaur. This provides a welcome incentive to capture duplicates dinos.
Gather a certain amount of DNA and you can create that dinosaur. Rarer, stronger dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurs Rex require much more DNA. Each dinosaur can also be leveled up by collecting additional DNA, with upgrades granting more health and stronger attacks. You’ll definitely want stronger dinos because the turn-based combat is legitimately fun.
We Need More Teeth
Combat in Jurassic World Alive isn’t limited to Gyms as in Pokémon GO. You simply select the Battle button from the menu and match up with a similar rank opponent. You can bring up to four dinosaurs on your battle team, with the goal of defeating three of your opponent’s dinosaurs before they do the same to you.
Battles are intuitive and fun. Unlike the constant clicking chaos of Pokémon GO, combat in Alive is entirely turn-based. Each dinosaur has two to three moves you can choose from. Most include secondary effects like slowing down an opponent, or adding a protective shield for your next turn. Passive abilities include armor that reduces damage, or automatically counter-attacking after receiving damage.
There’s enough variety in the starting common dinosaurs that I’ve already been adjusting my team several times over as I find the right mix. The Velociraptor, one of the easiest dinosaurs to level up in the beginning, hits extremely hard with an ability that does an additional x2 damage. It has very little health, however, making it good for a strong opening attack that I immediately switch out with something beefier, like the Euoplocephalus.
While many of the abilities are outlandish and very video gamey (like the aforementioned shield, which literally looks like a sci-fi hologram in front of the dinosaur) I appreciate that most of the dinosaurs are drawn from real world creatures. Each stat sheet includes a nice little About This Creature section, featuring a few sentences of science facts. Euoplocephalus, for example, means ‘well-armed head.’ It’s not exactly National Geographic but it’s nice to see some effort made to create some educational content in a game about collecting and battling dinosaurs.
In another improvement, the Supply Drops, Jurassic World Alive’s equivalent of Poké Stops, are much more frequent and accessible. This makes a huge difference to folks living in more rural areas, where the dearth of Poké Stops makes Pokémon GO almost unplayable. A free incubator is also given every six hours, which always includes a pack of 20 darts, no matter where you are.
You can purchase additional incubators (essentially loot boxes), gold, and darts with cash, and cash can be acquired with real money purchases. But it never pushes them on you, and I haven’t felt the need to spend any real money despite devoting quite a few hours into my new dino collecting hobby.
If I have one complaint, it takes a long time to level. Like Pokémon GO, your character also levels up. Reaching higher levels spawns better and rarer dinosaurs in the wild. The leveling feels painfully slow, even early on, limiting you to seeing the same few dinosaurs everywhere.
As it cross its two year anniversary Pokémon GO’s star-studded status has faded from the public view. Pokémon remains a stellar franchise and finding Pokémon in an AR game is still very enjoyable. I have no doubt that the upcoming Switch tie-ins, Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, will spark a wave of new interest.
I love Pokémon and Pokémon GO, but Jurassic World Alive does a better job of everything Pokémon GO does. At this point I have fully switched over from Gotta Catch ‘Em all into humming that classic John Williams theme.