A Beginner's Guide to Planet Zoo – The Basics

A Beginner's Guide to Planet Zoo – The Basics

Learn the basics to playing Planet Zoo

Hayo Zookeepers!

We were delighted to celebrate the launch of Planet Zoo: Console Edition yesterday and welcome players on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S into the Planet Zoo family.

With so many of you playing for the first time, we’ve put together a Beginner’s Guide to Planet Zoo series to help you get started and find your feet in the world of zoo simulation.

This first guide focuses on the very basics of Planet Zoo, including game modes, difficulty settings and some basic controls.

Game Modes

In Planet Zoo you can create, manage, research and develop the zoo of your dreams across four different game modes.

Career Mode

Embark on a globe-trotting campaign mode and progress through a career in zoo management. If you’re new to Planet Zoo, we recommend starting with Career Mode to help you learn the basics.

Career Scenarios

  • Complete objectives to achieve bronze, silver and gold star awards.
  • Unique scenarios from around the world for you to complete.
  • Story driven with colourful characters.

Timed Scenarios

  • Complete objectives against the clock.
  • Bronze, silver and gold stars are awarded based on how long it takes you to complete all objectives.
  • Objectives will need to be maintained once completed or they risk uncompleting themselves.
  • Unlock in game scenery statues for each scenario based on your awarded stars.

Franchise Mode

Build a network of connected zoos around the globe and trade your animals online.

  • Build a series of connected zoos all around the world.
  • Trade habitat animals with other players on the Animal Market.
  • Take part in Community Challenges.*
  • Conservation Credits are shared between all the zoos in your Franchise, but cash is not.
  • You must be online to play this mode.

*Community challenges will be coming to Planet Zoo: Console Edition on April 2nd 2023.

Challenge Mode

Put your skills to the test and build your zoo offline with a full economy and challenges.

  • Start your zoo from scratch.
  • Full animal and economy simulation.
  • Optional challenges to complete.

Sandbox Mode

Let your imagination run wild in the freedom of Sandbox mode and build your dream zoo with no restrictions.

  • Build a zoo without limits.
  • Optional animal and economy settings to customise your experience.
  • Limitless creativity.

Difficulty Settings

Once you select your chosen game mode, you’ll be presented with a few settings, including the difficulty.

Planet Zoo features three difficulty settings allowing you to control the challenge and alter how difficult the game is, choosing between easy, medium or hard.

These difficulty settings are available in all game modes and the difficulty is set before a new scenario or zoo is started. Don’t worry though, if you’re finding it too much of a challenge, the difficulty can also be changed mid-game through the settings menu.

Each difficulty setting modifies the challenge you’ll face in a few different ways, with Easy providing a more laid back experience and Hard giving a more realistic representation of the animals and how they need to be cared for.

Easy Difficulty

  • Animal welfare is more easily maintained.
  • It takes longer for animals to get stressed.
  • Animals take longer to die when their needs are critical.
  • Animals never get bored of enrichment items.
  • Guests learn more from education sources.
  • Guest happiness drops at a slower rate.
  • Guests won't request refunds.
  • Guests are more willing to spend cash.
  • 5* Guest Happiness Rating requires an average happiness of 80%.
  • Staff take longer to get tired.
  • Staff can move faster.
  • Staff get a larger happiness boost from training.

Medium Difficulty

  • Animals never get bored of enrichment items.
  • Guests won't request refunds.
  • 5* Guest Happiness Rating requires an average happiness of 85%.

Hard Difficulty

  • Animal welfare is harder to maintain.
  • Animals get stressed faster.
  • Animals will die quicker when an issue is critical.
  • Animals get bored of enrichment items.
  • Guests learn less from education sources.
  • Guest happiness drops at a faster rate.
  • Guests request refunds.

Zoo Location

Along with difficulty, when selecting Franchise, Challenge or Sandbox modes, the location of your zoo is also chosen when a zoo is first opened. In Career mode, the location of the zoo is set by the narrative.

A zoo's location is defined by the continent and biome it is set in, with the location presenting different modifications to the gameplay.

The choice of continent and biome will impact the following:

  • The weather and temperature experienced in your zoo.
  • The immediate suitability of the environment for animals.
  • The probability of animals appearing on the market.


  • Europe
  • North America
  • South and Central America
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Oceania
  • Antarctica


  • Tundra – cold polar and mountainous regions.
  • Taiga – a cool biome defined by its coniferous trees.
  • Temperate – varied temperature and mixed tree types.
  • Grassland – warm vast open areas of grass.
  • Tropical – warm and often humid these biomes include rainforests.
  • Desert – hot and arid.
  • Aquatic – used for animal suitability but is not selectable as a zoo location.

You now know enough of the basics to start diving into one of Planet Zoo’s game modes, but your Education meter isn’t full yet! Head to part 2 of our series and learn everything you need to know about how to build your own zoo.

Planet Zoo: Console Edition is available to buy now on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.

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