With a potential fourth Jurassic Park movie still floating in the ether, Ludia's new Jurassic Park iPhone and iPad game, Jurassic Park Builder, might be the closest fans of the movie trilogy will get for quite some time. Luckily, even though this "zoo building" game is reminiscent of other titles on iOS (say, Dragonvale for instance), this licensed title offers an incredible amount of fan service and the likenesses of so many of the characters that made the films great. The game is only available to download in the Canadians iTunes store as of this writing, but we've had a chance to go hands-on with what seems like an incredibly polished experience.
If there's one problem with Jurassic Park Builder, it comes with the game's basic setup, as the game's storyline ignores the canon of the films. Dr. Hammond is once again trying to create a working, safe Jurassic Park attraction for his investors and Dr. Grant is along for the ride. Dr. Wu is back in the lab extracting DNA from amber deposits, and you'll be able to gather that DNA to create new breeds of dinosaurs for your park.
While Jurassic Park Builder is playable independently on both iPhone and iPad, the setup is a bit too small and cramped on the smaller screen of an iPhone (even with pinch and zoom controls), making this one to play on an iPad if you have one available. Either way, you'll spend time clearing out the lush jungles to build new habitats for dinosaurs, and removing debris from your park in the hopes of finding amber. Amber, along with coins, can be used to find new DNA strands, which in turn become eggs to hatch in new habitats within your park.
Once you have dinosaurs happily living in confined areas, you'll be able to feed them meat or plants based on their types and each attraction will give out a specific number of coins every few minutes or hours depending on how much you feed them. Furthermore, you can purchase restaurants and other non-living attractions for guests to browse, giving you even more money over time. All of this goes back into expanding the park and researching more kinds of dinosaurs to continue the cycle. Throughout it all, you'll be guided by characters like Kelly, Ian Malcolm and more through a series of quests, and will be able to watch automated vehicles travel around roads of your design in a tour of the park. Everything the movie version of John Hammond wanted in the films - a safe, entertaining encounter with dinosaurs - can be available here, but Malcolm continues to warn us that chaos can happen at any time.
Adding social elements to the game, Jurassic Park Builder allows you to visit your friends' parks via Facebook integration, or to visit the parks of strangers that are randomly chosen. It doesn't appear that you can actually complete tasks while there, but you will be able to take a look at the design choices of other players and take a peek at what dinosaur species you'll eventually unlock in your own park.
Ultimately, the basic gameplay of Jurassic Park Builder isn't anything too extraordinary, but the license is handled wonderfully (save for the storyline inconsistently that can be quickly ignored). Perhaps we're partial, given that we're such great fans of the first three films, but isn't that the entire point? This is a game made for Jurassic Park fans that will be entertained by the slew of included sound effects from the films and character interactions. In the world of branded or even movie games in general, we can't ask for much more than that.
Click here to download Jurassic Park Builder on the Canadians iTunes Store ---->
Are you a Jurassic Park fan that's looking forward to trying out Jurassic Park Builder on your iPhone or iPad? Sound off in the comments!