Remember the bit in Jurassic Park where John Hammond airlifts a live Ceratosaurus into the food court? No? That’s because it didn’t happen, which was a huge failing of imagination on Spielberg’s part. Hammond was all about show business, after all, and business doesn’t come showier than a dinosaur eating tourists as they exit a burger joint. Obviously, the makers of Jurassic World Evolution don’t encourage you to feed guests to the 'talent' - it makes for a doozy of a TripAdvisor write up - but that it's done with just three mouse clicks suggests they know exactly what they are making.
Dino attacks are one of the many highlights from my first three hours with the game. The others are handily collected in the video below…
Think of the video above as Hammond’s introductory tour in Jurassic Park. Except where he kept boasting about no expense being spared, I’m quite up front about my park being built on a budget. I got to play from the first island, where all your wallet will stretch to is a couple of lame herbivores and some tarmac.
When I finally earned the cash to buy a carnivore it promptly ate all my other attractions, which put us in the red. The true horror of managing a dino park is not when raptors eat visitors, but having to wait for people to buy enough t-shirts to pay for an Edmontosaurus. Ever seen an Edmontosaurus? A T-Rex it ain’t.
Maybe this is what separates Jurassic World Evolution from other management games. The attractions you’re working towards aren’t just spicier versions of what you play with in the early game; they’re some of the most iconic movie monsters of all time. (Yes, I know dinosaurs existed pre-Hollywood, but these are very much the Spielberg versions, right down to animations and sound effects borrowed from the films.) There’s a genuine frisson of excitement when you invite a velociraptor into your park; could you really say the same about finally building a solar farm in SimCity?
Whether the raptors will hold their appeal when I’ve filled five whole islands full of the things is yet to be seen. But with the game arriving on Steam on June 12, there’s not long to wait to find out.