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Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Frontier Developments
Developer: Frontier Developments
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

A couple of years ago, my colleague Tyler reviewed Jurassic World Evolution back when it first came out for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. He wasn’t a fan, though he had high praise for the game’s graphics. Now that the game has arrived on the Switch alongside all its DLC, is it any better?

Yes and no. The bad news about this Switch port is that it’s very, very ugly. Much like Tropico 6 a few months ago, a lot of sacrifices were made in order to get Jurassic World Evolution to run on Nintendo’s system, and that’s apparent on every screen, whether you’re roaming around the grounds of the titular theme park, squinting to make out what type of land you’re looking at, or going through one of the many management screens, also squinting at reading some less-than-crisp font.

There’s also voice acting here — including Dr. Ian Malcolm himself, Jeff Goldblum — which is kind of a mixed bag. One the one hand, it’s pretty neat to hear Goldblum providing his character’s brand of cynical quips. On the other hand, none of the other voice actors are quite on his level, and the way the sound clips are integrated into the action bring to mind some of the shoddier quality voice acting from generations past (which is to say, they sound bad).

If you can get past the presentation, however, Jurassic World Evolution is pretty enjoyable — even if, as Tyler noted a few years ago, it’s a little shallow. As someone who struggles with feeling overwhelmed by games when given free reign to do whatever I want, I appreciated the way that this game gives you a story, even if that story is “make this part as profitable as possible.”

I also liked how relatively simple it was to figure out what you’re doing here. Even without a tutorial (at least, as far as I could tell), the game is surprisingly intuitive. Compared to plenty of other city-building/management games that I’ve played, it was impressive how little hand-holding there is here, even as the game asks you to carry out a pretty wide range of tasks.

Admittedly, it’s probably also worth noting that some parts of Jurassic World Evolution are kind of stupid. For starters, there’s the fact that you have three categories of tasks here — for the Science, Entertainment and Security — and, for some inexplicable reason, the different sections are at odds with each other. I know there was a bit of that way back in the first Jurassic Park movie, but it’s still bizarre that the sections would actively try to sabotage each other.

Moreover, the game is perhaps a little overly focused on maximizing profits at the expense of all other aspects of park management. I know that makes for an easy way to gauge success, but having no blowback from dinosaurs escaping and eating tourists — or even from going all in on restaurants and gift shops at the expense of restrooms — seems like a weird choice.

Nonetheless, provided you can overlook plenty of gaps in logic (not to mention hideous graphics and lousy voice acting), there’s something to be said for Jurassic World Evolution. It may not be the greatest amusement park sim or city builder the Switch has to offer, but it’s solid enough in its own right that it’s at least pretty fun time.

Frontier Developments provided us with a Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B+