Game Review: Safari Kingdom Sends Your Farm Into The Wild

Digital Chocolate’s Safari Kingdom is a pet raising game that may seem similar to other Farm simulators but has a series of unique elements that set it apart. The great presentation, pleasing graphics, robust gameplay and options for customization make Safari Kingdom a social gaming experience that you should try! Read the full review below.

  • Title: Safari Kingdom
  • Genres: Farming Simulation, Social, Strategy
  • Game Developer: Digital Chocolate
  • Game Publisher: Digital Chocolate
  • Released: March, 2010

Summary:

Safari Kingdom brings a number of innovative elements to the classic pet-raising farm simulation genre, and combines it with great presentation and a unique theme.

Pros:

Gameplay is fast and addictive. Unique selection of animals make the game a real exploration. Graphics and presentation are pleasant. The theme music is calming.

Cons:

No ‘low quality’ mode means game can be choppy on slower computers. Limited social features.

Full Review:

Gameplay:

In Safari Kingdom, the player uses his/her plot of land to raise different types of animals to gain money and enable themselves to raise even more animals. Once animals are fully raised, the animals are let out into the wild. As you gain money and resources, you’re able to build all types of decorations on your Safari plot, and the available items are plenty. Most are cosmetic, but there are items like the land itself that allow you to raise more animals at once. Also, you need to save your money to invest in eggs when you plant a creature. In this game, every animal does evolve from an egg, even foxes and the like, but you get used to it.

The fact that most of the cosmetic features of the game don’t really help gameplay is something that core gamers may wonder about. Why doesn’t a certain type of land increase the speed at which certain animals grow? Ideas like this would help the game develop into a cohesive experience, whereas now the game feels like it is two completely distinct games: a cosmetic safari land dress up and a pet raising game. The other frustration may be the fact that you spend all this time raising a cute Lion, and you never get to see it running around (like you do in Farmville).

Finally, the fact that all action occurs on a very specific grid makes Farmville seem more exploratory than Safari Kingdom. All your items and animals are grown on small tiles, and even your character walks around on those tiles. That said, once you’re used to it it’s not a big deal, and in fact can be useful at times because you know exactly what you can and can’t do, and whether you have space or not.

Presentation:

The graphics are great, as well as the animation. Your small little character has a ton of options to customize and walks around and pets/feeds with likeable animations. The animals themselves are great, and by far the best presentation moment of this game is the fact that you actually SEE your animal grow from baby to teen to full grown adult, with separate images for each. Seeing a teenage giraffe or baby flamingo is certainly an experience, and if you’re one to submit to cuteness, this game may get a hold on you. One note about the graphics is that there is no ‘low quality’ mode, which means slower computers may have trouble.

The user interface is excellent, in my opinion, and I found everything I needed at a glance. Amongst games of this type, a sort of standard UI is developing, with graphics/sound options on the left and action buttons on the bottom right, but to me that’s a good thing. Users that have tried one of these games will have no problem getting used to the new ones.

The main theme in this game is so addictive and calming. It’s one of my favorite parts of loading up the experience, and kudos to the Digital Chocolate composer for this one!

Lasting Appeal:

The game has as much lasting appeal as you have desires to build your safari landscape or see the newest animals. The real treat in this game is seeing the babies evolve, and I feel that players will keep working until they have all the animals unlocked, including the lions and giraffes. Players can always go to the “Professor’s” place to see the newest animals, and that lets players know what they can achieve.

However, if you’ve seen all the animals, and have your place reasonably decorated, there is no core gameplay element that will keep you around. The social elements are limited and competition isn’t a big part of the game, so some players may drop off once they’ve completed their achievements.

Sociability:

The game makes minimal use of social elements, by having your friends’ avatars appear walking around your Safari. You can click on them and visit to get special rewards, but other than that, the game doesn’t really emphasize social at this point. We’ll see how they iterate, and revisit the game and update the review to see what social elements emerge.