Review: Jurassic Park Builder app

by Nathan Stout (of

** Updated 5/5/13 ** Check at bottom.

My coworker Jonathan showed me a new iPhone app called Jurassic Park Builder by Ludia. It is a park management game where you find amber, decode the DNA, hatch the eggs and make money off of dinosaurs on a ‘new’ version of Jurassic Park that John Hammond is making (psst, we won’t mention that John Hammond died in the first book).

It’s a fun game with some name behind it. It is free and as with all free apps you can find ways to spend money on it. You collect money by tapping on your dinosaurs but you if you need more money you can spend real money to buy some game money. There are also ‘dollars’ that you collect (very slowly). You can buy these with real world money too.

Here is a screen from it:

Here we see the ‘ghosts’ of Henry Wu and John Hammond ready to give you missions.
So everything seems to be hunky-dory with the new Jurassic Park and with you managing it, things can only get better… yadda yadda yadda.
You start out a little clear land and one dinosaur. You tap your dino to collect money off it (presumably the money from showing it to park patrons). Each dino has a rating on how much money you can get from it per hour. The higher level you are, the more expensive your dinos are, the more money you get from them.
You can clear land (for a cost of course) and then clear miscellaneous bushes, rocks, and boulders from the cleared forest. You gain XP for doing this and you might find a piece of amber. You can then try to decode (for a cost of course) the DNA to have the new dino available for purchase (for a cost of course). Rinse, repeat.
There are also buildings that can generate money and decorations that can add percent bonuses to money making ability of your dinosaurs. This is where you can have some mico-managing fun after you get kinda get bored with the dino feeding or mission-taking. Buying and placing decorations and buildings to maximize money bonuses is fun (for me, at least).

The dinosaurs can also be upgraded. You tap on your 2 food harbors and pay to have either meat (for your meat eating dinos) or grass (for your herbivores) brought in. You then can feed your dinosaurs and they will eventually level up. This makes them look a little different and they can gain more money. Every 10 levels you have to ‘evolve’ them to level up. This takes them off the park and you must basically try to decode the DNA (like you do when you find amber). It is very expensive (and I am not totally sure it’s worth the cost).
The other feature you can use to make money is Code Red mode. A storm appears off the island (when your Code Red button is glowing) and you can play a mini game where you watch your dinos freak out at the storm and attempt to escape. A little meter shows up over the meat eaters and it increases until it turns red. You have to tap it to make it go away before it fills completely or they will escape (for a while) and are unavailable for money making. The closer to the red your meters get before you tap them, the more they are worth. After theĀ 90 second time is up you collect that money.
Various characters from Jurassic Park show up to give you missions. They basically get you familiar with the game at first and they continue to give you missions while creating little stories to go along with them. It’s neat that you get to have these guys helping you out. For completing missions you gain XP, money, and sometimes more.
That is pretty much it! Oh wait, I forgot the great new feature John Hammond built into the park… He built an underwater version of Jurassic Park! You can go to the harbor and go visit the underwater version which is basically the same as the upper version but you have ancient fish (and it is more expensive).
Any tips? Well I can tell you that it costs a lot of buy the food and upgrade your dinos and I’m not totally convinced that you can make THAT much more by doing it. I think the more buildings and other money bonus buildings and decorations might be more worth the effort. I have been playing for a couple of week and will check my park every few hours (to collect my monies).
I am hanging on to all the ‘dollars’ I can. You spend dollars to speed up eggs hatching, retrying failed DNA encoding, buying exclusive dinos, buildings, and decorations. I haven’t decided on what to do with them but I will figure it out eventually.
After playing this game for a few more weeks I have a few more words of advice.
  1. The way to make the money to get what you want is to build up your bonus percentages (via decorations). They can double (and more) the amount of money any dino gives you.
  2. Always buy food. Keep those docks working 24/7. If you want to maximize what your dinos can earn you will need to feed them to upgrade them. It takes ALOT of food.
  3. Save up 100 ‘Dollars’ to buy the meteor crater. It gives 30% bonus. This is basically the only thing I have ever spent my dollars on.
  4. Buy the ‘Bridge Over Pond’ it give you 6% for 97,000. This is the best deal per percentage point you can buy (and it covers a large area).
  5. Buy the ‘White Fern Tree’ too. It’s only 30-something thousand and gives you 3% points. This is what you can surround your most profitable dinos with to push that money making over the top.

If you are going for the money route don’t bother with roads or laying out the park like a park. Just jumble all your dinos together (around all the decorations) so you can get the most out of each of them.

Thank you.

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