There are few games my household know quite as well as Jurassic World Evolution. Thanks to one dinosaur-mad son, the disaster-prone park builder became a staple from the moment of its release in 2018, and with save files pushing past 250 hours on the PS4 version alone, and a paltry 50 or so on the PC version, if I am an expert in anything, it’s Jurassic World Evolution. Believe me, my waking thoughts are haunted by the Jurassic Park theme song. And now Switch owners can experience it for themselves.
Just when I thought all the running and screaming was over, Frontier Games have brought Jurassic World Evolution: Complete Edition to Nintendo’s emphatic wünder-console. This version of the game pulls together every single piece of dino-related DLC that’s been released in the last two years, including the expansion packs Secrets of Dr Wu, Claire’s Sanctuary and Return to Jurassic Park. It’s about as dinosaur-y and Park-y as you can possibly get.
While the original game launched with a perfectly reasonable menagerie of 37 dinos, the Complete Edition houses a whopping 68, from the T-Rex – the true hero of the series – through to Fallen Kingdom’s Indo-Raptor. Just as in the other versions of the game, one of the joys is sticking a bunch of dinosaurs together who won’t get on to see who’s going to win in a battle royale for the ages. You can also construct all sorts of Saw-like traps for your victims, whether they’re human or from the Cretaceous.
It’s going to be of little surprise to discover that the biggest change to the game are visual. Frontier have done a remarkable job squishing and squeezing Jurassic World Evolution onto Nintendo’s considerably less powerful hardware, but this is a game that doesn’t always run incredibly well on a PS4 Pro, so you should be prepared for some pretty major concessions.
Starting off with the Switch docked, the visual pop-in of both textures and objects is the first thing you’ll notice. As the camera pans across the first island Isla Matanceros you’ll see a literal wave of freshly sprouting trees jump into view as you approach them. Once you have you own hand on the tiller, you’ll find that it continues its magical re-forestation as you pan around the landscape. It’s something that you soon manage to forget about though, especially when you’re in the thick of a dinosaur escape or yet another disease outbreak.
The dinosaurs remain the reason for entry to both your virtual park and the game as a whole. The resolution of everything has been reduced, once again in an effort to secure a stable performance, but the dinosaurs remain impressive and full of life despite the fuzzier visuals. They’re a real joy to look at and to successfully house, and they’ll keep you coming back time and time again just for a gander.
Thanks to the significant visual changes Jurassic World Evolution Complete Edition’s performance is perfectly usable, though it’s far from perfect. Zipping around your park can spark moments of judder, which increase in severity as you add more buildings and dinosaurs to it, but they are momentary, with it feeling as though the game is just trying to catch up with itself. Console players have had to put up with this sort of thing it’s little surprise to find it here, and it has never significantly impacted on our enjoyment of the game in any way.
The menu system and building tools don’t suffer in the same way though, and you can jump in and out of the menus, finding the correct path, cabling or building in moments and have it in place in a similar amount of time. Jurassic World Evolution’s building materials are simpler than Frontier’s other park builders, with the game’s substantial mission structure focussing your efforts.
Remove the Switch from its dock, and things become significantly more indistinct. While the UI remains sharp and clear, the rest of the screen displaying the park looks as though it’s been smeared in Vaseline, covered in cling film and then had an Instagram blur filter added for good measure. You’ll probably be shocked by how much the resolution drops, and it’s by far the least ideal way to play the game I’ve experienced.
That’s not to say it isn’t playable. Through some clever UI identifiers you can still easily tell the different buildings and dinosaurs from some distance away, while the drop in resolution means it continues to move at a decent lick. You’ll be dying to get back to your TV screens after only a short while,