Challenge mode "how to" (jurassic difficulty) - Mr. Toad's Way


So I find, that a lot of people on forums and FB still have problems with J. difficulty. To be honest, I have no idea why, I have beaten it three times already without a problem and I am up to next ones as fast as I find some more hours during my average day ;) If there is something like it here, feel free to delete this thread.

The thing here is ultimately not perfect, but it is my way of dealing with the issue. You don't have to do it the same way, maybe you found a better one, I am not a "genius level" player, so perhaps I am mistaken on "how to do" and then, please correct me. As a Starcraft, Warcraft and Age of Empires player, I find this type of games quite easy and that is the only reason I decided to make this "guide". Enjoy!


So, first of all, opening. You don't need to start with the same quests (they are called contracts in this game and give you decent money and rep advantage. Please note, rep unlocks nothing in this mode and you don't want to favor any division more than other 2, as the one(s) rejected will give you a hard time with constant sabotages). You can restart at the very beginning (only moment where I recommend it!) and get ones, that you can achieve in next 5-20 minutes. The opening buildings are supposed to be created in this order:

1. Small power station (obvious, no power, nothing can be done, as we all have seen in the films (yeah, I know the book was first!) - it builds longer than expedition centre and fossil centre, so it is good to build it as first building
2. Expedition centre - no need to explain, you need it as fast as possible to start gathering fossils and minerals, that you can sell
3. Fossil centre - again, fast extraction means you start getting money faster
4. Small power hub (or how do you call it, the one that gives electricity to nearby buildings) - near the expedition and fossil centres. Try to place all 3 buildings close to each other and the entrance of the park, so ammount of wires and paths will be smaller.
5. An exhibit - nothing fancy, you don't have to add gate straight forward, you can do it later (around 1-2 doses of food left in feeder, when you already have ranger)
6. Hammond creation lab - obvious, you have to produce dinosaurs as fast as possible. Attach it to the exhibit, also close to entrance.
7. Viewing gallery - which might not be obvious, galleries and other "viewing" buildings are only way our guests can see our animals (or genetically created monsters, as you want to call them). Now you must remember to attach it to the exhibit near the water and food sources and leave some space left for guest buildings nearby.

Now, you have everything. As fast as you get power in exp. centre, go for Triceratops (first the 1 species formation only, I forgot the name, you will find it very fast, since there are only few formations open at the beginning, when it depletes, focus on the one with 3 species). Why Triceratops you might ask? Struhiomimus has highest rating per price and Ceratosaurus gives huge ammount instantly. The reason is, Tri is relatively cheap for it's rating, it has enough rating to power your budget for a moment and besides, if it escapes, it won't run and kill guests (at least not as many as Cerato). I don't recommend carnivores at all on J. difficulty for "noobs". I don't use them at all usually, since I am too lazy to contain them and besides, I have my hands full anyway with hurricanes, contracts, diseases, feeders, research, fossils and other stuff.

As you have 50% genome on Tri. you want to produce it. Remember about feeder and water close to gallery and don't worry for failure. You can save the game b4, but I can say there is 99,99% chance there is a hidden mechanic in this game, that first egg ALWAYS hatches. At least in around 50-100 games I started in this game, both campaigns and challenges, first egg never failed!

Now, you have an opening finished and you can focus on making contracts (I will call them quests here due to laziness :p ). After each contract save the game and reload if the contract doesn't suit you. The rule is "If I estimate that I can't finish it in 5-10 minutes, I reload the game and try again for a better quest". Now, you can ignore this part, but with it is 100x easier, as cash flows fast. Also, you want to constantly send expeditions, since they often give you valuable minerals, that you can sell + you need this to progress anyway.

When you get 100% genome on Triceratops (get DNA from Edmontosaurus and Struhiomimus when you find their fossils as well, but prioritize Tri. ), start gathering Edm. DNA and produce second Tri, without any genome upgrades, you don't want to do that until you have success rate 1.0 (that will be done in next 15-30 minutes, depends on your luck). You also want to build a ranger station and a gate to the exhibit quite fast, since first diseases usually appear after 20-40 minutes, so better be prepared ;) Remember to always have some cash for ASAP interventions like diseases, repairing buildings and so on!

As you progress through genome, contracts and fossils, you will want to build research centre and the first things you want to research are Success Rate 1.0 and the shark DNA trait (resilence + lifespan), it is probably best modification in this game, as it gives quite high rating, a lot longer life and a lot healthier life, which will reduce time for producing new dinosaurs and healing the ones, that exist already. Apply 3x success rate to the hammond creation lab (I'l call it hatchery later on, it is shorter name and you know what this is anyway) and don't modify below 70% viability. It is not worth losing money, even if it is a small chance of failure, you will lose some in worst moments, so don't do this. From new genome, get sinoceratops, as it has high rating and is relatively social (same as Tri, it can live in group of 16)

As you produce next dinosaurs (I suggest 1 edmonto, 1 struhio, 1 huayango, 6 tri and 7 sino on first exhibit), you should build fast food and gift shop in some point when you have some spare money (of course next to the viewing gallery) and you will have 1 star already. Now, things do get much easier. You need to research:

1. Dig Yield (and apply 3x to expedition centre!)
2. Success Rate 2.0 (and apply 3x to hatcheries!) so you can now have 40% viability on base and still 100% chance to hatch dinosaur.
3. Iguanodon if you have it (is social and has high ratings, so max them and produce them in second exhibit, 10 iguano and 10 huayango on that one, build another fast food and gift shop near the second viewing gallery, that is close to water and food), otherwise I would use some other species, but Iguanodon is really the best dino on 2nd tier in my opinion.
4. Diseases, research them so you won't get surprised with something you cannot handle

Also, it is time to build ACU centre. It will help containing escapees and besides, it allows you to complete "produce and sell" contracts. Soon, you will achieve 2 stars and there things get fun. Max out sauropods (brachiosaurus, diplodocus and dreadnoughtus if you have it) and from here, the game will be easy. Get some other herbivores too, it will help you reach total of species required (from what I found out, I could not finish my game until I had the required number of species (for example less than 20 that is required) and get some more buildings and disease cures, you will need both these things. Techs that are very good choice are: ACU and ranger team accuracy, large power station, outage protection and improved output. On 4 stars, get Success Rate 3.0 and 4.0 (if you have Dr. Wu DLC) as fast as you can, get traits that give lifespan and/or resilence for your animals and remember not to cross magic barrier of total 100% chance of success. Remember to add dinosaurs as often as you can, without leaving your cash stock totally empty. Soon, you will reach 5 stars.


The only thing is, you have dinosaurs there, so the thing I would do, is to build ACU centre, contain some, sell some and build guest buildings first, along with power station and viewing gallery of course. From there, you can easily get 1-st star and then, the things get much, much easier. Other than that, I would do the exact same things, I did on the other islands.

Additional notes:

  • Contain escapees as fast as possible
  • When something escapes or tornado comes, open emergency shelter. From 60-90 minute you should have around 100% shelter coverage on the island.
  • Repair as fast as possible
  • Cure as fast as possible
  • Always have some cash left
  • Constantly send dig teams and produce dinosaurs
  • If you have Dr. Wu and Claire's DLC's, you have great boosts for your dinosaur ratings (Success Rate 4.0 and Paleobotany are both very strong things!)
  • Global operations are not advised by me
  • Build weather protection buildings, the ones with bigger area. The ones with small one are more effective, but you have to build too many of them, so it is not worth in my opinion
  • Save before storms, if tornado comes and destroys too much, you can reload the game
  • Water and food need to be placed in area of dinosaur visibilty, dinosaurs stick close to them
  • Build one extra feeder per 6-7 animals that eat from this type, otherwise, they will starve
  • Try building exhibits that are big enough to sustain your animals, but not too big, so it won't waste more space than needed
  • Do not waste your time on repairing manually anything that you don't have to (power stations and ranger stations only)
  • Do not make dinosaur fights, this is not only cruel but pointless, since you earn your reward (which is completing the challenge mode) faster just spamming herbivores
  • Avoid small carnivores at all cost, if you have to produce some carnivores, make it at the end of the challenge
  • As I mentioned before, I needed to have enough species to finish the challenge
  • All (except transport) ratings need to be above 80% for 5 stars
  • You need 5 stars both in dinosaurs and facility

That is all what you need, I believe. If you think you can add something to this, please do it. If you disagree with something, feel free to share your opinion. I used an hour of my time to write it down and played over 700 hours of this game (695 online and some offline too), so please don't be harsh on me. I believe new players will get something from my petty guide ;)

PS: I believe there are faster ways of completing the challenge, yet, I would say this is the easiest and safest way.


Mr. Toad
Response: Thank you! I realized I posted in wrong category too late, it was half past midnight in my country (Poland) and I was very tired already. Sorry for trouble. In the future, I want to do something similar for Planet Zoo if there will be any hard mode and perhaps some streaming (English language) when my Internet connection gets better, cause for now, it is a miracle if I can play any multiplayer game without getting disconnected every 5 seconds. Anyway, thank you for responding and I hope someone will benefit on what I did here.

Update 1.1 of this guide:

Do not sell fossils until you get 100% genome if you want that genome. There is still a bug where you deplete the fossils and do not get 100% DNA if you sold too much.
I will check this week ratings of new dinos and tell you are they good to have in challenge mode or are they "waste of space and money". For now, I was bit disappointed in Nasutoceratops rating (but I love the dino anyway and will surely use it on my campaign mode!) and I surely hope Dryosaurus doesn't have the bug it had in JPOG (it could not eat anyway, so it died of hunger very fast) ;)
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