a game of universal proportions on an handheld

04/01/2013


[rating:3.5]
The title that’s taking up the bulk of my play time this weekend is quite a novelty, Solar 2.
I’d never heard of the prequel, and only stumbled across this game by accident. I wish I had it last week for beach time.

This game is based on physics, first you begin as a lump of rock floating in space, an asteroid. By slamming into surrounding rocks your rock gains mass, until you make it to planet size.

Once you’ve achieved planet status your goal is then to attract asteroids into your orbit. Rotating rocks can then be absorbed into your planet, increasing its mass. Of however the comets fly into your planet, you lose mass… See how this could be fun? But it’s just the start!

Planets then evoke evolution. Remember this is on a galactic scale, so within a minute or two you have tiny space ships whizzing around the surrounding space, and your planet develops shields with missile defences. Other planets compete for the asteroid clusters, and enter stage left stars.

Once your planet has achieved a large enough mass from rock absorption you make the next galactic step to a sun. As before you collected asteroids now you collect planets.

Sweeping your sun by planets drops them into orbit. The planets continue to grow as they did before, and the star grows by dragging planets out of orbit into them. Missed planets crashing into your star reduce its mass, but as the growth continues your star progresses from small, medium, large, then grows in mass to neutron stars and finally black holes.

So you build up a planetary system, revolving around your sun, but space is not empty! Other solar systems are traveling around space, looking to survive and evolve, as well as aliens that are trying to destroy your creation.

Your sun has shields, like your planets, take to many hits, crash into top many galactic bodies and your sun explodes, to be quickly re born again. You can save at any time, taking a snapshot of your system, plus you can quickly start a session with any of the stars evolutions that you’ve played with.

And then there are missions, to add depth and longevity. If you choose you can set off around the universe finding and protecting planets, or destroying stars.

Controlling your space mass is quite intuitive, with a great use of the touchscreen. I’ve been playing on a N7, so not sure of how this will work on a smaller screen for a couple of reasons. First, some subtle deft manoeuvres are needed at times, and then on a galactic scale asteroids are not big objects.

The BGM is fantastic, mindful of 2001 a space odyssey. As we were told in Aliens, ‘in space no one can hear you scream’, but as even in the StarWars, a few sound effects to accentuate the moment doesn’t spoil the mood.

Other apps on my Nexus 7 are not getting much play time, and I can’t see the novelty wearing off any time soon… Wonder if there’ll be a Solar 3

Note: I wrote this draft on my N7 with swype, how the world has changed eh?

1 people reacted on this

  1. I’ve found the home page of the single developer who created Solar 2.
    The game is available on every platform, from linux, xbox, to windows & macs!
    For 10 bucks you can acquire a DRM free copy, support Jay Watts & check out his homepage: http://murudai.com/solar/

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