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Solar 2 Mini Review

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As I promised, I would start doing mini-reviews until I can find another game that warrants a full review, or if there's enough community pushing for me to start publishing my work.

This time, I'm reviewing Solar 2, a relatively cheap (10$) game with an interesting twist.

Overview: Solar 2 can't really be defined in my normal review format because it's rather unique. Most space-based games have you whizzing through space in a space ship or fighting on planets for territory. Solar 2 is unique in that you ARE the universe. YOU are the asteroids, the planets, the stars, and yes, the black holes. You start off as a humble Asteroid, are guided briefly by "The Entity" before he offers you two choices: complete some of his missions, or just do what you want and see how big you can grow. Oh, and everything has mass and gravity. If you have a high mass, you have high inertia, making it harder for you to change directions. Likewise, a high mass star tends to drag light mass asteroids into itself.

Gameplay: Solar 2 offers two possible ways to play: a sandbox type play where you set your own agenda, or follow the Entity's missions to figure out just who or what it is. The sandbox type of play can be quite enjoyable. If you're looking for something to kill time or something that doesn't require you to be hopped up on adrenaline, collecting asteroids or planets around your star and planets are things you can do. If you want to grow bigger, all you have to do is "absorb" the asteroids and planets you've acquired; often, this means obliterating a planet that was teeming with life. Life is something you don't control, along with other stars and life planets that you don't control. Life forms when your planet has enough mass, and it does whatever it likes. If the Life encounters other life, it'll start attacking it; this sometimes leads to full scale wars between several life planets.

The more interesting part of the game is the missions. For a game that costs only 10 dollars, the missions are quite varied, and entertaining when narrated by The Entity. The missions can vary from the ridiculous (As an asteroid, trying to dodge 40 missiles launched at you), to the complex (changing the orbital rotation of 6 planets around a star, without destroying said planets). Of course, the purpose of these missions is to find out what "The Entity" is, which I of course can't tell you.

Graphics: Because the game is so simple at its core, there was some extra attention put towards graphics. The background of space is, unfortunately, a repeating pallet of green nebulae and background stars. I was hoping for dark dust lanes set in blue nebulae, or the ever-spectacular Pillars of Life being depicted. However, all you'll get are a repeating set of green nebulae. However, everything else looks perfectly crisp, just as space is. The game wasn't very demanding on even my laptop, and it still looked nice. Planets are like gumballs in that they can come in any variety of colors and landscapes. Stars are less variable, but it's still visually impressive to see 10 stars gravitationally locked together with a couple planets orbiting. Yes, 10 stars. Since this part wasn't very clear, I'll just sum it up: the visuals are very crisp and look great against the dark backdrop of the universe.

Sound: Well, space doesn't have very many sounds. Fortunately for the gamers, sounds were included. From the pew-pew of Life's lasers to the sound of a high mass star rocketing through the universe, they all sound appropriate.

Atmosphere: Yes, atmosphere is being considered a category for the purpose of this review. The Entity actually provides most of the atmosphere for the game. Without The Entity, the game can seem pretty dull. The Entity is actually a pretty snarky being. It often takes pleasure in seeing you destroyed, or throwing things such as stars at you. Some of the missions (and the resulting post-mission comment from The Entity) made me laugh.

Overall: If you love casual games, this can be a fair use of 10 dollars. To a hardcore gamer Solar 2 probably doesn't offer too much, but if you're just looking for something to do while you're relaxing, it provides you everything you could want to spend time peacefully.

I do plan to do more of these. Also, these will be pretty casual reviews. If you guys WANT these to be full-length reviews, I can gladly do so. I can re-write these, make them more professional, add pictures, and publish them on TPG; all you have to do is say so.

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