Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Whatever happened to virtual reality? Weren't we all meant to be living our lives through giant headsets and wandering dreamily through polygon-filled worlds?
Well, while we're waiting for technology to adequately catch up with the digital dream, the nearest thing we're going to get to that which doesn't involve getting tangled in wires and throwing up, is Introversion Software's Darwinia.
Brought to you by the last of the bedroom coders and the guys behind Uplink, Darwinia is a virtual world that looks like a cross between Tron and a Jean Michel Jarre concert. The story goes that this little virtual playground of fractal vistas was the brainchild of one Dr Sepulveda who hoped to recreate the wonders of evolution. He populated this world with little green 2D Darwinians, sprites who wandered peacefully through its craggy valleys and mountains.
But real evolution ain't pretty and no pastoral existence can go on for ever. Sadly for the Darwinians, the end of their little utopia was brought about by the sudden invasion of the viruses. First there were just a few, snaking their way down from the polygon peaks. Then their numbers grew and started to spread across the land, destroying all in their path. Here and there new creatures began to spawn from the wriggling red mass; creatures even more deadly, that would consume the little Darwinians and swell to even greater sizes.
Talking 'Bout A Revolution
Luckily, ever since the first caveman thought Hey, I wonder what happens if I bang these two rocks together?' nature likes to give the little guy a fighting chance. And so your given task is to spearhead the Darwinian revolution. You are going to help them rebuild their broken machines and derelict buildings, and help them fight back.
As the Darwinians' new leader, you're going to have to master some basic commands to create and control your minions and troops. All of these are executed through Black & Wh/te-style mouse gestures. These allow you to create engineers to help repair buildings, commanders to help herd the Darwinians in the right direction and armed squads to repel the ongoing virus attacks. If the children of the virus get too overwhelming, you may even have to call in air-strikes from some very Space Invadery-looking airborne vehicles.
There's a beautifully retro look to Darwinian - appearing rather like how 20 years ago we all predicted games were going to look in the future. And the fact that it's essentially been put together by four guys in their bedrooms on the profits from the last low-budget game they made, gives us that lovely stick it to the man' feeling. It looks strange, but it's an offering bereft of the publishing fluff and conveyor belt mentality that plagues gamers today - and it's bloody addictive to boot. Keep an eye out for it.