Day 147: Relativity

Posted: 2011/04/05 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #147, and today’s game is “Relativity”.

Imagine a game like Populous, paired up with the entirely optional education elements of Sid Meier’s classic “Civilisation”, and the nerdy science fiction in-jokes of TV show “Big Bang Theory”, and you’re well on your way to visualising Relativity. Add in the ability to develop technologies like Civilisation, and you have an amazing strategy game that’s easily worth the 400 Microsoft Point cost of entry.

First, from the developer (PurpleGames):

“Relativity is available now on Xbox live indie games!
http://www.RelativityGame.co.uk

Relativity is a god-type strategy/action game, set in a universe which obeys Einsteins theories of relativity!

DON’T PANIC

While Relativity uses some pretty crazy physics concepts you really don’t need to understand them to play this game. Hopefully some physics will rub off as you are playing the game and you will suddenly start impressing* your friends in the pub** with phrases like “space/time continuum” and “time dilation”.

Go on give it a try. You know its the right thing to do!

* Please Note: Actual level of impressed may vary. Relativity is not responsible for any lack of impression that may occur.

** If you are American, read coffee bar. Its just like being in Friends over there, right?”

The game takes place on a map that represents the universe around you, exploring galaxies, colonising planets, and finding other races that don’t always appreciate you moving in to their neighbourhood. The game is highly configurable, with the ability to either directly pilot ships, or to give them artificial intelligence. AI ships can be figured with offence, defence, or patrol programmes as per your needs. This allows it to be more action-oriented, or more strategy-oriented, and is a nice (and unusual) touch for a strategy game. This broadens the game’s appeal significantly, IMO, as you can focus on playing it like a twin-stick shooter, or like a pure strategy game, or even somewhere in between.

The more planets your stellar empire has, and the greater their populations, the more ships they can build for you and the more technologies they can research, so more is better, right? Well, the bigger your galaxy-spanning commonwealth of planets becomes, the more challenging it can be to defend and the more potentially hostile races you run into, so finding the “sweet spot” in the size of your noble federation is the key.

This game has replay value to spare, and has some impressive technologies near the end of its tech tree that actually let you manipulate time and space in ways that can be nearly as dangerous to you as to your enemy if you don’t manage the collateral damage. But since when was war ever pretty? This game went through a rare price increase at some point, from 240 MSP to 400, but it’s polished enough to justify it. I can think of a lot of 400+ XBLA games that I’d return in a heartbeat if I could have this instead.

Click here to download “Relativity”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.



Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? “Share This” and invite them to.

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