Day 500: Solar 2

Posted: 2012/03/24 in Indie Games

Today marks 500 days of consecutive Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) reviews/recommendations. I’m blown away that I’ve made it this far, to be honest. To commemorate, I’ve decided to review “Solar 2”, the sequel to one of the very first XBLIGs I ever purchased, “Solar”. If you haven’t played the original, it’s dropped to 80 Microsoft Points now. If you’re open to the improved sequel, it’s 400 Microsoft Points with literally unlimited gameplay (thanks to a procedurally generated universe of unlimited size).

The original game had you flying around, collecting satellites (ie. moons), growing in size, fighting other planets/stars, and more. The sequel has an expanded set of missions to complete, to offer optional structure to the game should the sandbox gameplay be a little too open-ended for you. The progression of the sequel has been greatly expanded, whether playing pure sandbox or the missions. You now start as a small space rock, grow through colliding with smaller space rocks at speed, become a planet, then get space rocks orbiting you (which you can then add to your bulk, or keep as a rock weapon to use against other planets), and then finally become a sun. Once you grow to planet size, life develops on your planet and, properly nurtured, that life will eventually become sentient and send ships into space. These beings have a vested interest in the success of your planets and will defend you against threats (asteroid fields, life from threatening planets, etc.). It adds an intriguing new element to an already great game.

Solar is unmissable, and I’d recommend the improved sequel. This game easily justifies its 400 MSP price, but at the very least you ought to buy the previous game at an absolute minimum. It’s not like anything else available in the indie games channel.

Here’s what the developer (Murudai) has to say about the game:

“In most games you see stars in the background, you shoot asteroids or you live on planets. But in Solar 2 you ARE these objects! Enter a universe where you must prove yourself to the resident god-like figure by doing its many bizarre and varied tasks. Or just ignore it and see how big you can grow! The massive sequel to “Solar”.”

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