Let’s be real: we play simulation games because they make us feel like we’re in control. Why else would anyone like Hay Day? It’s not because we all have a passion for livestock. It’s because we’re given almost Napoleonic control over a couple of fields and a barn full of smelly pixelated animals. And that power is intoxicating. We want more. We want households full of incestuous Sims. We want zoos in which we can plunge thousands of guests and fauna into environmental chaos simply by deleting the chain-link fences that separate them. We want whole cities made of poorly laid residential and commercial zones that rise and fall by the click of our trackpads.
But it’s still not enough. Let’s stop screwing around with all this low-level management stuff. Crytivo Games is finally cutting the crap and giving you the godlike powers you’ve always wanted with The Universim, a complex interstellar simulator that puts you at the helm of creation itself. But even with a whole universe at our disposal, we’re just barely scratching the surface of The Universim’s possibilities, and Crytivo isn’t even done unveiling new features. After crushing Greenlight and destroying Kickstarter, they are still accepting funds through their website to reach further stretch goals. You can still get in line for the closed alpha launch in September by pledging $40. Take a look:
Every god has to start somewhere. Right off the bat, The Universim gives you a hunk of rocks, minerals, and gases in the form of a planet. This lump of mass would be otherwise insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe, did it not contain all the cosmic elements necessary for supporting life. “Nuggets,” a humanoid species, rise above the rest in the evolutionary race to the top of the food chain. Having opposable thumbs probably gave them an edge. Despite cookie cutter whiteness all over the promo images, the devs assured me that their game about the rise of a pseudo-humanity will actually have some racial diversity, so don’t take your vanilla LACTAID just yet.
The well-being of the Nuggets is your chief concern. Guide them through each era, starting with the barbaric Stone Age and striving for the shiny sci-fi Space Age. Research new technology to advance your Nuggets and give them a better shot at long-term survival.
Just don’t get too caught up in the allure of indoor plumbing and robotic vacuum cleaners. Give your Nuggets the basics first, like fire and maybe clothes, if you’re feeling generous. A coherent language might be useful too, if you want them to communicate effectively and establish family units.
As your Nuggets adapt, they’ll learn the importance of the buddy system and start banding together, establishing cities around Epicenters that serve as central hubs of production and advancement. Give your Nuggets some purpose by putting them to work, using up stamina to supply the city with goods and services.
Nuggets at different stages of their life will work at varying levels of efficiency. Women, for example, will still work when they’re pregnant, just at a slower pace. “Women are badasses like that,” Crytivo Games writes on The Universim’s official site. “They don’t merely allow any old thing, like, you know, the creation of life inside them, get them down.”
As a god, of course, you can push your Nuggets to work harder, but sometimes you can push too hard and ruin your relationship with them. Or they might die. Being a parent to a whole civilization is so hard.
Especially when your kids start fighting. When the universe isn’t throwing natural disasters your way, you might have to deal with some local drama between cities that could potentially escalate into an all-out war. Should you intervene? Will you let only the strongest survive? Are you going to put out that fire? It’s all in your hands. Create or destroy. Raise up or raze down. Make peace or launch a galactic conquest against dozens of systems across the stars. Your choice.
Oh, didn’t I mention that the endgame is a galactic empire? Once your rockets break out of their atmospheric prisons, you can prep and send away missions off to do your bidding. Just like the Nugget homeworld, every planet is procedurely generated, meaning no two are alike. They all contain valuable resources and the potential for colonization though, so they’re worth the risk. Just be ready for game-changers like nearby supernovas or less than friendly locals.
To handle all the dynamic changes and challenges, Crytivo built the Prometheus In-Game Engine using Unity3D. With changing seasons, environmental processes, and dynamic natural disasters, each of your unique worlds feels like a living, breathing canvas on which to paint an epic Nugget history.
The Universim is currently confirmed for PC, Mac, and Linux, with other platforms to be considered after the official launch. The game has an Alpha version planned to drop next month, with an official release date to be announced . . . sometime in the future.