Darwinia Review: 5 Reasons to Buy

Darwinia screenshot

Darwinia Review: 5 Reasons to Buy

Darwinia is a strategy game with a good blend of combat action and some puzzle solving. This game was developed and published by Introversion Software in 2005 for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Xbox 360. Playing Darwinia is like being able to see inside the mind of a game programmer. It’s presented in a framework style, almost like a blueprint to demonstrate the gameplay. 

Darwinia Gameplay is Unique

Darwinia screenshot of world
A glimpse into the world of Darwinia.

Since the gameplay is unique there is no competition, so Darwinia doesn’t have to live up to any preconceived standards. It’s obvious that developers Introversion don’t have a huge budget, but they managed to create a minimalist masterpiece that any gamer with an imagination can appreciate. Darwinia is composed mainly of geometric shapes and symbols. There are some fully rendered, 3D environments and characters but most of the game looks like a cubist painting. It’s really cooled how the developers were able to create such a sense of atmosphere by understating the graphics. The storyline expels any notions of “low budget” as long as one takes it at face value.

Interesting Environments in Darwinia

Darwinia home screen
Home screen gives futuristic feels.

Somewhere in the digital realm live a race of digital creatures called Darwinians. They live in a virtual theme park called Darwinia which was all created by a computer scientist named Dr. Sepulveda. The Darwinians are a virtual-life program and as such they become more intelligent with each new generation. Unfortunately, some have begun to mutate and have turned into a deadly virus which now threatens the stable Darwinians’ very existence. These evil looking mutants come in the form of insects and viral clusters, to name a few. 

Fun Combat

Creatures in Darwinia
Prepare for combat with pixelating creatures.

To keep the doctor’s project and the Darwinians safe players must combat these creatures by shooting various weapons at them and outsmarting them on the virtual battlefields by using various computer programs devised by the good doctor. Enemies will be shooting lasers and rockets in addition to grenades. Using the mouse to aim, players will shoot back with weapons from their own arsenal. There is no auto targeting. The enemy can get very aggressive and quickly replenish themselves by laying eggs. Virtual battlefields by using various computer programs devised by the good doctor.

No Shortage of Interface Aid

Darwinia mine world
Mine a world to your preference in Darwinia.

The greatest weapon is the interface where players implement computer programs to aid them. At first, they can only store three of them but as players go, they can boost that number up. There are only a handful of programs to use, and players won’t be able to collect more or upgrade the ones they already have. Players have to work within their means. 

One program, for instance, turns a Darwinian into a commanding officer and automatically directs others close to him to follow a path that’s been laid out that will bring them to safety. It’s refreshing to have a restricted format where players are forced to use their brain instead of trying to unlock more and more powerful weapons.

Believable and Fun Scenarios

The good doctor will give advice on missions as well as explain the background of the critters and world that he’s created. It’s a totally believable scenario and players will actually form an attachment to these little green buggers. There are different missions in Darwinia that require different actions and reactions. They become more complex as the game progresses. Expect to get between 10 – 20 hours out of the game the first time through. It’s not loaded with replay value, but players will want to play it over at least once.

Departing Thoughts

Midi music at the beginning of each mission reinforces the retro style of the game. There are some sound effects during the missions including the sounds of weapons and the occasional squeals of dying Darwinians. The sound is sparse but not empty. Darwinia is unique and there is good fun to have here, make sure to get a copy before they’re gone. 

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