Humble Bundle with Android 5 ReviewGuest_Jim_* - March 10, 2013
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Solar 2 Review:
A game where I get to start as an asteroid and gradually build myself up to a black hole… I'm in! That is only part of the game though. The other part is completing tasks and challenges for the "god" that also gives you the tutorial messages.
Solar 2 exists somewhere near a casual and simulation game, though it is a little hard to say it is either simply because of the action involved. However, you would not call this a flat out action game. If you do not pay attention, you risk being destroyed by random asteroids, planets, stars, marauding aliens, and maybe even a black hole.
Part of paying attention is finding the mass to grow. As an asteroid, you grow by striking other asteroids until you reach planet size. At this point, collisions actually cause you to lose mass, so instead you want to catch asteroids in your orbit, and engulf them. This mechanic itself is actually not that complicated, but is not easy on a smartphone screen. You need to be able to see where you are at all times and where the asteroid is, but with the small smartphone screen that your fingers have to partially cover to control your character, it can be very difficult. Basically, you will wish you could zoom in to better see yourself, but you do not have the ability to do so, and if you did you risk losing the ability to see an incoming threat.
(Android on the left. PC on the right.)
On the PC though the directional controls of the arrow keys or WASD keys work quite well and give you decent control. I can believe that a tablet would be a better medium for the Android version, but as I do not have a tablet to run Solar 2 on, I cannot positively comment. Before I forget though, there are two ways to control yourself in the Android version: virtual joystick and point/drag.
The PC version also has useful options such as the ability to display orbits and the velocity vectors of everything on the screen. If these are available in the Android version, I could not find how to turn them on. As it is, the controls for displaying them on the PC are not listed with the other controls.
From what I can tell, there is no way to save the complete game, but you are able to save yourself and the system you are in. If you are a large star with four planets and two have evolved life, you can save that state and return to it whenever you want. The open-universe you occupy will be different though.
The graphics are not stellar, but they serve their purpose. On an Android phone, you will not notice any issue because of how small everything is. On a computer screen it may look a little blurry, like the textures are for a slightly lower resolution.
The music is atmospheric and almost qualifies as relaxation music in my opinion. There are too many sudden beats and such to really call it relaxing to me. It does fit the game very well though, with a sense of vast emptiness in the score. Also its tempo occasionally picks up, which is perfect considering how the action of the game can pick up and require your attention.
Will you get entrapped by Solar 2 if you buy the bundle? Maybe. It really depends on the kind of games you like. If you like somewhat casual games like this, you will probably find yourself putting hours into it. For the other gamers out there, if you get the bundle, you can delay playing this game. It is interesting and fun, but does not really grab you. Also, unless you have a tablet or other large-screen Android device, I would recommend leaving it on your PC. Give it a shot on your phone, but that is not where it shines.