Darwinia+ is a game like any other on XBLA, it’s uniqueness alone warrants a look, however the game has more to it than an interesting concept, the gameplay is a fun combination of action, and strategy.
In 2005 Darwinia was first released and got a lot of attention partially due to the fact the game was a well received independent game. Now the developers bring the orginal Darwinia in a more stream lined fashion to XBLA and even brought with a multiplayer mode. Darwinia’s story follows the darwinians a tribe of simple minded computer programs that live in the virtual world, one day virusus attack the virtual world and it’s now up to the player to save the darwinians.
The main mode of gameplay comes with the three units that the player has control over. The squad unit are the soliders of darwinia and are your main tools to fighting the virusus, this part of the game acts much like a arcade style shooter not found in many strategy games. The second unit are the engineers who are sort of the workers, these units can build and capture structures. The third units are the darwinins themselves however the player doesn’t have direct control over them, instead a leader will direct them and give them orders on what to do and the darwinins will follow there orders.
The game is lengthy and provides a variety of scenarios and objectives the player has to get through, the in this respect is challenging especially during the more difficult levels. However as a total package the game is worth the price on length alone, especially when considering the extra content that was bundled with the game.
The sound in Darwinia+ is a good mixture of techno and electronica, the sounds of darwinia fit right in with it’s mood and setting. Sound effects are nice but are somewhat generic, all the blaster shots other sounds are like what you expect in a virtual computer esque setting.
The graphics are purposly old-school wireframe so the game has a very retro feel to it, people who are into this sort of setting will enjoy it however for a lot of gamers they could see the graphics as bland and stipped down. The game is definitly not trying to impress anyone with graphical horsepowers, unfortunally its not the most artistic game either since it’s all just computer wireframes.
Multiwinia as the name suggests brings the gameplay into multiplayer, players will be able to battle other players for control of the map in game modes King of the Hill, and Domination. Although this mode won’t appeal to everyone who buys Darwinia+, it does add more replay value to those who do really enjoy Darwinia’s gameplay.
Overall Darwinia+ is solid title for an XBLA game, at $15 it’s on the high end side of price but being that the game was once a full PC game the price is worth it. The game is a fun strategy experience and one that is fairly unique, if the idea of blasting virusus in a virtual world your idea of fun then Darwinia+ is defniitly worth a look.