Originally posted at http://endoflevelboss.org/
I finished Darwinia for the first time the other night. I've been thinking about what to write about it since then.
In many ways Uplink is the kind of game you expect from "the last of the bedroom programmers" (which is how Introversion describe themselves, being 3 guys in a bedroom writing games). Uplink is a game with a fairly simple 2D interface in which the player assumes the role of a hacker and must complete missions to increase his rank and upgrade his equipment. While the game was excellent I was very aware that this game felt like a budget game. The gameplay never suffered, but if someone told you that 3 guys programmed it you wouldn't be entirely surprised.
Darwinia is a world away from Uplink. Firstly, it looks beautiful. The world in which the game is set exists inside a network of "Protologic 68000" computers. Dr. Sepulveda has toiled for generations to produce an artificial world inhabited by the Darwinians, populated by wireframe landscapes and fractal trees. The Darwinians are innocent little green sprites, who are threatened when a virus begins spreading in their world, destroying Dr. Sepulveda's work and with it the Darwinians.
So it's your job to make use of what little offensive tools Dr. Sepulveda has, defend the Darwinians from the virus and slowly take back Darwinia. The game plays a lot like Cannon Fodder or Syndicate, and it has the feeling of an "old school" game as you guide a squad around a level, blasting bad guys.
The style of the game is unique, as you would expect from such a small team of developers, but it is so well designed and implemented that it easily stands up against any big-budget title on the shelves at the moment. The game has just been released on Steam (unfortunately, those who've previously purchased the game won't be able to register their product on Steam) which hopefully means it will be able to compete more fairly with other titles worldwide.
Overall this has been one of my favourite games of recent times, and I can't wait to see what's going to come out of Introversion in the future!