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XBOX 360 XBLIG Review: Solar

SOLAR

Available Platforms

Xbox 360

Reviewed Platforms

Xbox 360

Pros

Unique Gameplay
Black Holes

Cons

Short

Price

MSPĀ 80

Purchase Recommendation

Buy

Gameplay

Innovation is a rare commodity in games today. I like to think this is because of the sheer volume of games out there that most ideas have been attempted in some form or another at this point. Then again, maybe I'm just naive and developers are just lazy. That would explain why there are more Mario Party games than the number of people living in the state of Nebraska.

Solar is a game that embraces innovation and spits in the face of convention. In Solar, you are a star. You fly around the universe exploring and doing whatever your heart desires. You can take some planets into orbit, grow them until they can support life and wage war on enemy planets. Or you could fly around smashing asteroids. Or you could absorb enough mass to become a black hole and suck down the entire universe. The spirit of Solar is that you're a friggin star and the universe is your oyster, more or less.


Stephen Hawking must love this game.

Solar starts off with a quick tutorial. Flying close to planets will bring them into your orbit. Bring your planets close to asteroids to give your planets moons. You can have your planets absorb moons to grow bigger, and you in turn can absorb your planets to increase your mass. Smashing into things decreases your mass. This isn't just a space version of Katamari Damacy though. The goal is not just to gain mass; the goal is to do whatever you want to do. There is no scoreboard, no lives or continues. There are a series of challenges to complete to give you a little direction. However, beating these challenges just unlocks the ability to mess around with the settings for the universe. Do you think I turned on pinball mode, put gravity on reverse, and tore around through the universe bouncing everything in sight? Damn right I did!

Solar is a peaceful and enjoyable experience. I found flying round building my own little solar system a very cathartic activity. I think we all have a bit of a God complex and let me tell you controlling celestial bodies assuages it nicely. So much of my gaming experience these days consists of hurling obscenities at 12 year olds as they corpse hump me into submission. Solar couldn't be any further at the other end of the spectrum. Solar is serene and not the least bit frustrating. Afterwards, I kind of wanted to hug someone and believe you me I am not the hugging type.

 

Visuals and Sound

The graphics are not extraordinary. There are blue circles, yellow circles, red circles, you name a color and there is probably a circle of that color at some point in the game. While the visuals are not stunning they do get the job done. The general space background of the universe is nice and sufficiently varied. The lack of major visual details also allows you to zoom much further out without really losing out on the aesthetics.

There are not many sound effects. Other than the sound of a collision or a spaceship firing tiny little lasers (pew pew) I can't think of any other sounds. The background music fits nicely, peaceful and soothing. Although to fully enjoy the Solar experience, I do recommend playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" at some point while playing.


Look at all those circles.

Final Verdict

Solar is by no means perfect. The challenges are quickly beaten, and you soon run out of things to do. However, it is a gem of an experience and completely different than everything else you will be playing this year. At just a buck, it's well worth it. I always wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid until one of my teachers told me you couldn't be an astronaut if you had any cavities. Luckily, you can still play Solar with cavities.

 

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Nice stuff

Nice post, i really enjoyed by reading, great informations, and looks very nice review too, thanks for sharing!Ana from: Mass gain

Well, the game play sounds

Well, the game play sounds excellent to me. And as the graphics is an excellent one in Xbox, I think it will be more like an experience than a game. The game is indeed a small one, but would be a great experience for the children of age below 15.  house cleaning companies

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