The Plan

Not really a game, more an interactive experience.  Beautiful for that but feels like it should be as a part of something else.  Professional finish.

An interesting story from the developers on steam: link.

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Kittens

A link to the game: here.

This is somewhat amazing, but more amazing is the community outpour it’s generated. Surprising kitten civilizations etc which span over months, if not years, of simply letting this game run in the background with good harvesting tactics.

I was entertained for several hours. The initial efficiency curve is hard, then suddenly things begin to stabilise. But improving your efficiency (speed of mastering new things and becoming more than an agrarian fledgling civilisation) requires growing your population, which then increases risk of death and failure again — those kittens are hungry in winter. Another long 10-20 min struggle to stabilise again, then the pace begins to chafe; you spawn another kitten, and the struggle begins again.

What I found really fascinating about this is how this text based version of a civilisation development game recast the more graphical Civ and Sim games in a new light. I used to play those all the time without ever really being conscious of time or resource accrual – because it was turn based, not a literal counting down of seconds.

In the end my impatience and anxiety (everything has a counter!) made a bad combination for pushing through with this game much beyond the discovery and farming of unicorns, but it was definitely worth the memories.

Mountain

Not for me.

Passive gaming.  Start the window and watch it run.  The so called whimsical delights that other gamers keep raving about jarred me with their decontextualisation.  How did they get there across space?  What logarithm governs their appearance?  Someone wrote a review which posited the random crap pummelling your mountain out of existence was a metaphor for what people are doing to the earth now. Come on.

I would have enjoyed it more if it followed a randomised evolutionary cycle — start with a rock, a comet of ice shatters on it and creates water/atmosphere.  Algae grow.  Is it a water world, is it an alpine world, does it evolve dinosaurs which never die out, does every organism have a trigger point somewhere in their evolutionary cycle for the development of sapience and civilisation, so the game is really about hoping a randomised comet doesn’t kill off the evolving animals before interesting things really start to happen.  Can ALIENS land and colonise.  And so on.

I was attracted by the concept of just watching a mountain experience events, but I wanted a different game.