On your first time playing the game, you only have the option to play the default planet. There are three other planet options for you to choose from once you unlock the other planets: small, large and huge. To unlock the three planets' options, you must reach the modern era in the game, which will then allow you to choose from all four options the next time you start a game from scratch.
Next you have a few options to choose from (some of these will only be available once they’ve been unlocked): Nugget Traits, Natural Disasters, Wild Animal Attacks, Exile Aggression and Creator Point Regeneration (locked for now).
You only have one trait option for now for your first-generation Nuggets, but others will unlock and may or may not aid your Nuggets’ survival. For natural disasters and wild animal attacks you have three options of Never, Occasional and Often. Exile aggression options are Friendly, Neutral and Aggressive. Using these options can help you customise your game from a more casual game to a more demanding game. You can choose the colour of your Nugget’s skin and there is an option to play with tutorial.
After making your choices and starting a new game, you will be woken by the narrator welcoming you to the beginning of your story. Your story begins in the darkness of the void, but then the universe bursts into life. You travel through the universe until you reach what will become the Mother Planet for your creation, the Nuggets. The planet has its grasslands, forests, deserts and mountains regions and there are lakes and seas. Everything you need for your Nuggets to hopefully survive and thrive in this new world.
Your Nuggets will require your help if they are to survive and grow into a civilisation that will eventually take to the stars. You go over a couple of basics of the game but then you’ll be basically on your own. The first thing as Creator will be to place an Epicenter somewhere on your new planet. You’ll want to place your epicenter somewhere within easy access to the basic survival needs of food, water, wood and stone. So, whip around the planet a few times and find a good spot to lay your hat. This is where your first Nuggets – Adahy and Elu - will burst into life as the parents of your new civilisation.
To take your Nuggets forward you will have to unlock new technology through the Research Tree. Here there are technologies to help your Nuggets grow and expand. For now you only have research in the Stone Age, but there are three other ages where research will unlock: the Medieval, Modern and Space ages.
To begin with you will have to unlock a few things on the research tree to get you up and running, Primitive Tools, Water Wheel and Waterflow Study. Once you have these unlocked you will be able to start building. Each research item will take a specific amount of time, which is detailed on the research along with some information about the research and its benefits.
The Nuggets research tree progresses differently to what you might think; some technology will unlock sooner or later compared to the timeline of humans unlocking new technologies. However, the Nuggets aren’t humans so they have their own progression as they strive to become a civilisation that can take to the stars and beyond.
Adahy and Elu will start to build a place to live once you have unlocked the Primitive Tools and later generations of the pair will also build homes for themselves to live in. But for everything else, they will need your help. They will fetch the required resources, and later may have to collect them from the place they are produced or stored. So, you’ll have to think about the best spot to place your buildings, especially buildings that produce and store resources. You can help them move resources to the required locations of the current building; this is especially helpful if there is some distance between the resource and the building under construction.
Once you have unlocked a new building you can select that building from the construction screen. You can then place the building where you want it, and your Nuggets will start collecting the necessary resources for construction. However, the more buildings you place, the longer it may take for them to be built, especially if you don’t have enough labourers.
It doesn’t matter if you have all the research in the world and are able to build anything you want if you don’t have the Nuggets to do the work. You will gain new Nuggets through the natural course of biology - if you see the Do Not Disturb sign on a place that’s rocking, don’t come knocking. Shortly afterwards a new little Nugget will have joined your civiliastion.
Nuggets will pair off of their own accord, but you can give them a helping hand by matching them up with another Nugget. However, just be careful - I didn’t check whether someone was already taken, and the husband wasn’t happy with his missus running off with someone else. So, he called upon me to avenge his honour and wanted me to strike her down. As the benevolent god that I am I agreed to punish the cheating bint, so I tracked her down to smite her with my lightning bolt, but I missed as she whipped right. Because I am a Counter Strike Legend and all-round FPS God, I quickly flicked my aim to take another shot at her, but she darted away, and I missed again. I couldn’t believe it, but then I realised that I hadn’t missed, but I had hit a building instead, which was now just a pile of rubble. I had struck down a school with my lightning bolt. The horror of what I done hit me hard until I realised that no Nugget kids or their teachers had been killed; luckily, they were all working down in the mines digging for resources... phew, lucky me!!
Lightning is only one of your godly powers; you have others which can be used for helping, like Telekinesis (which can move Nuggets, dead bodies and resources about), Rejuvenate (which can heal your Nuggets and repair damaged buildings), Jolt of Joy (which will bring a smile to everyone’s boat race), Protective Dome (to protect your settlement from meteor strikes and other destructive forces), Le Cupidon (gives the gift of love and helps with baby-making when you need to increase your population) and Holy Ground (will bless the ground your Nuggets walk upon and thus they’ll love you and believe in you more).
But then you have the not-so-helpful ones - well at least not helpful to some, depending on how you use them. Telekinesis can be used to move Nuggets about, but it can also be used to kill Nuggets by dropping them from a great height, something I found out early on while I thought I was saving a kid from wolves. Along with the lightning you have Earthquake, Fire and Tornado, Meteor Strike. You can use these to keep your Nuggets in check or against your Nuggets’ rivals which will come a calling at some point in the future.
Without your Nuggets you’re not going to get anywhere, you need them to believe in you if they are to thrive and prosper. This will allow you to gain Creator points, which are required for you to use your godly powers; without them you’re up the creek without a paddle. So, keeping your Nuggets happy is a must, but try not to use your powers around them as it can scare them away from what they are doing, and the fear level will grow which will reduce their belief in you and thus lower your creator point accumulation.
As you unlock more on the research tree, you will eventually move from the Stone Age to the Medieval Age, followed by the Modern Age and Space Age. Your meagre start to your civilisation will now start to expand across the planet's surface. In the research tree there are a few options which will determine the course that your Nuggets will take.
Do you take the safe and clean route or the quick and dirty route to power your civiliastions growth? As you progress and expand the resources you collect and produce, it can influence the planet's ecosystem. Cutting down trees, drinking lakes and seas dry and spewing toxic pollutants into the atmosphere, or the over hunting of animals can send them extinct which can create problems for your Nuggets so, you’ll have to try and keep a balance between the planet and your own needs otherwise the planet will hit back.
You will also have to deal with other civilisations that will appear from time to time. Exiles, for example, who have lost faith in you and decided to start their own civilisation. They can be friendly, wanting to trade in goods and resources, but they can also attack your civilisation or use their own godly powers against you.
The ultimate goal is to reach the space age, build a rocket and take to the stars and colonise another planet, thus expanding your Nuggets throughout the universe.
The Universim is a fun and enjoyable game to play, although at first, I was a bit confused about how to play. The tutorial gets you started but then you are just left to do what you want to do. This was a bit annoying especially as when some event came up, I wasn’t sure how to do something because I either missed the prompt or just never saw it mentioned.
Like using the god powers - I would pick a god power such as Rejuvenate and try to use it on a building or Nugget, but nothing would happen. It seemed so easy, but what was I missing? I would select the god power from the scroll wheel then click on my target and that should have been it. Simple, right? Nope - it never worked. This would go on for a while and as such I did fail a few of the early events which popped up. However, I later figured out you must hold CRTL to perform the selected god power.
For the most part I haven’t had any issues with the game, although there was one really annoying thing which drove me mad. And that was when something wasn’t working right, such as there was no water in the reservoirs, or no power reaching your buildings. You would get a “DING” message for each failure across your settlement. I would have this message constantly going off until the problem was sorted out. Sometimes it was impossible to sort out right away, as I had no creator points, but I needed water or power, so the only way to stop the infernal constant dinging every second reminding me that there was a problem was to sacrifice my Nuggets so I could gain some creator points. But that created problems of its own.
I had no issue sacrificing my Nuggets, but I didn’t need to be reminded constantly that I had a problem, with “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” “DING” messages. It made me so mad I could have crushed a grape! Luckily I’m not the unhinged type, so the grape was saved.
I did play the game just before final release and as such I lost my old game play. Although it does say that you can go back to an older version by selecting the beta version prior to final release. However, this didn’t seem to work for me, which isn’t a big problem as I had just started a new game. I would have liked to have continued my game as I was halfway through the modern age at the time.
I also had a few achievement problems prior to the final release where they would not unlock, however, they seem to have been sorted now and I have since unlocked the achievements.
Other than that, I haven’t had any problems with the game and have thoroughly enjoyed playing The Universim. The graphics are good, I like the narrator. I know I’ve still got a lot of learning to do, as I’m not the best at these types of games, but I found once I started to get the hang of the game, I couldn’t put it down and a few hours would just disappear.
Review written by Piston Smashed™ for Zeepond.com
Positives+ Enjoyable game
+ Good graphics
+ Funny at times
+ Has achievements
+ Has cards
Negatives- Annoying reminder messages at times
- Not always clear what to do early on
As God, steer your new creation - the Nuggets - from a solitary pair to a thriving technological civilization, as they spread across the planet and eventually take to the stars and new planets in The Universim.
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Zeepond Rating: 8/10
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