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‘The Universim’ – Let’s Play God All Over Again



There’s been a lot of God games in recent years. Peter Molyneux’s Godus is perhaps one of the most known attempts at this style of game. Godus had a lot of great ideas, but its final delivery was maybe less than the goliath expectations that came with it. The Universim, developed by Crytivo Games and funded by a Kickstarter campaign, has a fresh new approach to the deity sim and has shown a lot of potential while it still remains in Alpha.

The Universim started its Kickstarter campaign back in 2014, so has been around for a while. It has maintained a strong following of fans since then with over 11,000 backers on its Kickstarter fund alone. It was only released on Steam in Alpha this month, and quite literally remains in the Stone Age (the final game will allow you to develop through the ages until your followers are space-faring). The hype is for good reason, the game is on the right track to developing into an enjoyable experience.

One of the first notable aspects about The Universim is its adorable animation and textures. The Nuggets (the human-like creatures that follow you) have a lot of personality and have a cute naivety to them. The oceans and lakes have a beautiful texture, with wind waves on the coasts, and fish and whales among the depths. The climate has an important function in the game and is shown in gorgeous animations. The thunderstorms, for example, have a particularly pretty animation where the rain crashes against your screen. Tsunamis and other climate disasters are set to also feature in a future update, bringing new ways for your Nuggets to respond to the world. The attention to detail should be much appreciated, with even the trees responding to the wind in this Alpha version 0.0.11. Hopefully, the animation will only become more adorable as the game gets updated.


Much of the gameplay is similar to that of Godus, in which you build buildings to help the civilisation thrive. However, there are crucial differences. Godus had a lot of onus on its terrain manipulation. The Universim doesn’t need this. The idea behind The Universim is to have your Nuggets colonise other planets in the future. A terrain manipulation would make all planets have a very similar feel to them as you could manipulate them to behave in the same way. The challenge of a new planet should be the challenge of the new planet’s personality. The Universim has a lot of personality already in its early stages, and a development away from that would be unfortunate. Also, The Universim focuses a lot on the climate conditions; your population won’t thrive in particularly barren, dry areas. Choosing the right starting area becomes a decision of most importance, and can really affect the rest of the game.

Whilst the Stone Age is the only playable stage in the game as of yet, it’s been nothing short of a miracle to see so much emphasise on this Age. Other games of similar style seem to enjoy skipping past the first few stages as quickly as possible, to develop to the more diverse stages of the game. Spore had this problem, it wanted you to get to the civilisation era not soon after you started playing. The Universim has so far made the Stone Age diverse in itself, with many important developments within that stage. The placement of your epicentre is crucial; near water and resources. Lots of different buildings such as a fishing hut, cemeteries and wells also feature in the Stone Age. Buildings will develop in different ways depending on where they’re placed. The development of buildings will be hindered if they are placed in deserts, cold environments, and other inhospitable areas. The game evolves from your choices in the Stone Age, and will make and break your civilisation.


The rather incestuous beginnings of the game are set to evolve into new features that are later to be added in the upcoming Ages. Wars between different clans and tribes are likely to happen within your population, and it will be your choice as the God to intervene. The challenges these interventions create are likely to become more complex as the game develops, and they will either help or hinder your population’s ambitions into the skies. Research plays a crucial role in the game. The population must grow technologically, even from the start, to survive wild animal attacks and cure deadly viruses. There is, therefore, a lot of diversity expected for the game, adding to the hype around it.

The crucial question that arises is how does it compare to similar games of the past? It’s already much prettier than Godus, and the gameplay is set to be a much better challenge than it. Peter Molyneux’s other God game, Populous, the first God game, is usually the standard that is set for such a game. Populous was highly original at the time and is one of the most influential games in history. It would be unfair to compare The Universim to Populous at this stage in its development, and the games are already shaping up to be quite different. It would be more reasonable to judge the game on its own merit at this time, and for that, it deserves high appraise for its beautiful and elegant animation design. The Universim is, therefore, a game to keep on the radar, and should you wish to play the game in Alpha, it’s available on Steam.

To get a good feel to the game, I recommend this video by Youtuber Drew Durnil:

Lost his ticket on the 'Number 9' Luxury Express Train to the Ninth Underworld. Has been left to write articles and reviews about games to write off his debt until the 'powers that be' feel it is sufficiently paid.