*Disclaimer* At the point of writing this, it is an early access game, subject to change when fully release.
I did not plan on reviewing anything from my collection that was an early release since I know the risks of them never being finished. That said, I ended up playing this game for over 12 hours before I even realized it. Since most games can't hold my interest that long that is in a 'finish state', I figured this was worth a review.
High level, you start this game on a planet that is yours. You start with your little nuggets. You have to slowly guide your nuggets along with a helping hand for research and such. Immediately, I am drawn into the intro video and the narrator's voice. So much, in fact, I had to research who it was. Turns out it is Michael Schwalbe, and he has done a few games. The narrator is along with you for the ride as your trusted adviser. There is a lot of humor built into the game. The humor is a little on the sarcastic, even passive-aggressive side at some points, so this could be annoying for some. There is a mute option, but I love it. I have a very sarcastic sense of humor myself. Outside of the narrator, there is a lot of humor with updates and alerts you get from your nuggets.
Researching enough of an era brings you to a major decision point in your research where you can only pick one item. This will control the direction of your civilization, like what kind of energy you can produce. Chose wisely, or save before if you want to change your mind.
Besides picking the research, you do have to also pick what is built, who is working it, and try to influence your society to be more science, industry, or religious base. Each having a different level of control when it comes to the amount of power you earn to do your fun godly abilities, like making people happy or striking them with lighting. You know, the fun stuff. The one thing you can't control is where they build their houses, and they suck at picking good spots if you are someone that likes really organized cities.
Some of your nuggets may go off and start their colonies, you can no longer control them, but you can reward or punish them. Naturally, some are friendly, some are not. Trade is largely requested or demanded from the other colonies. There are also other dangers like natural disasters or packs of wild animals. Fire becomes a huge pain, and risk, later on along with crime. Like anything, it just gets harder to maintain the longer you go. The goal is to get off the planet, which seems kind of similar to real life.
There have been regular updates from the developer. I understand things may not be as fast as other games, but I haven't found very much in terms of bugs with this early release. I do recommend it, but wait until it is on sale, unless you like supporting new development firms. I am cheap and still always want a 'deal' to buy anything.
Game: The Universim
Initial Release Date: August 28, 2018