Infinite permutations of beauty. Whilst I’m not sure it’s entirely appropriate to describe the alpha of Biome (by three-man team Tom Kail, Jon Tree and Joe Grainger) as a game – being as it is that there is no fail condition – what I can say is that it’s bloody pretty. They describe it as so:
Biome is a meditative game experience about evolution and exploration that focuses on the world rather than the things that live on it. Touching transforms the world around you, turning desert into jungle, jungle to tundra, and back to desert with a few intuitive moves, allowing you to discover the secrets hidden in endless space. It launches on iPad in late 2014.
Of course, with the game only being in it’s very early alpha stages, it’s hard to complain when the Rezzed build I was given has still wasted a good few hours of my time. Most of that time was spent trying to figure out the correlation between the movement you make when clicking and dragging terrain and what actually happens to your biome. Oftentimes it feels fairly arbitrary. Then again, its easy to imagine better gesture recognition and a wider variety of better defined movements are a priority.
Currently, the sound and music in Biome is lovely and much like the low-poly graphics, vaguely reminiscent of Proteus. Indeed right now the game feels like the unborn child of Proteus, Populous and Minecraft Pocket Edition. With a lot of work (though I’m already really excited to see where the game goes) this game has the potential to do so much with so simple an idea. Much like it’s terrain generation actually.
Of all the terrain types that I have encountered so far, my personal favourite was what I nicknamed the grand canyon. Not so much for it’s immediate aesthetic appeal (which is as beautifully simple as the rest), but instead because it seemed to be constantly shifting, becoming worn away by the rain and screen-shaking storms as well as by the pools and streams of water fleetingly flowing through the biome.
All in all, Biome is a game/experience that you should all be keeping your eye on. As much as it has the potential to create near-infinite permutations of low-poly beauty, that same potential could be harnessed into creating something so much more. The ability to drag water onto animals in order to help them thrive has been bandied about, and its certainly I direction I’d like to see the game go in. However, I think retaining the simplicity and usability of the touch (as well as making it more obvious how your motions interact with the world) and continuing as free as possible from a UI will be to the games ultimate benefit.
Images Sources: Biome