We all know the countless urban planning simulators, whether the Anno series or Tropico. But the developer ThinMatrix didn't want the player to build and manage a city, but this time we're building an ecosystem with animals and plants. Is it as extensive as the city competition? I'll try to explain that in the article.
A relaxation game for in between
There is one thing that Equllinox is definitely not about, and that is action. On the contrary, the game is intended for relaxation and is therefore relatively easy to play. In the sandbox game, a relaxed atmosphere is in the foreground, which is immediately clear to you. The whole ambience in the game is kept very calm, the music is gentle and the surface is very clear. Even with the coloring you don't see any extremely penetrating colors, but rather simple colors, which are nevertheless colorful and thus decorate the game considerably. Another special feature are the areas in the game, these are not designed realistically and well-formed without corners and edges, but from geometric figures. That is, a fish is made up of a lot of different triangles. But this type of design goes very well with the game. Because the whole game, whether music or graphics, seem very lovingly developed and designed.
Just like in real life: a good helping of weed helps
When entering a new world, we are first taken by the hand with the help of a small tutorial to get to know the interface and the content of the game. The tutorial is very easy to understand and after a short time you will find your way around your own ecosystem. Everything starts with a few grass seeds that we plant in the ground and from this the full-grown grass emerges and soon we have our first small meadow. With every successful task, we get more items for our ecosystem. The first colors soon follow in the form of a few flowers, which we then add to the ecosystem. If you don't want to wait between the growth phases, you can also fast forward using a time-lapse function.
If you then take a look at your world of cultivation, it quickly becomes clear that you can only cultivate a very small part at the beginning and that a lot of work is involved, because of course plants also have needs.
You have to pay attention to the right environmental conditions. Whether a plant prefers a forest area or a meadow is explained in detail in an information sheet for each plant. Now that the grass and flowers have been planted, we sometimes need something bigger. So afterwards an oak is available to us and a small forest will gradually emerge. Plants check, but something is still missing in an ecosystem. The animals, of course. At the beginning we only have sheep, the rest is gradually researched or unlocked by the player. The number of animals and plants is very extensive and thus also provides for one or the other further hour of play. But do the animals have any other purpose besides jumping around in the world? Of course they have. Because the plants and animals do provide offspring, but sometimes you want or need more of a species. For that you need the in-game currency and this is produced by animals, it always varies and it depends on the Growth phase of the animal. Small animals produce less at first, but after a while it continues to increase.
Genetic engineering in sheep and oaks
The menus for the individual animals then show many other options to enrich the gaming experience. Some things are then relevant later to create missions, others can just be used for fun. For the plants we find the health statistics in the menu, i.e. what is good for the plant, what shortens its lifespan. Environmental satisfaction, how well the given environment fits the needs of the plant. This is followed by information about the age, generation and growth of the plant. In the next tab it gets more interesting, because the title Evolution allows a species to develop. In this way, an oak tree can later become an apple tree. Plants can also be modified, changing their color or size. With improvements, influences can be seen that either positively or negatively affect the plant.
Finally, you can of course remove, focus and transplant the plants (i.e. change the place). It looks very similar with the animals. However, you can give each animal a name to bring a little personality into the game. There is one thing that is worth taking a look at when it comes to animals, namely that you can take control of an animal and then explore the world with a sheep or chicken. The possibilities of modification are then explained in detail using missions, so the player also has a little tutorial there for in between. The diseases must of course be present as well as in real life, for example chickens can develop a disease and thus endanger the whole population. But the ecosystem does not only have to function on land, fish and aquatic plants then also move part of the game into the cold water.
Image gallery for Equilinox
Number of players: 1 players
Playing time: 40+ hours
Long-term motivation: medium
Year of publication: 2018
Cost: 8,50 Euro
The game is really good if you just want to relax and unwind. Due to the simplicity of the game, you can almost always play the game and thus relax a bit. When it comes to music, there is even the option of choosing the title in the game yourself, so that the favorite titles from the soundtrack can be played at the same time. As already mentioned, the design is in the geometry style and very colorful, but without choosing colors that are too intense. There is not much to say about the controls, because the controls and the interface are very simple and almost self-explanatory. The developer is always trying to improve the game, so far not a week has passed without a new patch. The game runs really well, the loading times are very short and I haven't had any performance problems or game crashes so far. This is not always the case with small development studios. So if you need a game to simply relax after work or school, I can only recommend Equilinox.