If there’s one thing that I love more than most in the world of gaming, it’s a well-developed indie game. They often deliver fantastic user experiences without the need for all of the ‘Hollywood’ cinematics. Not only that, but they’re often cheap when considering how much content they offer. Few indie games epitomise the above in the same way as Solar Flux. It’s a game that’s clearly had the sweat and tears of the developers poured in to it and, whereas some free games are often clumsy and poorly executed, Solar Flux has been buffed to a fine polish. And what a beautiful polish it is too!
Probably the most eye catching aspect of the game is its stunning visuals. Set in the dark voids of space, you control a small ship on a mission to save dying stars. Now, you would be forgiven for picturing blackened spaces with grey rocks and the faint glimmer of stars in the distance. If you did picture this, however, you’d be very much wrong. Imagine instead flairs of orange and deep reds cascading over the thick blanket of blackness and rock … ness. The glowing star creates shadows of yellows, greens, blues and reds, depending on the level, and imposes a stunning backdrop to what could have otherwise been a visually bland gaming experience.
The gameplay itself, just like the visuals, are far from boring. The player uses touch screen mechanics to collect pieces of plasma, placed precariously in mazes of space rock, and deliver them to the dying star. It sounds simple enough, but it is actually quite challenging and can keep you occupied for hours on end as you delicately travel through the breath-taking missions. The game is incredibly responsive, and the slightest flick in the wrong direction could send you careering in to the jagged space rocks, or burning star.
The biggest challenge comes in the touch screen mechanics. Developed by Firebrand Games, they have really considered the laws of gravity and perpetual motion in space. The slightest burst of your thrusters will set you on a constant drift (or send you shooting through space if you’re a bit trigger happy) towards the debris in your path. You must then use cautious burst of thrust to navigate your way around the maze, collect the plasma and deliver it to the star. Again, this is far from easy, and I often found myself manically spamming the screen trying anything I could to avoid the inevitable demise of my ship in a fiery explosion.
At times, the game can get quite frustrating. The controls are simple, but the ship is not easy to control. Expect to crash a good few times at first, as it takes a little practice. This game is definitely best on a tablet device as the larger surface makes it much easier to navigate the maps. A word of advice for anyone picking up this game would be to invert the ships controls in the options menu. For me, it made the ship much easier to control. But the visuals make you want to push on and, once you’ve got the hang of it, the game provides hours of fun through challenging mazes. I must admit, however, that it isn’t for the faint of heart!
The ‘pocket’ version of Solar Flux is free to download and I could not recommend it any higher. If you’re lucky enough to have a snazzy phone / tablet with a pretty HD screen, then I really suggest spending the £1.24 on the HD version of the game. It really is built to be played in HD and it’s more than worth the minimal price.
With it’s simple and effective game mechanics, stunning visuals and challenging gameplay, it really is a game that you shouldn’t miss. Solar Flux is available on the Google Play store, App Store and Steam.
Developer: Firebrand Games & Entertainment LTD
Publisher: Firebrand Games & Entertainment LTD
Platform: PC, iPad, iPhone, Android phones & tablets
Price: FREE – £1.24