I was not expecting a game this philosophically fraught.
- Every moment you are not getting stronger, your problems are out there growing and your competitors are eating your lunch.
- This does not even demand competitors. Things just run into each other, and gradually everything grows beyond your capacity unless you are continually expanding your capacity.
- Paths that were safe when you started can become fatal long before you arrive. Prey can become predators while you are chasing them.
- If you knew everything and could do the math, you could theoretically plot out everything that was going to happen. But you do not have enough knowledge and time. You must make decisions now based on a very incomplete view.
- Often the energy it takes to acquire something is more than it is worth.
- If two things never touch, it matters little whether they were a blink away or a mile.
- Your path is sometimes dominated by outside forces you cannot safely escape.
- You will often want to start over with a better starting point, somewhere it seems less like you are surrounded by stronger forces blindly oblivious to how they can crush you in their paths. Alas, that was never an option.
- It looks soothing and simple, and each part may be. When you get deeper into it, you realize that everything is difficult and complicated because there are so many moving parts, so few of which are to your advantage at any given time.
- If you are big enough, you can wait for others to come to you.
- If you are not big enough, you need to act now before something bigger rolls over you.
- Sometimes acting now is what weakens you for those bigger things.
- Tiny moves now can have large, unforeseen consequences in the surprisingly near future.
- If you really want to grow, you need to go after the biggest goal you can achieve.
- Finesse is elegant and efficient.
- But sometimes the right answer is brute force.
The most impactful part of this is how it requires neither mind nor volition. One path of the game involves competing organisms, but mostly it is a mass of blindly moving objects, and yet your problems grow faster than you do unless you find the right path.
The simple mechanic of “bigger things absorb smaller things” yields a puzzle game with predator and prey, mazes, and planetary motion. That is elegance in design.
But seriously, the planetary motion (“force”) levels are kind of a bear unless you can eyeball Hohmann transfers. It seems a popular recommendation to do those levels last, if at all, and to have lots of patience with overlapping orbits.