What if Spore (2008) hadn’t been a complete and total letdown? What if Sim City took to the stars, with colorful aesthetics a la Kerbal Space Program (2015) and a friendlier, simplified interface? What if a smart, streamlined game could offer you all of that and more? Along Came Humans, created by Tim Aksu of Pelican Punch Studios, is promising that.
The goal is simple: colonize a planet. Then colonize another planet to bolster aforementioned planet’s diminishing resources. Streamline. Reorganize. Rinse. Repeat. According to Asku, your colonies will demand a larger variety—as well as a higher quality—of goods as they expand. Your job is to establish product chains and routes of transportation, and, overall, keep citizens happy. Asku outlines the infrastructure system here:
“The player will be able to establish trade routes between planets with freighters. They’ll give the freighters orders to shuttle goods around from planet to planet. You could turn some smaller, less desirable planets into Mining colonies and ship those raw resources to your manufacturing planet. Finally, you’d transport these manufactured goods to the colonies that demand them.”
As we know all too well, humans affect our environment as much (or perhaps even more) than it affects us. These uniquely Anthropocene changes are present here as well. Three types of planets determine environment, needs, and manufacturing opportunities: Ice, Forest, and Desert.
Your choices in industry can affect a planet’s climate—for example, making too many factories on a forest planet will turn it into a harsh, dry Desert planet. Alternatively, Ice planets can melt into a forest planet (which would seem like a victory, but you’ll still have to completely overhaul your resource management). Factions will arise based on conditions and constructions made on the planet. These factions currently include Industrial, Mining, Residential, Agricultural, Science, and Outlaw.
Don’t mistake this game’s cuteness for simplicity—very complex structures, which can be seen on the TIGSource thread—ensure that this society simulator, like its predecessors Civilization and Sim City, will be rife with constant choice and consequence.
Aksu maintains that there is no “victory” condition or endpoint to the game. The real victory here is that you get to play God, and get a decent exercise in interplanetary economics, with little real-world repercussions. Maybe we should avoid these cherubic planet’s entirely. But that’s the point of Along Came Humans. It’s like looking in a mirror. Because it’s such a delicate juggling act with planets, ecosystems, and entire civilizations in the balance, Along Came Humans may be more aptly titled Along Came Humans … And Then Everything Died. Take notes.
Look for Along Came Humans on Steam sometime soon. In the meantime, keep up with the TIGSource thread.