A blog about casual gaming

643
Aurora

Aurora

If there is one game that should convince you to install the Unity browser plugin, it is this stunningly beautiful solar system sandbox game.

Bookmark and Share
Published by Tasha on 25th January 2011

I almost did not play Aurora. It uses the Unity plugin and I have had bad experiences with Unity games in the past. Some have run dreadfully slowly on my laptop. Others have actually crashed my browser. So when I spotted the Unity loading screen, my first reaction was to immediately close down the game. I am glad I resisted this urge because Aurora is an absolute gem of a game. Certainly, it is one of the most beautiful browser games I have ever played.

This is not to say the game is perfect. It is still in beta mode so is a bit rough around the edges in places but there is so much to love about the game. The premise is fascinating, for starters. The game transports you (playing a nameless, invisible god) to the middle of a new solar system soon after its star is born. These are chaotic times for the inchoate system - rocks and small asteroids are spinning about all around you, occasionally crashing into each other.

Out of this chaos, you must create order. You do this by making gravity wells by holding the mouse button down. These wells attract space debris into their gravitational field and eventually - when enough rocks have been captured - give rise to a new planet. You then send the planet into orbit around the sun. Take care doing this because the planet's orbit will determine whether it can sustain life. Get the orbit too close to the sun and the planet will be too hot for life to evolve there.

Once you have a planet in a good orbit, you can double click on it to customise it and view its stats via a popup panel. Here, you can also choose for the planet to evolve life. Once life has kicked off, the planet's population will steadily increase. Create more life-sustaining planets and eventually your solar system will have enough people that your sphere of influence will increase, allowing you to create an ever larger solar system.

Aurora, Game Review
Aurora

The graphics are truly out of this world.

Growing your solar system is fraught with problems, however. There are still loads of space debris flying around and if these hit your planets, they can cause huge loss of life. Worse still, as I found out the hard way, using gravity wells to create new planets can have unexpected side effects. After I had created my first planet and carefully built up its population, I decided to create a new planet. Unfortunately, the gravity well I used to create the new planet spun my existing planet out of its stable orbit, and slammed it into the sun. No-one survived, of course.

There are no fixed goals for the game. You can aim to achieve the biggest population possible, before the sun goes supernovae. Or you can try to get as many planets to achieve ultra intelligent life. Or, if you are the destructive type, you can pleasure yourself by simply sending your planets hurtling into the sun. So the game-play could do with a little more work and focus, something that will probably be fixed in the next iteration of the game.

One thing that can't be improved on are the game's visuals and audio. Aurora is nothing less than a sensory feast, the ambient music and Technicolor graphics providing a mesmeric, almost hypnotic experience. This is a game that you could play to wind down after a hard day in the office. Aurora can be played for free here.


Bookmark and Share

Add comment

Submit
Published by Tomaz Z. on 25th January 2011
Too bad that Unity plugin is only available for Windows & Mac OS. ;)

Follow us

  • Twitter

    Be the first to hear about new posts by following us at @casualgirlgamer

  • Facebook

    Alternatively, you might want to become a fan of our facebook page, which you can find here.

  • RSS

    Subscribe to Casual Girl Gamer’s RSS feed here

  • Email

    Enter your email address below and we’ll keep you posted when we have new articles.

    Go

Game reviews

  • Lume

    State of Play's new puzzle adventure title Lume might be made out of cardboard cutouts but it is in no way a one-dimensional game.

    Read more
  • The Tiny Bang Story

    Beautiful hand-drawn graphics, nicely balanced and creative puzzles and a great sound track, The Tiny Bang Story delivers on all fronts.

    Read more
  • Castaway 2

    Robinson Crusoe had it lucky. He was only stranded on a desert island once. Things are not so easy for the hero of RPG adventure game series Castaway.

    Read more
  • ClubWorld

    If the idea of running your own nightclub gets you excited, then Tapulous's latest iOS game might have you dancing around with joy.

    Read more
  • Insectonator

    If the only good bug is a dead one, then you will be doing one helluva lot of good work in this cheery insect massacring game.

    Read more
> More game reviews

Popular articles

  • Top 20 online zombie games

    You don't need to turn on your console to get your fix of zombie games. Some of the best such games can be played right here in your browser.

    Read more
  • Top ten launching games

    There is something about the idea of wantonly launching objects - in particular small animals - into the air that tickles human beings. We would never do it in real life, of course, but give us a game that let's us do it, and we simply can't stop playing.

    Read more
  • Top 25 online Defend your Castle games

    We've scoured the internet and found what we think are the best defend your castle games you can play for free on the web.

    Read more
  • Top 10 Cutest Games

    Like a new born kitten or puppy, these unbelievably cute free online games just make you want to go 'awww'.

    Read more
  • Top 20 music games you can play online

    Get into the groove with our compilation of the best free music and rhythm games on the web.

    Read more
> More popular articles

Developer spotlights

  • Jake Elliott

    You won't find any resource-management or mindless slash and dash games in Jake Elliott's portfolio. What you will find are thought-provoking games that encourage you to ponder on the human experience.

    Read more
  • Con Artist Games

    Chris Condon of Con Artist Games has a reputation for developing some of the most polished games on the web. Casual Girl Gamer speaks to him about his gaming philosophy.

    Read more
  • Gregory Weir

    By combining great story-telling with imaginative game worlds, Gregory Weir has created some of the most thought-provoking games on the internet.

    Read more
  • John Cooney

    Armor Games' head of game development John Cooney - or jmtb02, as he is better known - is one of the most prolific and imaginative game developers around.

    Read more
  • Evan Miller

    In ImmorTall, indie developer Evan Miller created one of the most emotionally moving games to grace the internet. We speak to him about his gaming philosophy and plans for the future.

    Read more
  • Mateusz Skutnik

    Mateusz Skutnik is a rarity: a gifted artist who is also a skilled coder. He is responsible for some of the most beautiful casual games on the web.

    Read more
> More spotlights