Solar 2 is one of Steam's best-kept secrets. It's equal parts space physics simulator and arcade game.
I find it very relaxing and entertaining to zip around space, gobbling up asteroids into a giant star-katamari and evolving my planets.
It's not a perfect game. I wish that there was a better way to battle star-vs-star with the AI. The best strategy I've found for stealing planets is to knock them out of orbit with a shielded planet, then chase them down. This works, but it's very damaging to your suns and planets, and tends not to be worth the effort. The best strategy for growth is roaming about the galaxy looking for free planets and asteroids to grow your system.
No matter. Solar 2 is not really designed for long-term play. I find it works best to pop in for a while and just knock around a bit. See if you have the patience to develop an 8-star system, for instance.
The missions offer a nice break to the gameplay, but some are easy and some are very frustrating. It's a mixed bag.
A Multiplayer mode would have been welcome, too. Still, I find little to complain about in Solar 2. It's not perfect, but it is a light and fun sandbox game, which lets you decide how you want to have fun. Try the Demo.
153 of 200 people (77%) found this review helpful 2 people found this review funny
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 30, 2013
You start out as an asteroid and build up mass until you are a black hole. If that doesn't sound like the tightest ♥♥♥♥ there is, then I don't know what to tell you. But seriously, this game has a surprisingly extensive amount of content, beautiful graphics, and excellent gameplay. I highly recommend it.
Have you always wanted to be a celestial object? In this interesting take on the "grow bigger" genre you finally can. You begin as a smallest of asteroids and have to hit other asteroids to grow in mass and avoid marauding space ships and anything too much larger in the process. You move with arrows or ASDW (I used keyboard) in a 2D universe, while everything else is dictated by gravity.
At some point you will grow into a planet. This changes mechanics: no longer will you try to hit stuff but instead try to make asteroids orbit your piece of rock, after which you can absorb them. Mechanics are different for each phase: asteroid, planet, star and black hole. Planet phase is separated into regular and life planets (all with shields, planetary cannons and spaceships).
Orbiting is pseudophysical: that is, not real physics at all. The objects will actually be attached to the orbiting system. You should know that this is not a real physics simulator, so this is totally fine. This makes for some truly bizarre possibilities: you can form multi-star ring systems with ridiculous numbers of stars and yet have aggressively orientated fully evolved killer planets orbiting the system.
Story and achievements provide some 10-20 hours of playtime within three missions and 2-3 challenge mini games for each phase and finally a boss fight. They often make clever use of the game's physics and mechanics. You can also stop anytime you want and the cloud will make sure you can continue from where you left, or if you'd like to, from somewhere entirely different. Playing is very enjoyable and the only time I remember it getting tedious was when I grinded my way to 40 stars supersystem. Fortunately, you can save your favourite configurations (like that one with super-multistar megasystem) to be loaded any number of times again (handy for achievements) and play with physics options if regular pseudophysics gets boring.
Once you're done with the universe simply grow your planet-eating super-heavy neutron star into an all-devouring black hole and consume the world in a Big Crunch. A fitting end to a crazy little game.
36 of 37 people (97%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
10.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 29, 2014
The screenshots really do not do this game justice. The formula isn't new in itself (if you've played the first evolution level of Spore, Osmos or Flash-game 'flOw', it's basically that idea (bigger consumes smaller), modelled on orbital rotation and gravity.
You start life as a small bit of rock - a tiny asteroid. You must smash into other rocks in order to grow. Grow enough and you will become a barren, rocky planet. Gather more rocks into your orbit and absorb them for your planet to grow. When it's large enough, your planet can sustain life (which has benefits and shortcomings - I won't say what as it's a bit of a spoiler). Once your planet is HUGE, it can become a minor star and draw other planets into its orbit. Be the biggest solar system. Become a binary star system. Become a black hole! Survive as other systems try to attack your marvellous achievement and turn you back into an empty, tiny planet! Best of all, you keep that planet or system. When you reload, you carry on where you left off.
Besides making your own star system, there are objectives to carry out if you wish. They're fun and challenging, but to be honest I just enjoy making the biggest star system. The controls are excellent for both keyboard (sorry - no mouse) and gamepad. A simple concept really nicely executed. Overall, this is a superb little game and I highly recommend it as one of those time-filling diversions when you don't want to dive into your huge AAA title.
36 of 42 people (86%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 19, 2014
You're in space. You're a rock in space. Bump into more rocks to become bigger rock, become a rock with little people on it, avoid letting rocks pelt your planet and avoid bringing the race to extintion long enough for your little planet to develope self defence, become bigger, explode into a star killing an entire life system on your planet and then become a solar system. In space. With more planets with more self defence. Grow your star untill it evolves, explodes, and devours space. Space.
A nice indie game, good for lectures or light gaming. First walkthrough is fun, but after you try each game mode or phase once, little replay value. I certainly don't regret buying, had a good time for its price, but I doubt I'd play it again in a long time.
31 of 39 people (79%) found this review helpful 4 people found this review funny
30.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 7, 2015
Makes a fun space screensaver/10 Smash two rocks together to make a bigger rock. Catch little rocks with your big rock to make a "planet" Grow your planet into a star, and capture planets. Unlock the black hole and let it roam rampant through the cosmos. Not worth 9.99$, wait for a sale.
19 of 19 people (100%) found this review helpful 14 people found this review funny
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 10, 2015
Nice little game to play if you've got nothing else or you wanna play on your laptop during a long, boring trip.
Commendable for the sheer scale of events. You wanna be a black hole? Sure, why not, be a badass black hole. The badassest of them all. Eat asteroids, eat planets, eat stars, eat other black holes, and then eat the whole mother♥♥♥♥ing Universe, nothing's there to stop you except the inevitability of you collapsing under your own gravity. Dayum, space, you scary.
Or... OR... you could actually, you know, do story missions and become God. But they're hard.
Possibly the smallest game I own, but it packs a bigger punch than that.
Solar 2's main strength is that you can play at your own pace, with your own goals, and that leads to a good few hours that you can spend just bumbling around in space and figuring out what you fancy doing. Going from a tiny asteroid to a black hole? Staying as a solo planet and building up a small armada of ships? Just flying around like a lunatic smashing into stuff and dying repeatedly? All viable playstyles.
If you want more structure, the story and challenge missions offer a good balance between fun and difficulty, and add considerable longevity to the game. The general idea is to work your way up the planetary body hierarchy - from diminutive asteroid through to planets, stars, star systems and eventually nature's biggest vaccuum cleaner. There are individual missions for each stage of being, some of them simple, others very difficult. I have yet to witness another game that lets you play as the stage itself at a rock concert.
For a little indie title, there's a surprising amount to do, and while it could perhaps get a little samey after beating everything the game has to offer, there are physics options that you can use to craft a more creative playing experience - like mass space dogfights between hundreds of ships, for instance.
Or, you could just let the cool ambience of the game float you away on a paradoxical vaccuum breeze...