|developer:||Jeremy Kaldobsky also known as Aprone|
|features:||text, sound, visuals|
|last edit by:||Dark|
Once again Aprone presents an audio game which is the first accessible entry of it's type. This time, it's the complex world of ecological stratogy and environmental management. In the near future, company Lunatech starts setting up bio domes on the moon, but not for experimentation or colonization. these are rather toys for the super rich, who derive a thrill from watching plants grow, prey struggle against predators, and various specially engineered species thrive in an environment where no life has been before.
Of course, various companies quickly got into the franchizing business, and now the luna domes not only team with the biological struggle for survival, but an equally ruthless economic one. As an employee of one of these companies, it's your task to manage a luna dome environment in the most efficient way possible, so that both the ecosystem, ---- and your bank balance, will remain healthy and flourishing. .
The basic action in the game involves reviewing ticks of time in your dome. Each tick, populations may rise and fall, moss, grass or trees may grow or die off, and predators will attack prey. At any time you can pause the game with either space or enter, and both review each species or type of vegitation individually, and also wander your dome to look at it's landscape tyles one by one, sinse (especially for plants), what is on one tyle will effect others.
The game has two modes of play, mission mode and custom mode. In mission mode, you are presented with a series of increasingly difficult management challenges by your coorperation, from simple matters such as planting more trees, to the complex juggling of varieties of different species. Though you can both use the solar battery powered machines of your dome to sell or kull certain animals, and buy new animals with the funds you generate, neither of these resources is equal, and to succeed in making a stable and money making environment will take some cunning planning, canny knolidge of the way different luna species interact, and some hard decision making.
The game also features a custom mode, where you can personally hier a dome and start managing it yourself. In this mode there are no direct goals, however there are a number of awards you can earn for such things as species diversity or numbers, ---- and of course sinse the dome is first leased to you by the company, you've got an everpresent lone to pay off as well.
Interface wise, The game can be self voicing with ms sapi, or can output to nvda or window eyes, but the real interest in the interface lies in the intreaguing ways of tracking things like time, population growth etc. Each animal species has a sound, and when that sound plays in the left speaker, the population has decreased, when in the right speaker it has increased. Various menue and review commands exist, both for when physically moving around your dome's grid of tiles with arrow keys (though sinse one tile can hold many things, the grids are usually small), and for when reviewing individual species.
Lunimals also features basic graphics such as colours for the tiles to dictate their most prominant terrain type, as well as small graphics for the animals, though it is also completely playable by sound and voicing as well.
Though highly complex, many tools exist to help the player, for instance the missions start off easy with only a few elements, then get harder. Also a full explanation of what species eats what and how they interact can be found in the main menue, along with a section for user created tips.
Overall Lunimals is a surprisingly addictive game, with an interesting premise and very well put together interface, and also the first of it's type in audio. Best of all it's completely free, ---- though if you wish to donate some cash to the developer there is a button to do so on the above webpage, though this is entirely voluntary.
Should you be really stuc, Nocturnus from our forums has recorded a very handy walkthru of the first 8 missions which provides a great overview of the game and offers some of his favourite tactics. You can download it here
Further information about Aprones games can be found The audio archive site
Updates: entry 25 Jan 17 and description 25 Jan 17