Topia World Builder review (iOS / Universal)

October 15, 2012

“I want you to fill my little world right up”

10 word description: 3D world creation simulation. raise and lower land, add animals.

10 word review: Impressive tech, nice visuals, simple interface. It’s a good start.

This planet looks familiar…

You will like this if you enjoy: Morphing entire planets with your finger. Writing your name as a chain of oceanic islands. Playing with plasticine.

The good news: Great concept with convincingly powerful and smooth running game engine to back it up. A huge number of initial worlds due to the random/seeded generation tool. Controls are very simple and easy to use.

The bad news: By its own admission this is an initial sandbox release, lacking any actual game components. Saving is based on recording a replay, then watching it play out in real time with the option to take over at any point – not the most convenient save mechanism I’ve ever seen. In spite of the almost infinite number of starter worlds, most people will have seen everything this version of Topia has to offer within the first 10 minutes.

As an example, I created and populated that foreground island in about 2 minutes

Arcadelife verdict: Topia is a very encouraging taster of what could be a wonderful iOS game. The results of your interaction with the planet surface are immediate and very satisfying – wait a little longer and you will see the surface of your new landscape altering, as if millions of years were passing in a matter of seconds. Tress will begin to grow on appropriate areas; if you zoom in close enough you can watch this happening in fairly decent detail. Add a few animals and they will reproduce and run around like, well, like simple animals in a computer game really.

Watching trees grow. I always knew that sounded like fun

And … that’s about it. Sure, there’s a significant “gosh, wow, look at that” moment the first time you fire Topia up and marvel at the colourful ball of plasticine – sorry I mean the fully realised and freely deformable planet – but, without any objectives and only the raising and lowering of terrain to really keep you entertained, Topia ultimately feels like a demo for something far grander. All we have to do is keep our fingers crossed that this is what it is, and that the small but talented team behind it brings all the updates and additional game features that this version of Topia appears to promise.

Coming soon: More game modes, world sharing, challenges, leaderboards. Let’s hope so

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9.5/10
Audio – 8.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 3/10
Fun – 3/10
Final rating – 66/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.1
iTunes link

Crescent Moon / Topia website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (iOS 6)
iPad (iOS 5.1.1)

One comment

  1. hmm, interesting… how much is it?

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