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May 21st, 2017 (08:49 am)

Oh thank God that one's done. My clear file only has about 10 hours on it, but don't let that deceive you; this one has been plaguing me for years due to a combination of me treating it like a low-priority smartphone time-waster that never ends (think PathPix) and because it's absurdly hard whenever I do get around to poking at it.

Solar 2 is... uh... kind of hard to describe, honestly, but it's more or less an infinite galactic sandbox, with missions. You are anything from a lowly asteroid to a small planet to a life-bearing planet to a star to several stars and/or bigger star(s) to a black hole. The higher forms are achieved by gaining mass, but once you become something once, you can respawn as that from the menu at any time. That alien-looking guy there is... well, he's never referred to by name in game but external sources such as walkthroughs call him The Entity, so let's go with that. The Entity has a bunch of errands for you to run at your leisure depending on what you are at the time, and most of them are incredibly tricky bouts of dexterity. (Example: one of the Planet missions is to go to a nearby solar system and knock all the orbiting asteroids off each individual planet--done by getting just close enough to let them smash into you--without touching the planets themselves. With gravity physics factoring in, like everything in this game, this is much harder than it sounds.)

The save feature doesn't keep track of a state or snapshot or anything; rather, it auto-saves the list of which missions you've cleared, and you can manually save your solar system once you reach star level and have one. So, if I'm a medium-size star and have two planets orbiting me, and just finished getting enough mass for one that it evolved to a life planet, I can save that system. When I go to reload it, I'll just lose control of whatever I was controlling at the time, the camera will zoom over a bit, and land on what is suddenly and conveniently an exact replica of whatever I saved (in this case, a medium star with two planets, one of which has life. It even keeps track of exact mass and how close you are to the next phase!)

All in all, it's a fun little fly-around-and-do-whatever sim, or it would be if anything involving the Entity wasn't so hard.

The earlier missions are impossible feats of dexterity, as previously mentioned. The later missions, once you're a solar system, are... well... grindy. When the mission is to go fight and destroy a system that has a medium-sized star and four life planets (life planets spawn ships loyal to that system that fire on their enemies, and also give the central star(s) shields) then all you can really do to make that fight winnable is fly around and absorb stuff until you are a large-sized star with six life planets. (You'll probably lose most of them in the fight anyway, but at least if you win it will save the achievement and then you can respawn as your saved system to get everything back such back.)

By the time I actually cleared the final mission, I was a connected system of nine stars (three medium, six large) with eight planets, all of which had life, thus shielding my entire system. And getting to that point... ugh. At least you can sometimes be lucky and catch a free-floating life planet if you encounter one and you have room, but the only way to gain additional stars in the same system is to evolve orbiting life planets into them, which means flying around carefully enough near asteroid fields that that particular planet catches a few in its orbit, so you can absorb them for mass. I wasn't going for the Grind Star achievement (a forty star system!? haha fuck you) but even getting to the nine-star/eight-planet one to beat the last mission still involved a lot of play that looked like this.

There are tons of achievements and such to get even after clearing the game, and you can always just work on building up your system for the fun of it, but... no, I've grinded enough in this game thank you.

This is a cross-posted entry that originated from http://kjorteo.dreamwidth.org/391071.html.