Developer: Glenn Corpes
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Topia is a game of subtlety. Well, that’s to say that it really isn’t that much of a game at all. The full title is Topia World Builder and building worlds is the goal here. Created by Glenn Corpes, known for his work on titles like Populous, Dungeon Keeper, and Magic Carpet while with Bullfrog, and published by Crescent Moon Games (who provided the art and music), the game gives players a planet, and the ability to customize it to their choosing. Want to build a mountain range? Do it! Sink the earth in to the sea? Go for it. Spell out “Metallica” in islands made of letters? That’s totally metal and totally possible. But the game is not just about terraforming the earth: there’s also animals that can be summoned to populate the planet, and can interact with one another, mostly by repopulating and killing each other.

While it can be fun to just sit around and make funny-looking planets, the game has some complex subsystems at work. Keeping the land at a low level and close to water will allow trees to grow, and then grass to grow to sustain life. Overpopulation will cause the grass to stop growing, so the land may need to be expanded lest everything die. Or just use the lightning bolt power to destroy everything. Puny animals.

There are several preset worlds available, as well as the ability to randomly generate one based on random factors like Chaos, Anti-Chaos, “Seed”, and a Smoothness quotient. While these can be saved, along with replays of how the world is created, an exact world state can’t be saved at the moment. The replay functionality can be taken over to return to a particular point, but this involves watching it until it reaches that point. Having the ability to save a specific world state, or possibly even share worlds and replays with friends, would be a great feature. Maybe video exporting of the worlds that are created? It may be difficult in a resource-intensive 3D game like this, but it would be a nifty feature if possible.

Topia World Builder is a game for those that want to play with a world of their own, that find joy in the process of creation rather than the structure or the output of the activity.

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