As my poor creatures increasingly discover, being adorable won’t stop you from the perils of rapidly rising carbon dioxide levels in the cute solar sandbox heliopedia.
The latest mini game from Dutch indie collective SoakPop, Heliopedia is a surprisingly dense toy solar system. After waking up the sun and giving them enough room to ice a planet, you’re tasked with turning a lifeless rock into a thriving ecosystem.
You’ll scavenge ice, oxygen, and coal from the asteroid belt to break things away, create an atmosphere, and make the soil fertile enough for life. Every new quest rewards you with stars to unlock new items from the Sun, including vital seeds and eggs needed to carry on with life.
Despite the game’s generally bland soappop appearances, the entire world is hard to manage. Every element interacts with each other, trees and plants draw carbon from the atmosphere, the seeds of rain germinate. A full atmospheric system runs the risk of drowning your world in CO2, and unstable planetary cores can lead to repeated volcanic eruptions.
And even then, try hard enough, and you may just end up with a self-sufficient little world. The first of mine is a tropical ocean filled with volcanoes and thriving schools of fish, while the second is a densely forested swamp with delightful frogs. Attempting to make a third, baking savannah, is taking a bit more work. At any time you can feed the sun more crap to summon a new world, though the star’s appetite gets a little raging with each fresh planet.