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Sometime when I write a review, I find I write too much about HOW to play, and not really very much about the game. This leads to one of three outcomes: I trash the review; I shorten the review to something actually resembling a review; or in this case, I turn most of the review into a post!

Universo: Gaia - Extended Review

It's one of those things: you'll either love it, or hate it. The game mechanic is not too difficult: sort of like a connect the dots, except you need to organise the dots so they all end up connected!

OK, when you first click play you are dumped onto the level select screen - not really normal - but I suppose pabrikamatir wanted to show off the lovely "Act Select" layout. Again, I know its says "Act Select", but it really is a level select screen. You need to click Level "0". Took me more than a few milliseconds to spot because I was looking for Level "1", and Level "0" is the actually the seventh dot in the left-to-right order. It's placement makes no sense, and after you play the game, still makes no sense.

Connections are one-way, and every dot must have a "in" and "out" connection. There are two types of dots: those that connect to the nearest neighbour/s, and later, those that connect to the furthest ("thornies"). Some dots (both types) connect to more than one dot: how many is indicated by the little spinning arrows on the dot perimeter. You'll spend most the game making sure you've placed all the dots in closed loops (some loops only have only two dots, and some can have eight, or maybe even more). Ignore the colour of the dots (it tells you to ignore the colours on level 4). When you click (or click-hold) on a dot, the lines show you which dots THAT dot connects to. By clicking on each dot in sequence (you'll need to go back to do any branches, but can ignore any branches that connect into confirmed loops), you can thus make sure all the dots are in closed loops, and hence connected!!

For those struggling on level 3 (BALANCE has NOTHING to do with it): Start dot is the one with the white stripe, and is a 1-dot (connects to one other dot). Grab the other 1-dot, and drag it between the start-1-dot and the 2-dot, but make sure it connects to the 2-dot (i.e. it is closer to the the 2-dot). DONE! (Click GO!) (Note: I normally have it off to the side to draw an scalene triangle: I find it easier to form shapes to help visualise the closed loops the dots form).

I thought the game's way of explaining how to play was more interesting: but may lead to confusion and/or annoyance-quitting by some players (since it's not really that instructional). I thought the "philosophy" on its own was awful, extremely groan-worthy, and filled with lots of pretentious touchy-feely stuff: BUT goes very well with the game!! (It is JUST about DOTS after all!?!) The one-sided interaction with John gets more and more trite the more you play.

The music worse than the philosophy - it is really bad to listen to for prolonged periods - but if you turn it off, the game is that little bit less enjoyable - again a love-hate thing: I hate the music in the context of the game, but the game NEEDS music playing while you play. I recommend you mute the music and fire up the Audio Portal in the background - your ears will thank you.

Level 30 was a nice rewards for lasting the distance: just click "Go"!!!

Otherwise, this game seemed a little too easy for a walkthough - of course I may be wrong: if you're still struggling and cursing, try thinking about diminishing distances: 9 mm, 8 mm, 7 mm, 6 mm for example is the spacing I'd use for five 1-dots, where the last dot is a thornie. Note that in this closed loop any dot can be the start dot (including the thornie). Good luck!


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