Top-down space shooters aren’t exactly a rare breed of game. Good ones, however, are.
Light years ahead of the intergalactic-themed competition is Solar Flux – one of the finest physics-based puzzle games I’ve played in a long time, space-themed or otherwise.
But the best news is that the title, which was nominated for a TIGA 2013 award in ‘Best Game Design’, is now available on Linux through Steam.
Priced at a modest £6.99/$9.99, the game offers an affordable antidote to the traditional, derivative space shoot ’em ups.
Placed in charge of an omni-directional craft, Solar Flux tasks you with an almighty responsibility: to recharge as many dying suns with plasma as possible – before they turn supernova, taking the last few breaths of the universe with them.
In early levels collecting the plasma pellets needed to sustain the solar giants is easy enough, and requires only the nimblest of navigational touches. As your journey through the solar system progresses the courses become ever more demanding.
You’ll need to use fuel wisely, master the gravitational quirks of nearby planets, and steer clear of gravity pockets and meteors out to thwart.
Those approaching the task without dexterity, careful planning and total control will find themselves at the maniacal fury of phosphorescent titans.
Features, Options & System Requirements
Firebrand, best known as the hands behind the wheels of racing games like Need for Speed, released Solar Flux for iPad and Android tablets, along with ‘pocket versions’ better suited to smartphone screen sizes, in the dimming embers of last year.
But rather than simply serve up a basic mobile port they’ve given the desktop versions some extra features, including controller support and exclusive Steam trading cards.
Whether playing on mobile or desktop, the game features traditional gaming tropes, such as mission objectives, themed sectors, and support for achievements and leaderboards.
- Over 80 missions, increasing in difficulty
- 18 themed sectors, and 4 unique galaxies
- An “acclaimed ambient soundtrack”
- 3-star rating system with varying level objectives
- Mouse or controller-led gameplay
The game requires a dual-core CPU (or better), 2GB of RAM and a Nvidia 8000 series GPU (or better). Expect around 300MB of HDD space to be used after installation.
Solar Flux shines bright with originality in almost every area. There’s no denying that the mechanics of controlling the space ship take time to master, especially on later levels, but with stunning visual diversity in view, and an equally enticing soundtrack to back it up, every turn feels worthy.
Striking graphics & challenging gameplay make Solar Flux a must have.