Should my dolphin species focus on songs as a pillar of their civilization? Can they limit the impact war has on their society or should they focus on resource conservation? Is there a way to push them towards a utopia or do I need to try and get them to build the biggest colonization fleet they can? And should I worry about the dinosaur species that have already achieved space flight capabilities next door?
The Fermi Paradox is both created and published by Anomaly Games and is currently offered via Early Access on Steam. It manages to combine choices, a lot of narrative moments, and streamlined civilization management into an entirely new take on a science fiction gaming experience.
The player uses a resource called synthesis, collected from across the galaxy, to guide the evolution of intelligent species. This sounds like a lot but the game manages to boil everything down to choices, a small number of stats, and storytelling. Plenty of dilemmas similar to those mentioned above influence events.
I loved trying to see how far my dolphins could go while also keeping the galaxy as peaceful as possible. The Fermi Paradox forces hard choices. With a limited number of resources, I had to let a few civilizations perish in cataclysms to push my aquatic friends towards enlightenment. Some species lived in a dystopia. Some of them thought only of power before meeting aliens.
The game does need some faster transitions (they are being worked on) and more clarity about some choices. But overall it seems a deep and narrative-driven game about the difficulty of being a sentient species. The Fermi Paradox cleverly uses its impressive character design and transition screens to create a game world that feels infinitely bigger than what the player actually gets to see.
I love how my beloved dolphins and their galactic neighbors evolve as they progress through the tech ages. I like the clean look of the solar systems and the quote screens (some of the best since Alpha Centauri). The soundtrack is equally impressive, carefully mixing a variety of moods to underline the successes and problems of the civilizations players are guiding.
The game is an impressive achievement even in its Early Access state. I would want to see higher risk and reward choices and bigger swings in the destiny of civs for the full version. But I also trust the developers at Anomaly and really want to see what they will add to this great title before they feel it’s ready for full launch.