Sometimes the best games are classics that most gamers will take for granted. It’s no wonder that indie developers, no matter their nationality, look to the past for inspiration for projects in the future. The past classic games brought us wonderful works that we cherish and revere to this very day. I can say that remixing a classic in good taste is never a bad thing as the team from Shindenken out in Japan have done a wonderful job on their doujin-soft games: Qualia and Qualia 2. Rockin’ Android had published and translated Qualia as “Qlione” for PC back in August of 2009 and the sequel was not translated. December 7th changed that as Rockin’ Android combined both Qualia and Qualia 2 as a package titled Qlione Evolve on PlayStation Network containing both Qlione and Qlione 2 for a bargain price.
You are a fighter in an inorganic sea of mesh patterns that is faced with the challenge of survival! Strategize and defeat your geometric enemies with a simple arsenal in a world hypnotic and dangerous. Created with the “Cellular Automaton” algorithm found in simulations of Earth, QLIONE is like no game you have ever experienced.
It’s simple and really describes the art direction that both Qlione games embrace. The game from a design point makes me think of games like Tempest or Geometry Wars where the game is played in a metered out grid with the player and enemies being composed of geometric shapes. It’s a very visually relaxing aesthetic that works well for the game. To go with the soothing environment of the game, the electronic music is very calming and therapeutic. If the techno and electronica isn’t your style, both Qlione and Qlione 2 give you the ability to use the PlayStation 3’s Music function from the Xross Media Bar (via the PlayStation button) to load any music you want to play the games with as a perk.
There used to be an embeded media player here, but it doesn't work anymore. We blame the Tumbeasts.
The mechanics of both games in the Qlione Evolve pack involve you playing as a worm-like creature in a digital ocean where the main objective is to destroy enemies and consume protein orbs. Each game has 8 stages and each with a boss at the end. To attack, you have a spread bomb and a compression bomb to wreak havoc against your enemies. Use them in unique combinations to do massive damage or pull/merge protein orbs to a safer location. Where Qlione and Qlione 2 differ are the mechanics based on the protein orbs. In Qlione, netting 100 orbs yields an extra life; you start the game with a set number of lives. Qlione 2 however is far more complex.
Qlione 2, the orb has “evolved” with 2 variations: red and green. Red orbs evolve your creature into more aggressive forms while green orbs push for more defensive forms. This in turn broadens the scope of a player’s style based on evolutionary forms. In Qlione 2, when you are killed in an evolutionary form you will de-evolve to a lower form. If you keep de-evolving down to the baby form and then die, the game is over. The complexity is really in the special forms have variations on their attacks with the spread bombs and compression bombs.
For a game that has the spirit of something reminiscent of Tempest (in design) and the soul of a simple game like Snake (from getting the protein orbs)… The Qlione Evolve package is in a unique place. It is a remix on nostalgia yet it is very fresh in style. There are 21 trophies for PlayStation Network, but they are not easy to earn; that is a perk for those who would rather feel accomplished for their trials. For a game that challenges the mind and provides a great way to relax, the entry price of $6.99 is a bargain. I’d like to thank Rockin’ Android and Sony Online Entertainment for providing us a copy of the game for review purposes.
[Images and trailer provided by Rockin’ Android]