Having imbued you with the power of a god many games ask you to protect villagers, build monuments, and really play up to the role of being that all-consuming deity in the sky.
However, in Ecobrilium this isn't the case. You'll be managing fictitious cloned alien animals, all contained within a simulated virtual environment. Instead of asking you to play god, Ecolibrium asks you to play scientist.In the name of science
Placing you in control of a virtual ecosystem, Ecobrilium tasks you with creating a balanced environment for cloned flora and fauna to co-exist in perfect equilibrium – hence the name.
By managing four variables - Water, Minerals, Vegetation, and Meat - you've got to reach the highly coveted 100 per cent equilibrium, tweaking it as you go so that your world runs perfectly as you introduce new creatures to the mix.
There are limits to how much you can populate your world with animals and vegetation, so you'll have to make sure that as creatures repoduce you don't overpopulate the ecosystem and consign an entire species to the prospect of starvation and extinction.
Conversely, you do want to make sure your world is populated enough to be sustainable. The more creatures you have, the more ecopoints you'll produce.
Ecopoints are how you purchase animals and plants with which to populate your world, and at first they appear rather valuable. Until, that is, you realise that they aren't actually used in any of the challenge modes you'll spend the majority of your time completing.
The challenges, composed of multiple stages, offer you ecopoint hauls and new species to use in future challenges. So they're quite useful. They also help you to understand the intricacies of Ecolibrium, as the tutorial only hits the key points and leaves you to discover the rest for yourself.Paying the price for nature
There's one rather large caveat to Ecolibrium, though: it's a freemium title. The wave of free-to-play titles is on the rise and this is an early entry by Sony on Vita.
While this model may work well on smartphones and PCs, it becomes something of a nuisance on a wi-fi-only Vita, as you'll need to be connected to PSN to get the booster packs that range from 25p to £1.25.
While it's definitely great fun to play, you'll only be spending around ten minutes every three hours actually playing it. It's also quite a chore to be at the mercy of a game's clock when you want to ensure you're doing the best you can at challenges.
The restrictions of the free-to-play model sadly undermine this otherwise enjoyable Sims-style game.