The Universim Review

Game: The Universim
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
System: Steam (Windows, macOS & Linux)
Developers | Publishers: Crytivo
Controller Support: No
Price: US $29.99 | UK £22.99 | EU € 27,99
Release Date: January 22nd, 2024

A review code was used, with many thanks to Keymailer.

Funded through a Kickstarter campaign way back in 2014, The Universim was released on Steam on Early Access in August 2018 by Crytivo, who developed and published the game.

Now, move forward ten years, and we have reached the stage where The Universim is getting its 1.0 release on January 22nd. It’s been a long road from the Kickstarter campaign until now, but the game has been regularly updated and patched throughout its time in Early Access.

Be the Creator in The Universim

The Universim A universe is born
A universe is born.

The Universim is a planet management game where you take the role of the Creator. In other words, it’s a God game where you manage a planet as you guide your civilisation of Nuggets (worshippers or victims, depending on how the game plays out) through the ages with your godlike powers.

The story starts with a dark screen, with no life or light anywhere. You, as the Creator (god), hear the voice of the brilliant narrator. With a single touch, you observe the creation of the entire universe. It’s a mesmerising and beautiful act to watch the universe come to life.

The Evolution Tower

place the Evolution Tower
Place the Evolution Tower to start your civilisation

The Evolution Tower is the first building you place and the driving force behind your civilisation. The tower lets you choose new items to research at regular intervals. The research takes several minutes to complete, but you can queue the low-tier upgrades yourself or hit the automatic button, and you are guaranteed to research all of them eventually.

After you place the Evolution Tower, intelligent life begins to emerge, a life that you can control and direct. In the beginning, there are only two Nuggets, Adahy and Elu; they are your Adam and Eve on this planet, and they can do very little without your help.

The Nuggets of The Universim

The Nuggets
The Nuggets

The Nuggets are an interesting bunch; they’re neither overly smart nor completely dumb. Nuggets grow to adulthood, form relationships, have offspring, go to work, and eventually die. Furthermore, each Nugget has its stats, and some Nuggets are blessed with special stats. These stats define what kind of worker the Nugget is and what kind of upkeep they need to stay alive.

Some of the individual Nuggets have a trait that makes them move faster; some can be lazy, some eat too much, and some don’t eat much at all. Every Nugget in your settlement can be micromanaged, assigning the most suitable tasks to the most suitable Nugget. Alternatively, you can give them whatever jobs you choose and hope for the best.

Playing God is Fun

Complete quests while playing god
Complete quests while playing god.

Being a god, you have a lot to manage, and you must use your Creator’s powers and points wisely. You are given tasks based on what your Nuggets need. Some tasks include finding a lost infant Nugget or a nastier quest that involves punishing a Nugget with your creator powers.

complete research on the research tree
Complete research

Your settlement progresses through the ages, and as you complete the research, the Nuggets will construct different buildings. You can use your creator powers to make nuggets fall in love to get more nuggets. If a new house is needed, the nuggets will automatically start building it. As your research advances, you keep needing new materials and new ways to find the materials.

You can place some buildings where you want to, like water fountains and engineering buildings. However, other buildings are placed by the Nuggets, and you don’t have any say on where they build them.

Contend with Nature and Global Warming and More

A fire storm
A firestorm

The Universim shows the changing of the seasons very well. As time progresses, the seasons move through the standard four seasons. In winter, the lakes freeze over, closing down your fishing and freezing your water supply, and farms shut down. So you need to ensure your Nuggets will survive the winter and be ready when springtime comes around again.

Thorny vines attack
Thorny vines attack

Additionally, you have a lot to contend with as the natural weather elements also occur, such as rainstorms, tornados and fire. The rain isn’t too bad, but a tornado or firestorm can totally wreck your settlement. The first firestorm to ever hit my settlement took out my engineering building and damaged most of my other buildings.

My issue with that was that the engineers are the ones who repair all damaged buildings. Unfortunately, by the time I managed to rebuild my wrecked engineering building, most of my other buildings had collapsed due to lack of maintenance.

Visitors from space
Visitors from space

You can impact global warming by harvesting too many trees. It is also possible to deplete the fish population by drawing too much fish or water from the lake. As you move through the ages, you will likely see the effects of your past showing up for good or bad in the future.

Also, you have to be content with visitors from space; spaceships fly overhead and occasionally swoop down and zap unfortunate Nuggets. I’ve also had giant thorny vines pop out of the ground and lash the Nuggets; it seems The Universim is a dangerous place.

A Few Niggles

Use your god powers for good and bad
Use your god powers for good and bad

The Universim’s tagline is “What would you do with the power?

Well, after my first attempt to play the game, which only lasted an hour and a half before a fire broke out, half the settlement burnt down, and all my Nuggets started to die, I’d say I would have needed to learn how not to use the creator point randomly and save them up, which I have now.

While the game is a slow burner and takes a good while to get underway, the tutorial is useful in teaching you the basics. However, I think the tutorial is lacking in detail about the Creator powers the player has and how to use them. For instance, when the fire started on my first play of the game, I didn’t have enough creator points to use the power.

The nuggets are sleeping in their house
The nuggets are sleeping in their house.

On top of that, the way you use the actual Creator powers could be more intuitive. If you want to use a creator power there are two ways to do that.

First, you must press the Tab button to select the appropriate God Power in the bottom left corner or press and turn the middle mouse button to select the god power from the wheel. After that, you press and hold CTRL as you click on the Nugget to use said power. It’s definitely not the most natural of ways to perform a creator power, and it feels cumbersome.

Visuals, Narration and 1.0 Release

Move through the ages and grow your civilization
Move through the ages and grow your civilization.

The Universim is fully narrated, and it has amazing humour; the narrator can sometimes be cynical, sarcastic or just silly. I like how the game looks and how things change as you progress through the ages. When it rains, the screen looks like it’s got raindrops running down it. It’s a cool effect to see.

The 1.0 update brings end-game content to life with more technology to unlock in the research tree, new planets to explore, and so much more. You can launch your Nuggets into the space age if you can keep them alive long enough to get there, that is. You can also unlock more technology in the research tree, expanding your reach across the cosmos.

Finally, you can unlock the space map, colonise any number of Ice or Lava planets you want, and extend your universe.

bright and colourful graphics
Bright and colourful graphics


In ways, The Universim reminds me of Populous and Black and White god games. One thing is clear the developers have put their heart and soul into the game. While not everything is perfect I’ve enjoyed playing The Universim. Furthermore, with the procedurally generated worlds, no two playthroughs will be the same in The Universim, so there is lots of replayability.

Final Verdict: I like it a Lot  I like it a lot

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