A game about natural selection vies for survival on Greenlight
Created by a team of four selfdescribed “biology nerds” from Zurich, Switzerland, Niche is a turnbased strategy game about genetic inheritance and survival. Players must try to stave off extinction for their tribe of evolving creatures and ensure the species proves genetically successful.
“Niche’s ruleset is built on the five scientific pillars of population genetics: genetic drift, gene flow, natural selection, sexual selection, and mutation,” explains Philomena
Schwab, recent Zurich University Of The Arts graduate and one quarter of the core Niche team. “The player commands their animal tribe, manages the resources and chooses which animals should produce offspring together.”
The resultant pups will exhibit a mix of their parents’ characteristics, which in turn define their ability to interact with what they encounter in the world. Like all of us, these cute critters are lumbered with a limited lifespan, which makes guiding your species’ trajectory all the more important as you seek to adapt and find an ecological niche in which to live. It’s a teleological slant on natural selection, then, but one that’s based on real scientific principles.
The harsh reality of nature is offset by the game’s soft pastel palette and charming creature designs. Inspired by boardgames, Niche’s inhabitants initially sported a carved-wood look, but the need to imbue offspring with genetic fur colours and patterns meant a switch to what you see here.
The team took to Steam Greenlight in January and plans to move into Early Access later in the year, aiming for a final release in late 2016/early 2017. In the meantime, you can try the PC/Mac demo now: www.bit.ly/niche-demo.