Strategy games in general have a well defined set of rules, and the ones that risk trying to bring something new to the table are as rare as a solar eclipse. Genesis Rising, a title made by the not-so-well-known Metamorf Studios, tries to change some things regarding the space strategies and refresh the genre. Even though it offers some new and innovative ideas, it can only be met with skepticism by RTS fans.
In Genesis Rising you assume the role of Iconah, the commander of a fleet of organic spaceships sent on a special mission to find the Universal Heart; meanwhile, you are also trying to find your father, who was lost while searching for the same artifact. The Universal Heart stands at the foundation of an entire religion. Some time ago, when humanity was near extinction, a martyr rose and united all humans during a time of war. Thanks to him, humanity regained its place in the universe, becoming even stronger than before. The Universal Heart is the place from which all things were created, and from which it was said that the savior gained his strength. So the commander Iconah is sent to the last unexplored place in the universe (the last frontier, we might say) to find the Universal Heart which would grant the human race supremacy over the universe. In short, the story is your typical Sci-Fi fare with some clichés and exaggerations (“last unexplored location in the universe”?!) without really offering anything out of the ordinary, so it’s not the best thing that this game has to offer.
Concerning the gameplay, Genesis Rising unfortunately is a mixed bag. First off, I have to admit that this game has some interesting ideas, which I could actually call innovations, a word used scarcely lately. The innovative idea of Genesis Rising is the introduction of organic ships named Organids. The use of organic ships brings two big benefits: using blood as a unique resource and being able to upgrade your ships using genes. Blood represents the life of ships, being at the same time the element used in the production of new ships, weapons and genes. Reducing a complicated resource/gather model to a single resource makes the wait time for collecting resources smaller and also adds the fact that every enemy ship destroyed can be considered a new source of income.
The genes are an interesting addition, giving depth to the game. They are split in 7 categories: short range, long range, cripplers, boosters, warps, abilities and special items. Short range weapons are mainly represented by lasers, while the long range ones are projectiles and rockets (guided or not) which can be used at considerably long ranges. Cripplers are weapons meant to slow down the opponents in battles; i.e.: putting to sleep an enemy unit for a short period of time. Boosters represent defense abilities: the use of shields or cleansing the ships from negative effects. Abilities increase the ship attributes, such as speed, or offer new attributes like the ability to conquer enemy bases.
Genes are the “common” technology in Genesis Rising – each new race that you came across, besides the difference in ship and base architecture, will have new types of genes. The player can obtain new technology (genes) by diplomatic measures – trading with the races considered friendly – or simply by the destruction of a hostile enemy ship that has the desired genes.