Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
Buy On
  1. 88
    Darwinia is great gaming. It makes me smile. My eyes rejoice at the sight of it.
  2. It's a brilliant and addictive experience that's unlike anything you've played before.
  3. Game Informer
    This may not be a revolution in gaming, but as a fresh premise and interesting gameplay for $30, even with some flaws packed in, isn't a bad deal in my book. [July 2006, p.109]
  4. One of the most unique games that I have played in a while. If you are looking for a unique game that isn’t just a “cookie cutter” of the most popular game out there, then look no further than this game.
  5. It's obvious that developers Introversion don't have a huge budget but they managed to create a minimalist masterpiece that any gamer with an imagination can appreciate.
  6. A campaign of just a handful of missions doesn’t last long, but an active mod community helps offset that. Nonetheless, Darwinia stands above most games in design as an essential title for the PC.
  7. Darwinia is, all told, wonderful. It's the kind of game that would show impressionable young kids the breadth and scope of the medium without overwhelming them with mechanics.
  8. Forget games with real-time physics. This is one has real-time metaphysics. It's this year's underground classic, this year's "Rez," this year's "Ico," this year's... well, this year's Darwinia. It's a game that justifies your sense of your brilliance and gaming' sense of brilliance.
  9. I just about guarantee you’ve not experienced a game like this before, and while it stumbles in its gameplay, it soars in its style and whimsy.
  10. 90
    Darwinia isn't just a good game. More importantly, it's a place you've never been.
  11. Darwinia 's weird, but it might well not be your kind of weird.
  12. Darwinia is immersive, with a quality mix between unique game play and off-the-wall graphics. This title isn’t particularly successful, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the elements that Introversion has brought to the table appear in future RTS titles.
  13. games(TM)
    The action-RTS tomfoolery is remarkably compelling once you get a feeling for the basics... Darwinia is proof that you don’t need huge budgets and flashy visuals to make a decent title. [Apr 2005, p.112]
  14. Edge Magazine
    Where most games are built out of wood, bullets and money, Darwinia has an unapologetically spiritual vision, its geeky god presiding over a world which dares to make an imagined religion into a ruleset. That in some places it falls short of its ambitions is not what makes this game important. [March 2005, p.82]
  15. PC Gamer
    Guaranteed fun for strategy fans of all ages, but especially retro gamers. [July 2005, p.68]
  16. 100
    The visuals are simple yet strikingly effective. The core gameplay is manageable, yet effectively complex. A game like this isn’t produced by huge teams with tons of money. Those kinds of games (god bless ‘em) are pure craft. Darwinia is art.
  17. Sadly, the bugs I encountered during the game (especially with the way the graphics engine started chugging so severely in the later levels) really hurt my experience, and the action just eventually ended up being reduced to using the same strategy over and over again.
  18. AceGamez
    It's a beautiful mix of everything we love in retro gaming and everything we're capable of having with modern technology, truly a match made in virtual heaven!
  19. Play Magazine
    Darwinia really has to be seen and heard in fully appreciate how effective the presentation is. [Jan 2006, p.56]
  20. Pelit (Finland)
    So stylish it looks like art, but surprisingly it is also a very good game. [Apr. 05]
  21. 90
    Darwinia deserves to be remembered as one of 2005's most creative games on any platform.
  22. After learning to take Darwinia in bite-sized pieces – say 45 to 60 minutes a time – it didn’t take long for me to begin to anticipate playing it.
  23. 75
    It has a completely unique style, both in the audio, sound and gameplay departments that cannot be easily compared to anything else.
  24. The way the game adds small increments – a new move or weapon or task has been brilliantly devised and all the time you are playing you get help and feedback from a chap that looks not unlike Mr Clive Sinclair – you have to have been around in the 8 bit days to appreciate this.
  25. The lack of "Game Over" is a delightful incentive for continued play, and despite no fear of defeat, Darwinia still contains a considerable array of challenges to overcome.
  26. We’re left with a fairly annoying RTS title full of niggling and frustrating bugs, poor design decisions, and pathfinding that has dripped directly from the nose of Satan himself.
  27. If you can get past the lack-luster graphics and the moderately annoying controls then you will be able to really enjoy this title. Do to the somewhat awkward controls I can not say that this game is a “must have”, but I would have to say that if you are looking for a game that is not too heavy or serious then you might want to take a look at this one.
  28. Darwinia will remind you that videogames can be an art form as well as great entertainment.
  29. It’s a game that has ideas and refuses to be diluted by mediocrity. These days that’s a rare and brave thing to do.
  30. A gorgeous, character-packed curio that combines strategy and arcade action with great aplomb. An essential purchase for nostalgics. [PC Gamer UK]
  31. PC Format
    A new classic. It will change every gaming instinct you have. [March 2005, p.110]
  32. netjak
    If you are jaded from too many of the same old RTS games or even if you just want to play an innovative game for a change, then Darwinia is definitely one you should look into and with a demo readily available, there really isn’t a good reason to not give it a try.
  33. 95
    Darwinia is the most refreshing, beautiful, frustrating, compelling and dare I say it original game I've had the pleasure of playing in many a year.
  34. It's graphics are unconventional and don't play the max polycount/photorealism game, but they're truly beautiful.
  35. Play this game long enough, and you'll believe there are souls in your computer, living simple, stark, beautiful lives.
  36. 95
    Darwinia is a game unlike any other, with a mixture of gameplay elements that have been thrust together forming one glorious gameplay experience that has to be played to be believed.
  37. Darwinia is certainly “unique” and “original”. It’s a shame it’s not very “fun”.
  38. If anything, it reminds us that ridiculous production values and high-powered rigs aren't always necessary to make a game that's just plain fun.
  39. My props go out to Introversion for developing such an amazingly original and incredible game. Just goes to show, you don’t need a few million dollars for a budget to create a classic hit.
  40. In plain English, don’t ask, "What’s it like?"- Just buy it, play it, and spread the word to anyone you know who’s a gamer about it by any legal means necessary.
  41. 80
    Despite the fact some may find the concept of mouse gestures a little irritating at first, and the path-finding somewhat of a pain, those that persevere will be rewarded with some solid interactive entertainment.
  42. Darwinia is revolutionary and groundbreaking.
  43. They nailed the user interface and playability. It's addicting. They made it for PC, MAC and Linux. And they are Independent Developers. Sounds like a solid “A” to me.
  44. Darwinia’s action can get repetitive, though no less addictive, and its AI issues can drag it down, but on the whole this is a refreshing game created with a pure love of gaming. Its unique interface and gameplay design set is apart from anything out there. The game’s appeal will no doubt be greatest with retro fans but its reach stretches to every gamer.
  45. The graphics in Darwinia while a throwback to times past, are superb.
  46. While the incredibly stylish graphics will be the initial draw, you’ll stick around for one of the greatest examples of pure gameplay this side of the aforementioned "Katamari Damacy."
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 130 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 96 out of 130
  2. Negative: 18 out of 130
  1. Jan 28, 2012
    In the first five minutes, you will realize that this game offers close to zero instruction on how to play, and its in-story helpIn the first five minutes, you will realize that this game offers close to zero instruction on how to play, and its in-story help mode/tutorial are deplorable examples thereof. Then, about 30 minutes into the game you will realize that the path finding is probably the absolute worst in any game you have ever played. The controls and operational methods are so inadequate and poor that you will wonder if this is the result of a bug (or many bugs), or even if the game has been installed correctly. Proceeding past the second mission without help is impossible. Because Darwinia does not explain itself to the player, you will be forced to search on Google for help and explanations, as this is the only way to make sense out of this presentational disaster. Further, because many aspects of the game are obscured by terrible presentation choices, you will feel as if the game does not allow you to play it. You will not know how to do several things that are required to achieve many of the mission objectives, thanks to the developer's choice in being vague and uninformative. The goals in Darwinia are explained so badly, that once again, I imagine that this portion of the game is also among the worst in any game I have played. The developers clearly did not have any care in designing a game that is intuitive, user friendly, and enjoyable. The feeling is that Darwinia is simply not complete, nor is it fully operable by the user. It is as if there are numerous amounts of game play that were not done to completeness, leaving the player at a loss and in frustration. In addition to the aforementioned problems, you can not save during a mission. The game does all the saving for you, after you complete each mission objective and at other seemingly random moments. This means, that you sometimes have to restart a mission from the very beginning, if something does not go according to plan. This is totally unacceptable. If the rest of the game was better suited, this saving problem would not bother me as much. The responsiveness of your units is atrocious. Ordering the units and Darwinians around is quite problematic, as they simply do not respond as they should, nor are they very useful to your commands. The processes required to order them around are tedious, slow, and unresponsive. They have such a difficult time maneuvering around the map, it's disgruntling. These shortcomings are so major, that enjoying the game as a whole is an arduous chore as you progress through the missions. Slowly, as you learn to endure Darwinia's league of problems, there are minor and sparse hints of quality gaming behind it all. Achieving the mission objectives as you hurdle past the developmental shortcomings and obstacles can give the player feelings of accomplishment and relief, since Darwinia is so inefficient and unfriendly. After all, this takes more work than it is fun. The creativity from the developers is undeniably present. The plot and storyline are original, going along well with the artwork and aesthetic style. Each map is basic, but they do have their stylistic charms. The missions can be repetitive, but at least they make sense in relation to the story. Unfortunately for the developers, creativity does not equal a quality product. There is a serious and widely known bug that will not allow you to deploy new units to the map, and the only way around it is to quit and restart the game. There are also some placement glitches that mysteriously do not allow you to deploy units. Darwinia is all about being an annoyance, a bother, a bore; a game with severe flaws that barely works or provides the player with anything remotely enjoyable. It is an incredibly tedious and inconvenient game. You will be spending your time and money better elsewhere. Full Review »
  2. Ross
    May 12, 2006
    I just cannot see what all the jumping up and down is for. All these 8's and 9's, for a game where you cannot actually fail? Where I just cannot see what all the jumping up and down is for. All these 8's and 9's, for a game where you cannot actually fail? Where is the challenge in that? To me it was just a fairly entertaining way to pass several tens of hours doing exactly the same thing over and over. In the end I got bored and it now just languishes morosely in my steam window. If you want existentialism with decent challenging gameplay, go download Mistake of Pythagoras mod for Half Life 2. Its free and actually worth dedicating hours of your life to. Full Review »
  3. Oct 27, 2013
    Cannon Fodder mixed with Tron. Fantastic atmosphere and brilliantly stylized visuals. Recommended for everyone who likes a good blast and anCannon Fodder mixed with Tron. Fantastic atmosphere and brilliantly stylized visuals. Recommended for everyone who likes a good blast and an interest in the cyber. Full Review »