We’re getting another free Vita game from Sony! Sony’s giving North America Ecolibrium this week! It’s a Valentine’s Day surprise for all! Though, Ecolibrium isn’t as awesome as it could be due to the microtransaction barrier. Still, who cares? It’s a game. It’s free. It’s coming to the Vita on February 12, 2013. That is good enough for me.
Ecolibrium is a life sim. Players are in charge of an ecosystem and their goal is to add plants, animals and artefacts to a preselected area in the hopes they can get everything balanced so it can sustain itself. You can play all relaxed, doing what you want, or you can get really into it and start using Near and such to seek out new animals, trade with other Ecolibrium players or go against other people online to see who can reach a certain environmental goal most efficiently first.
Here’s the Ecolibrium trailer, so you can see what it’s like to manage your ecosystem, keeping all the plants and animals happy.
As you can see, it’s rather simplistic. The creature hunting with GPS is pretty cool. Still, it’s one of those games that could be considered pretty basic and it’s probably for the best that Ecolibrium is free because I’m not sure how many people would pick it up otherwise.
I have to admit that I’m torn about Ecolibrium. I love the title and the price, but so much time has passed since it was released in the European and Australian PlayStation Stores in September 2012. Also, it succumbs to the same pitfall as many other free-to-play games. It isn’t really free-to-play. While people can acquire new animals, artefacts and plants by playing Ecolibrium, it takes a really long time. That’s because mst of these things cost tokens. You can earn them, but like many other games, you’ll reach a point where it’d take hours to earn them and seconds to spend real money and buy some more. Even if you do cave and buy tokens, people are still limited in how much they can do at a time. Like many Facebook games, doing things in Ecolibrium depletes a player’s energy, which can conveniently be refilled if someone’s willing to pay real money.
Probably the best thing to do is download Ecolibrium on Tuesday and test it out. Get a feel for the sim and see how you feel about it. If you think it’s worth your money, then go ahead and play for a while. If you can’t see yourself seriously playing it at least once a week over an extended stretch of time or for two or three weeks daily, then keep it as a casual amusement that you never spend real money on, but occasionally play when you remember it’s on your system.