Combining fast-paced action with strategic battle planning, Darwinia features a novel and intuitive control mechanism, a graphical style ripped from 80's retro classics like Tron and Defender, and a story concerning a tribe of nomadic sprites trapped in a modern 3D world.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (424 reviews) - 78% of the 424 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jul 14, 2005

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Includes 2 items: Darwinia, Darwinia Soundtrack

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Includes 2 items: Darwinia, Multiwinia

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Includes 6 items: Darwinia, Uplink, DEFCON, Multiwinia, Darwinia Soundtrack, DEFCON Soundtrack

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About This Game

Combining fast-paced action with strategic battle planning, Darwinia features a novel and intuitive control mechanism, a graphical style ripped from 80's retro classics like Tron and Defender, and a story concerning a tribe of nomadic sprites trapped in a modern 3D world.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux

    Recommended: Windows XP, 600MHz CPU, 128MB RAM, DX7 based video card

    • OS: OS X version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow Leopard 10.6.3, or later.
    • Processor: Intel Core Duo 1.66GHz+
    • Memory: 1GB of RAM
    • Graphics: 64MB of video memory
    • Hard Drive:
    • Processor: 1.66Ghz
    • Memory: 1Gb
    • Graphics: 64Mb of memory
    • Hard Drive: 60Mb
Customer reviews
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Mostly Positive (424 reviews)
Recently Posted
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: June 24
Great Game!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 0.4 hrs on record )
Posted: June 4
I bought this game in a package of old games and didn't expect much from it. It provides a nostalgic gaming experience but I found it too dated to be much fun. Not really worth it, unless you can get it for ~25 cents like I did.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 1.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 4
Its not that it's super fun.

It's just the only game of it's kind.
Nothing else is fun in the way this is.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Posted: May 20
It's, uh...

This game is weird. There are no achievements or anything, so I don't really feel like I have an incentive to play it. Though, it is a fun game, when you figure it out.

I got it in a bundle with Prison Architect and a bunch of other games.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 47.8 hrs on record )
Posted: May 5
Two thumbs up.

This is the first game I ever bought on Steam, and the one I've played the most out of all my library. I've kept going back to it over the years.

I usually don't play RTS games, but I make an exception for Darwinia. I like the story behind it, the game's ethos and pathos, and its aesthetics from the graphics and audio to the presentation. I've enjoyed it so much I bought Multiwinia mostly to experience more of the world created in Darwinia.

If you haven't tried the demo out yet, at least give it a thorough playthrough to the end to get a good taste of what to expect. It's one of the best demos I've ever played.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Drew Austin
( 33.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 2
A fun little strategy game. Complete stages and unlock new technologies and troops. Most stages give you a good deal of freedom to solve in your way.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 17.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 1
The only way I know how to play this game is with Dub FX's album "Everythinks a Ripple" on repeat in the background, and if you haven't tried it, then you haven't lived.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
I Have Late Stage Parkinson's
( 0.3 hrs on record )
Posted: April 25
DON'T READ THIS. YOU WILL BE KSSED ON THENERESTPOSSIBLE FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE.TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE.NOW YOU'VE STARTED READING THS. DONT STOP. THIS IS SO FREAKY.1.say your name ten time's.2.say your mom's name five times.3.say your crushes three this to four other games.if you do this your crush will kiss you on thenearest friday.but if you read this and do not paste this you will have very bad luck.SEND THIS TO 4 GAMES IN 143 MINUTES.WHEN YOU'RE DONE PRESS F6 AND YOUR CRUSH'S NAME WILL APPEAR IN BIG LETTERS ON THE SCREEN . THIS I SO FREAKY BECAUSE IT ACTUALY WORK LOL
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 10.6 hrs on record )
Posted: April 5
The virtual world of Darwinia has been overrun with viruses. You must help the simple AI denizens of this cyberspace reclaim their home.

You do not have direct control over the cute little green Darwinians themselves. In fact, they are mostly defenseless, peacefully ignorant wanderers. You’re given a small set of programs which you can command, and you’ll use these (with the slightly unintuitive controls) to win back all the territory the green guys have lost. Defend the little green guys, though. You need them to operate the machines scattered around the landscape.

The world is an archipelago of mountainous islands which house different building that the Darwinian society needs to function. You’ll travel from level to level, recapturing them as you go, wiping out the virus infection. Your squads are not very strong, and they move rather slowly, but they are effectively infinite, because they require no resources to create. Battles are hard-fought and measured in inches gained. Forget turtling or trying to build an overwhelming army: in Darwinia you can only use a few units at a time.

The cyberspace world is rendered in interesting triangular graphics which really set this game apart from most others. It took a little getting used to, because often hills and valleys can sometimes be completely covered in shadow. But the two-dimensional Darwinians have so much character, even though they don’t really do that much. You will grow attached to them, not individually but as a group. Losing some to an avoidable mistake is heartbreaking, and you’ll want to protect them from harm, even though they are easily replaced.

Exploring and conquering this world is an adventure you won’t soon forget. Each level is unique, every battle a story. While the game can play a little slowly at times, and there is no way to pause it in the conventional sense, these are minor problems. This is a great little strategy game, like nothing that has come before, and nothing that has been made since.

Darwinia is a game about a peaceful civilization rising up and retaking their homeland. It is a story of a creator underestimating his creation. The open-ended way the missions are designed allows you to write your own legends. Most strategy games reward balancing resource gathering and shoring up defensive positions; Darwinia does away with all of that in exchange for a simpler, more fun interpretation of a commander leading his army. I highly recommend everyone check this game out.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
56 of 59 people (95%) found this review helpful
25.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 19, 2014
Darwinia is one of my favorite games of all time. So it gets an obvious reccomendation from me. There is a lot going on with Darwinia and I've never played anything like it. It's one of those types of games that is really hard to describe, and you can only really understand after playing it for a bit. It's a weird game to get into at first. But once you get past the first two or so levels and understand what's going on it really takes off.

So basically what's going on with this game is your thrown into a level, and your given a few goals to complete the level. There are a lot of different objectives in the game, but most of the time your goal is to kill all the enemies on the map, and move your little Darwinians to key locations. What's really nice about the levels is all tools the game gives you tie in together in really clear ways. You make soilders to kill enemies and create souls, the engineers retrieve the souls and bring them to the soul collector to generate new darwininans, and the Darwinians interact with the map and you don't have direct control over them. It all comes together really well.

My favorite part about the game though is how much freedom you get. It sounds weird but let me explain. Darwinia perfectly lets you experience it at your own pace, and in your own way. There's so many ways to handle each situation in the game, and you're encouraged to handle it any way you want to. You can be super effiecient and try to carefully mine every enemies' soul, or you can do things more crazy and charge in with air strikes. Both are valid strategies in Darwinia. You can try spam engineers to take over a semi-hostile base and raise hell from inside the enemy territory, or you can enter from the shores and work your way in. The game doesn't care which way you do it. Nothings timed, nothings scored. And I love that. Because if you had a score, or a time limit it means you'd have to play the game in the most effient way, but without those things I felt more encouraged to try out crazier ideas, or ideas that I knew were just stupid, but its ok because it's fun. And that's what Darwinia encourages. It's all free. But it's more than just that. The game let's you jump into and out of levels at anytime and it you'll be able to jump right back into exactly where you left off instantly. You can acess more than one level at once so if you get bored or stuck on one level, you can jump out and start working on another level. It's great! Probably my absolute favorite part about Darwinia is how free the camera is, and that's a really weird thing to say, but lemme explain. The camera in Darwinia is very free. You can move it to any location, and look at anything from almost any angle. It's almost like a camera you'd see in an editor of some sort. But it really really works in Darwinia. Because the camera is so free it really makes the game feel like a world that's actively happening, and you're just interacting with it. Almost like a little toybox world, or at least that's how it makes me feel anyway.

With the camera, and entire game giving you so much freedom, and a lot of the units do things on their own in this game, ontop of the very simple art style(which is perfect for this game), and the great ambience the sounds create, I felt like I could get really immersed into game. I liked to put the camera at dramatic angles and imagine all sorts of adventures and stories as things were happening. I've taken more screenshots in this game than any other. So basically what I'm getting at, is if you like to imagine weird stuff or like to get really immersed into a game both strategically and artistically, then this game does the trick.

And the game has a level editor and mod creator. Yeah. ♥♥♥♥in sweet. This is one of those games that I have NO idea why this isn't more popular. And the story is really weird and cool. And it's really existential and you are an active part of the story... like you the person sitting at their computer, not you the player in the game. It's a bit weird, and I didnt really understand what was going on for awhile. But I really like that kind of stuff so the plot I really really liked.

So final reccomendations: Definity get this game. It's amazing. It really really appeals to what I like personally, so you probably wont think it's the most amazing thing like I do, but I think you'll definitly have fun. Don't get it if you don't think you'll be able to handle the controls. Darwinia can also be really weird difficult to understand at first so if you're not willing to do that, then you probably wont enjoy it either.

Anyway, love this game. Personal favorite. And it's $10. So no excuses. That's less than a movie, or dinner at a nice restaurant.
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29 of 30 people (97%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Posted: August 17, 2013
Hard to describe this game, apart from it being so damn good and unique.

It has a lemmings feel to it. Great hacker vibe. Challenging. Great style. Amazingly fun mechanics that you just have to try to convince yourself.

Try to survive and evolve.

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22 of 22 people (100%) found this review helpful
31.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 11, 2013
It is hard to put a label on Darwinia, as it has elements from action, strategy, hacker, puzzle and God games. The graphic style is also quite unique, with the retro style mixed in colorful 3D.
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19 of 19 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
8.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 30, 2014
It's fun!

The retro, polygonal graphics, (tasteful) chiptune soundtrack, and overall atmosphere are really interesting to experience. The gameplay is fun in a non-frustrating way - it's hard to get into a position where you lose, and even if you aren't employing the optimal strategy for a level, given enough time, you will be able to beat each stage in different ways. I rarely got frustrated with this game and never really felt bored, even though a lot of the gameplay isn't necesarilly that complex. The story doesn't dominate the experience, but the brief sections where you learn more about Darwinia are definitely rewarding.

Overall, all these little details don't really matter in the face of the fact that I constantly was entertained while playing this game and never really felt bad, something that even modern games don't necesarilly provide.

If you're expecting a complex RTS, this is not that game. Think of it as more of "digital weeding", as you slowly and carefully purge the viruses through each stage using a variety of tools.
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17 of 17 people (100%) found this review helpful
39.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 15, 2015
This is the only strategy game I feel good when playing. Normally, strategy games are either so insultingly easy you steamroll the enemies without really working out a plan, or complicated enough that I don't understand what's going on when I'm suddenly wiped out.
This game isn't like either of those! There are challenging moments, frustrating events, hilarious little quirks, and of course, beautiful digital environments, but all in all, the game is really genuinely fun to play. I just wish there was more to do, since it ends so quickly.
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15 of 16 people (94%) found this review helpful
19.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 19, 2014
An absolutely wonderful casual game. You dont need the latest and greatest hardware to play this one on the road. It doesn't eat your laptop's battery for breakfast. The 8-bit sound track is awesome, gives it that retro feel, it only enhances the game play. As for the graphics, love the volumetric effects and the old looking shadow effects. Very engaging, on the edge of your seat as you get attacted from all sides just trying to keep ahead of the battle.

Bought this originally on CD-ROM when it came out. I'm glad Steam released it on OS X. Brings back the early 2000's.

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13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
51.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 18, 2014
I don't know what compelled me to even buy this since I can't stand RTS games generally, but it didn't take long before Darwinia became one of my all-time favorites. Something in the way it's presented just made sense to me, and I found the context to be especially endearing.

Part of what really appealed to me was how simple and straightforward everything was: soldiers shoot stuff, engineers build stuff, etc. Even the upgrade options, in the context of file updates (v2.0), made everything feel more accessible. The game code is mercifully stable for an "indie" game and I found myself wasting hours defeating every last enemy and making sure that every uninhabited piece of land was repopulated. I frequently found myself rooting for individual scouts and soldiers that bravely out-maneuvered their enemies. It really says something about a game that can make you feel so attached to its literal pixels.

The excellent score and sound effects coupled with the game's relaxingly retro aesthetic have proven great for replayability, making Darwinia a world I'm happy to revisit often. 9/10.
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13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
21.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 22, 2014
Darwinia is hard to describe. It's part RTS, part god game one could say. You are in charge of protecting and restoring the Darwinian population, however you can't directly control them, although the officer tool does make up for that fact. Instead you spawn in several programs to assist the little guys in order to destroy the red virus that has infected their world.

The gameplay is pretty solid, and becomes massively fun during the fights where you get to utilize your Darwinians. Having two massive forces collide and duke it out while you influence the battle field with your programs is something not many games capture too well.

Speaking of the Darwinians, they are the stars of this game. They are important for manning buildings, turrets, and eventually the main fighting force at your disposal. They have a few things they do that adds a nice little touch, such as jumping into the air when a mission is complete, or mourning over the loss of a fallen comrade. The story brags about how smart these guys are, but they don't do much that isn't scripted. They really come to life in battle however, their digital screams, panic, and blaring war trumpets and marching tunes give them character.

The story is servicable, although nothing groundbreaking. They thankfully allow you to skip through it if you aren't that interested, although I soaked in as much as I could. If your a sap like me, you'll grow fond of the little guys, otherwise the gameplay should suffice.

All in all, the game is great fun and a blast to play. It took me around 6 hours to beat on one playthrough. Beating it will give you a level editor to muck around in and another profile with all locations enabled, so you can edit to your heart's content. Some would argue it's a little short, and I feel like it could have a few more levels, but what it does offer is more than worth it's price tag.
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13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
10.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 26, 2013
The lackluster trailer, uninspiring description, and graphically deficient screenshots for Darwinia made me gloss over this game for years. And for whatever reason, I decided to give it a test drive. The game does not disappoint. It's a really fun, simplistic RTS. The developers have stripped out all the typical complexities of a traditional RTS and provide extremely intuitive controls making it manageable fun that does not overwhelm. The story is quite good as well--a creative evolution of a digital species. Very enjoyable.
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9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 22, 2014
"Fascinatingly charming" is how I'd describe this game. The retro graphics are vaguely evocative of Tron, and the enemies and characters are all subtle references/homages to video games and video game culture of the mid-to-late 80s and early 90s. There are Spiders and Centipedes reminiscent of Centipede, the Engineers which are evocative of Recognizers from Tron, even the Bombers that respond to Air Strike beacons look like they're right out of Space Invaders.

The Darwinians themselves are adorable. Though they have no animations and are simple 2D sprites in a 3D world, they manage to demonstrate a lot of personality. From the little mourning kites they release when souls ascend to the Central Repository, to the way Officer Darwinians chant out a marching cadence when issuing a "Follow Me" order, to the screams of horror and pain Darwinians have when terrorized with explosive weaponry and laser fire, you can't help but feel a little for the little guys.

As far as gameplay goes, it's very intuitive and usually pretty solid, some camera wonkiness aside. Managing a Squad is simple (Everything you can do aside from secondary-weapon switching is handled with two buttons) and intelligent use of Squads forms the cornerstone of gameplay. The game doesn't punish you for failure - replacing Squads is as easy as hitting F1, then clicking within a valid spawning area. You're encouraged to replace your Squaddies often and try out different tactics to accomplish your goals. All of the other units you can control are similarly uncomplicated, and the game gives you plenty of room to learn without holding your hand and beating you over the head with forced tutorials.

Darwinia encourages freedom of choice and lateral thinking in ways I haven't seen a lot of games do - stages are frequently nonlinear and the objectives can be accomplsihed in any order. Often times, you're simply thrown into a stage and challenged to figure out your own method for victory. Do you burmush your objectives or methodically wipe out the virus infestation between you and your target? Do you take your foes head-on, or can you sneak an Engineer around to a different comm port and use it as a second beachhead? Do you carefully avoid enemies in order to get a shot on a particularly annoying foe unopposed, or do you just carve your way in?

All in all, Darwinia's one of the most refreshing tactical games I've had the pleasure of playing, and I heartily recommend it for anyone who enjoys a little old school nostalgia, adorable faux-retro graphical charm, and solid gameplay.
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