Chaotic Era, one of Polygon’s most anticipated indie titles of 2021, was released on Thursday for PC and Macintosh. A debut title from Toronto-based developer Bobby Technology, the game is described as an “atmospheric strategy game inspired by classic science fiction,” following a crew of human colonists in the late 28th century who flee a war-torn solar system to find themselves stranded on a hostile alien world.
To survive, players will have to build bases, allocate energy reserves to maintain life support, build weapons and defenses, explore the planet, and fend off its hostile inhabitants. The game features procedurally generated solar systems, allowing players to traverse new environments filled with unique enemies and challenges to interact with. The game is currently in Early Access, with additional updates and content set to be released later throughout the year.
The main thing that immediately distinguishes Chaotic Era apart from its sci-fi RTS contemporaries is the game’s distinctive art style; a minimalist latticework of sleek wire-frames, pulsing topographic texture maps, and white hot explosions. Chaotic Era’s UI design takes cues from the in-universe computer graphics of sci-fi films like Alien, Blade Runner, and Total Recall, drawing inspiration from that abstract yet distinct aesthetic and translating it into an interface that is as pleasing to look at as it is gratifying to manipulate.
Having had a bit of time to play around with it myself, the game feels at once like combination of a resource management RTS in the vein of Introversion Software’s Darwinia and the combat of Ritual Entertainment’s Dawn of War series, and an aesthetic sibling to the experimental games like 2017’s mobile space exploration game Verreciel.
Chaotic Era is available to purchase on Itch.io for $4.99 USD on PC and Mac and is scheduled to be released on Steam, iOS, and Android later this year.