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Plasma Preview: Perfect Combination of Robotics & Physics

Plasma is a great way to nurture the budding physicist or robotics expert inside you. The detailed tutorial and activities help you learn how to play, and let your imagination take over. There’s a lot of work and thinking involved, which isn’t for everyone. But if you push past that, the sky is literally the limit.

Plasma Preview: Perfect Combination of Robotics & Physics

Have you ever thought about building an object and having control over how it operates? Or creating a structure that responds just the way you want? If you answered yes to either (or both) of those questions, then you will enjoy Plasma. All the information you need to get started is easily accessible. After some practice sessions to warm up, you are let loose on an empty world to do as you wish.

There are several technical aspects to keep in mind and you will experiment a lot to ensure everything works properly. The learning curve is very high, and it can be discouraging if you aren’t the most technical player. If you do your best to learn and are willing to make many mistakes, Plasma will let your imagination come to life.

Plasma is currently in Early Access and is available on PC for USD 19.99.

Plasma | Reveal Trailer

Story – Build Whatever You Want

Plasma doesn’t have much of a story; even less than other simulation games such as Chef Life: A Restaurant Simulator. You first step into a new world that teaches you the basics of construction, while adjusting yourself to the various features. After giving the game a go, you are sent to your Homebase to refine your construction skills. You can then go to a new world and create freely, or explore the worlds that other players created.

While the game has potential for more story content in the future, what’s available now is still enough to occupy your time. Walking through the tutorial level and seeing the possibilities is just as engaging as a good story. You learn what’s possible and how the different features interact with each other.

Plasma is all about the possibilities you can make.

Plasma is all about the possibilities you can make.

Other than a tutorial that shows you the basics, you are on your own. There are no goals to accomplish, no quests or even landmarks to explore. It’s just you and an infinite supply of materials, going to different worlds to create whatever you wish.

The foundation of going on missions or quests is there, but it isn’t the most interesting part of the game. That would be the gameplay, which can either draw you in or repel you with its complexity.

Gameplay – Bringing Your Imagination to Life

As you see early in the tutorial, you can make a variety of creations that are limited only by your imagination. Buttons and levers make objects move, and you aren’t limited to basic movements. Structures can be built and taken apart to create the secret base you always dreamed of building. The only limitations are the current objects available to you and the settings that allow you to control objects.

More objects will arrive as Plasma adds more content, but the settings are tricky to learn. Thankfully, the tutorial stands out with its level of detail. There is a lot of information to digest, but it helps you understand the basics.

Tutorial – Clear & Detailed Explanations

There isn’t much guidance when it comes to learning how to play. Unlike games such as Rogue AI Simulator, you must go around the tutorial level and learn on your own. Detailed explanations help break down the information, and you are actively encouraged to test things out to see how it works.

You must work your way through the tutorial carefully, since it is easy to get confused if you accidentally skip steps. Concepts like moving items through the Wireframe and Reality stages will stump future construction if you don’t fully understand the difference. Proper alignment and attaching objects also isn’t as easy as snapping things together.

Detailed explanations help you understand what is going on.

Detailed explanations help you understand what is going on.

Sketches are also vital if you want your objects to interact with each other. You must make the connections that allow a button to affect an object, and it must be set to the proper parameters. Fortunately, Plasma never puts you in a situation where they don’t tell you anything vital. If it’s not listed, you likely aren’t using it in the beginning. While more advanced functions are saved for future experiments, you aren’t making the most of them without the basics.

The tutorial level also has a few videos that give you some insight into the creation process. The videos have good pacing and properly explain the reasoning behind each step. It’s easy for you to follow along, and inspires you to try out other creations in your own time.

As you adjust to the basics, you will progress to creating larger and/or more complex creations. If you ever forget something or need a reminder, you can always go back to the tutorial or Homebase. It’s useful in case it’s been a while since the last update and you need a refresher.

Experimentation – Figuring Out What to Do

Once you are comfortable making flashlights or the odd plasma cannon, it’s time to start expanding into building structures, duplicating items, or driving around on a vehicle. Experimentation is Plasma’s double-edged sword; it’s fun to explore the possibilities but it will test the limits of your patience.

There are several objects that can interact with each other if you are willing to spend time experimenting with the possibilities. Putting connections together in Sketches or testing death rays is enjoyable, especially when the result is exactly what you imagined. Unfortunately, success rarely comes the first time.

Trying to understand this at first glance is a big challenge.

Trying to understand this at first glance is a big challenge.

Advanced creations don’t have much guidance, and you are on your own unless you get help from other players. Going to other players’ worlds gives you some insight into the creation process, but you might not understand the concept on your own.

The freedom is both exhilarating and intimidating, because there aren’t many goals to work towards. You build whatever you like and spend the time figuring out why it isn’t working. It’s the perfect sandbox to practice your physics, robotics, and construction skills. But if you aren’t keen on either of those subjects, the frustration will appear after a few failures.

Plasma is an advanced sandbox where your knowledge is just as important as your creativity. If you are willing to study and invest the time, you will have a great experience. But if you aren’t willing to do so, this game will be more frustrating than enjoyable.

Audio & Visuals – Clear 3D Visuals With Quiet Sounds

Construction is a key part of this game, and the visuals must be excellent to ensure pieces are properly put together. Plasma goes above and beyond when it designs its objects, allowing you to scale objects and properly attach them to each other. While you might have to adjust the environment to see some lighting, everything is easy to see.

As a sandbox environment, there’s almost no noise other than the ambient environment. If there is noise, it’s coming from your creations like turning on a light or starting a motor. It prevents any distractions and help you figure out where any noise (or lack of it) is coming from.

Plasma was previewed on Steam with a code provided by ICO.

Plasma is a great sandbox that allows you to put your physics and robotics knowledge to use. Build the foundations of objects and structures, then create connections to make effects work as intended. There is a steep learning curve outside of the basics, but there’s an unrivaled sandbox experience if you stick with the game.
  • Freedom to build whatever you want.
  • Making proper connections is satisfying.
  • Excellent tutorial that guides you through the basics.
  • Very high learning curve for a sandbox game.
  • Little guidance for more advanced creations.

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