Under the Radar – G.R.E.E.N. The Life Algorithm

G.R.E.E.N. The Life Algorithm (Estacion Pi – PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch) Release: September 2019

What if plants ruled the world?

2D action/adventure game, G.R.E.E.N., The Life Algorithm explores how the world would look if it were overrun by genetically altered vegetation. In this Metroidvania-inspired adventure, we’re introduced to the beautiful, if not, slightly terrifying capabilities of what Mother Nature can achieve when sprinkled with a little science.

G.R.E.E.N.’s story follows a group of scientists who dream of ending world hunger. In their quest to make the world a better place, the scientists create ‘The Life Algorithm’ – a process in which vegetation growth is vastly accelerated. However, rather than simply create an improved species of fast-growing plants, the genetically modified vegetation actually evolves into sentient monsters whose reign quickly sees the collapse of human civilisation. Very few people escape the catastrophic events that follow, yet a small group known as A.W.S. (Advanced Withering System) are able to create an artificial desert that is capable of repelling the plants’ attacks. In G.R.E.E.N., players will begin their journey seventeen years later, when the A.W.S. is showing signs of failure, putting remaining survivors in grave danger.

Despite its hostile setting, G.R.E.E.N. does not allow you to kill anything. Instead, the developer wants players to focus on using the environment to their advantage in order to traverse each area. The game’s trailer demonstrates some useful abilities that’ll help you with this challenge. Your character will be able to petrify enemies and jump on them to reach higher portions of the levels, and you’ll also be able to shoot projectiles to transform them into temporary platforms. Some of these interactions will feature puzzles that you’ll need to solve in order to advance to explore the selection of diverse ecosystems on offer.

Experience the dark side of nature

Created by indie game developer, Estacion Pi, G.R.E.E.N. is in development, against all odds. The studio formed in 2017 with the idea for G.R.E.E.N. in mind, making this is their first project. One thing that makes this title particularly interesting is that it’s Kickstarter project was only launched at the end of May 2019. With 112 backers, reaching over £1,600 between them, the game fell shy of its £12,900 goal, yet it is still scheduled to release in September this year. According to G.R.E.E.N.’s Steam page, it’s also “the first videogame in Latin America to implement Tensorflow and ML-Agents of Unity tools for enemy intelligence.”. Simply speaking, this means that enemy encounters should be somewhat unpredictable as a result of the combination of machine learning and behaviour trees that Estacion Pi has implemented in the game. In theory, this should keep interactions feeling fresh and interesting and should avoid players getting too complacent when faced with a familiar plant.

If you’re a fan of 2D Metroidvania titles and happen to also enjoy the punchy tones of the Synthwave/RetroWave genre, you’ll want to keep an eye on G.R.E.E.N., The Life Algorithm over the next couple of months. Releasing on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch, Estacion Pi are determined for the game to launch this Autumn, so stay tuned for further announcements on their progress via their Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels. We’re intrigued by what the developer has shown of G.R.E.E.N. so far and are interested to see how comprehensive the game’s reactive intelligence really is.

Written for the August 2nd issue of DailyBits.