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Build an adorable micro solar system for a hungry sun in Heliopedia

As my poor creatures have rapidly discovered, being adorable won't stop you from the dangers of rapidly escalating carbon dioxide levels in cutesy solar sandbox Heliopedia.

The latest short game from Dutch indie collective Sokpop, Heliopedia is a surprisingly dense toy solar system. After waking up the sun and feeding them enough space gunk for them to barf up a planet, you're tasked with turning a lifeless hunk of rock into a thriving ecosystem. 

You'll be scouring ice, oxygen and coal from asteroid belts to kick things off, forming an atmosphere and making the soil fertile enough for life. Every new discovery awards you with stars to unlock new items from the sun, including the vital seeds and eggs needed to kickstart life.

An ocean world

(Image credit: Sokpop)

Despite the game's typically soft Sokpop appearances, managing an entire world is rough. Every element interacts with each other, trees and plants drawing carbon out of the atmosphere, rain sprouting seeds. A full atmospheric system risks drowning your world in CO2, and unstable planetary cores may see frequent volcanic eruptions.

And yet, work hard enough, and you might just end up with a self-sustaining little world. My first is a tropical ocean pocked with volcanoes and thriving schools of fish while the second is a dense wooded swamp teeming with delightful frogs. The third, an attempt to build a baking savannah, is taking a bit more work. At any time you can feed more crap to the sun to summon a new world, though the star's appetite gets a little fussier with each fresh planet.

Heliopedia is available on Itch and Steam for £4/$5, or as part of Sokpop's Patreon where the collective has been making a game a month, every month for the past three years.

Natalie Clayton

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time—and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and having herself developed critically acclaimed small games like Can Androids Pray, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She's also played for a competitive Splatoon team, and unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.