I know this review is probably more than a little late, now that the sequel to this game is out. But hey, I am getting points to advance my account level in GameSpot, so...
Sometimes, a games developer doesn't need massive funding to make a good game. The right idea and programming just suffice. Darwinia is one such game.
The odd, seemingly vector-based graphics come as off-putting at first, though I realized later that it was intended, as shown by some non-vector graphics such as some much prettier glittering trees present in some of the earlier levels.
The storyline isn't very new of course; it's like a cross between Tron's and Lemmings' story, though it is quite well propped up by Dr. Sepuldeva's text messages and narration (too bad they aren't voiced). Even so, it's hard not to find the simple-looking but actually complex Darwinians quite endearing. Their viral enemies are quite remarkable too, despite being made of simple jaggy polygons.
Another attraction of the game is the obvious pop-culture references, such as some of the viral enemies that resemble the Snake in Snake games, and the Airstrike vessels that are clearly a rip-off of Space Invaders (though they are very impressive rip-offs).
The controls of the initial retail version is plain bad. However, the developers go the extra mile in revamping the controls with subsequent patches, which goes to show their dedication to making a good game.
Overall, Darwinia is a very enchanting game, and have much greater worth than its low price tag and small hard disk space requirement suggest.