The Polynomial

By: ithamore

On: December 18th, 2010

I first played Dmytry Lavrov’s The Polynomial (and enjoyed it for an hour or so) a year ago after it was posted as an earlier build on the blog. Now I’ve rediscovered its latest rendition while I was searching for a new indie game to play, and I’m quite happy to be reacquainted with it and to experience all its new improvements. The video above explains most of the basics, so you could just watch it if you don’t feel like reading the rest of the review of this tripy, gorgeous game.

The Ploynomial is still a space sim FPS, but the ameoba-like enemies of the past, which are now called ghosts, are helpful allies being consumed by a new, antagonistic force of angry, Chain Chomp-ish enemies called Nom-Noms. It has also been updated with wormholes, clusters called flowers, music, the ability to add your own music, some music analysis, and lots of procedural eye candy. As a music game, it plays like an interactive audiovisualizer with a complex scoring system (the music doesn’t yet effect the gameplay beyond subjectivity), but it is the best audiovisualize I’ve experienced (interactive or not), and it beautifully appeals to my sci-fi pallet.

The core of the game is its scoring system However, the hi-scores for the Steam and non-Steam versions are separated from each, but that is being worked on. There are different categories for reaching a top 10 rank within 1, 5, 20, and 60 minutes and within a single life. The most unique of which are efforts at failure: deaths, ghosts eaten, and ghosts shot.

An other nice feature of the game is how customizable it is. A multitude of mathematical editions can be made to the arenas, the visuals can be tweaked in many ways (including entering values out of sliders’ ranges), different 3D display methods are supported, and settings can be changed in-game by bringing up the menu.

The demos for The Polynomial are very generous: indefinite play, 11 pre-made arenas, any .ogg file can be played as the BMG, and all changes made in the menu are saved except for those made with the editor. The full version adds MP3 support and more pre-made areanas, and it unlocks saving.

Be sure to try the demo before buying the game. Their are some people in the Steam forums for The Polynomial who have ran into problems with the game based on their outdated OS or hardware specs, since much of the games graphics are procedurally generated.

As for the variety of demos, Mac users have a choice between a Steam and non-Steam version, the Linux version of the demo is only available from Lavrov, and Windows users can only get it from Steam.

Lavrov plans to improve and add to the game according to the input he receives. So, please play The Polynomial and give him your opinions and impressions. For future updates, he is working on adding more game modes and different enemies, and there are plans to make the music influence enemy spawning.

  • Anonymous

    If you've decided to drive me away before your voice talent has completed the first sentence of your ad copy, then congratulations: you have achieved (a certain kind of) underground cred.

  • Christian Knudsen

    About time somebody made a game based on the ending of 2001…

  • esq

    The mic is an accepted input? That would mean you can beatbox or sing or whatever and watch what happens from that, I take it. Very interesting, another way to play with the game…

  • anonymouse

    Does anyone else see that the “Recent Comments” on the front page is marked in Swedish?

  • anonymouse

    That's weird; now they're back in English….

  • RazzRox

    This looks really neat.

  • Apnea

    That talking person sounds bored. Or sleepy.

    The game seems nice. I did a double take when the first shots were fired, cause up to that point I was lured into thinking this might be about something else than competitive massacre. Oh well.

  • drugon

    Dmytry, not Dymtry.

  • Viridian

    This reminds me of Unity, the game Jeff Minter was working on that um…was basically this. Playscapes generated from the music using abstract, mathematically-generated objects. Shooting or not, as you wish.

    He canned it for Space Giraffe (shudder). I'm glad someone else has taken up the torch.

  • J. Kyle Pittman

    Just a heads-up, this is 75% off on Steam today.

  • UnrealClock


  • PhasmaFelis

    What are you bitching about exactly? Seriously I can't even tell