Digitising board games is a thing now.
It makes sense. As much as I love getting together with my fellow board game enthusiasts for a day of flinging tokens, cards and minis around, it seems like it takes planetary conjunction and the will of many gods to allow our schedules to align.
Being able to play a digital adaption of my favourite board games online is the next best thing and Evolution does a great job of filling that role.
Evolution on launching for the first time presents the player with a very well thought out tutorial.
The basics of the game are explained clearly and succinctly and I imagine most players will be ready to roll within 10 minutes. Consider the last time you picked up a brand new board game and had to learn how to play?
It usually takes a fair while before everyone knows what they are doing.
The mechanics of Evolution are straightforward. Up to four players take turns to generate and enhance competing species around a single watering hole with limited food.
Each player has a deck of cards and every card can be used to perform any function. A player can play a card to generate a new species, to increase an existing species size or population or to give it a special ability.
The simplicity of this system is the key to how fun Evolution is to play. You always have options, no matter what cards are in hand.
It’s Evolution Baby
Games are fast paced and full of tactical choice.
Do I play defensively and literally turtle up against an aggressive predator? Or perhaps try and become the apex carnivore and try and devour my opponents until they go extinct?
Perhaps an army of tiny cooperative creatures is the way to go or any mix of these strategies. After all, Evolution is about adaption and that really is what makes it fun.
The only thing missing from the board game experience is being able to read your opponents intentions face to face.
Playing With Yourself
For those not looking for a multiplayer experience there is a comprehensive campaign and with an AI that seems almost laughable to begin with but quickly becomes pleasingly challenging. All wrapped up in gorgeous, crisp visuals and a pleasing if not slightly repetitive soundtrack.
Evolution is a game I can see being played casually by many and very hardcore by an elite few. Full crossplay and the wealth of tactical depth could easily support a decent amount of longevity for fans.
The refreshing lack of microtransactions means that if you stop playing only to pick it up a month later, you won’t be bewildered by whatever new fancy power-creep items have been released.
Evolution is currently available for PC and Mac on Steam for $21.50AUD and free to try on Android and iOS.
Evolution was reviewed on PC using a code provided by the publisher.
Game Title: Evolution
Game Description: Predators lurk, food is scarce, you must adapt - or go extinct. Evolve your species to survive and dominate as you explore the campaign or go head-to-head with the skill-based matchmaker.