As a kid, I was exposed to the wonders of nature pretty early on. In my article on Wingspan, I detail my love of birdwatching with my father. Much later on in life, I obtained a scuba diving license because the sea was calling me. I have hiked volcanoes and trekked jungles and the myriad of life that I see; not only is it as beautiful as it is brutal but also that it is the product of aeons of evolution.
In North Star Games’ digital version of their award-winning game Evolution, you play a budding biologist who enters Evolution Island under the guidance of the Professor. There, you must battle and adapt against an ever-changing environment. Gameplay follows the exact order of the original Evolution board game: Select food cards, play trait/species cards, and most importantly; feed.
Those who don’t feed, perish.
The graphics — rendered simplistically yet beautifully — allow for a total immersion into Evolution Island’s rich landscape. Sounds of the jungle, desert and other species-laden environments, push the gameplay experience into a lush territory.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives,
not the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
I absolutely love the experience that Evolution Island brings to the game — it allows you to battle against an ever adaptive and increasingly challenging AI. You learn plenty of facts about the natural world in between games. Not only that, the online multiplayer boasts a platform where you can test yourself against friends and others.
However, since the cards are limited to around a 100+, it can get a bit repetitive after awhile. But this is nature, where permutations and combinations are aplenty. Despite the limited number of cards, one can still play many games without tiring as each reshuffle brings new odds and strategies. The player must be able to adapt and evolve their strategy to suit what is given to them.
Along the way, Evolution: The Video Game allows one to fully understand the natural ecosystem in a way that makes it fun. Whilst I would not suggest this for extremely young children, those who are able to read, comprehend patterns and the like would find this game enjoyable.
The simplicity of Evolution: The Video Game’s mechanics makes the replayability and learning experience joyful and worthwhile. I learned that only ten percent of all species to ever exist still roam this Earth. Those who are still alive are the ones that adapt and evolve their survival strategies in an increasingly competitive and challenging environment.
The original North Star Games’ physical board game has been long-standing and well applauded by the natural scientific community. On the product page for the game, it is noted that Evolution was even featured on Nature, the leading natural science journal.
Currently, Evolution has a stand-alone board game, Oceans, which I am absolutely dying to play. Why? Billions of years ago, oceans are where life began. It would be quite the experience to revisit the realm that gave birth to all life on Earth.
Evolution is a beautiful thing for only those who adapt and survive. Can you stand the test of time and outlast your competition? I’m still trying to find a way to adapt my strategy and it’s been a wonderful ride so far, despite many do-overs. Nature may not afford its inhabitants that luxury, but getting even the slightest taste of what it’s like to survive in harsh environments makes more grateful for the life I have.