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Evolution: The Video Game Review

Evolve, adapt, and beat your opponent in Evolution: The Video Game.

Based on the 2014 board game of the same name, Evolution is a strategy card game from developer North Star Digital Studios. After a successful Kickstarter, Evolution has made its way from box to screen for PC players to enjoy – and it looks great. It feels just like a board game with lovely and helpful tutorials to help you get started and learn all the rules. I’m an avid board game player myself, so I was excited to have the opportunity to play Evolution and stretch those board game muscles.

In Evolution, your main goal is to breed and evolve new species. Keeping them fed is key to making sure they stay alive, and that means starving the opposing species. On your turn your goal is to either increase your population, give your species special abilities using your cards, or create a whole new species. You can also add food to the watering hole which both players’ creatures will eat from. Your goal is to make sure there’s enough food for all of your creatures, and not enough food for the opponent’s creatures.

Each round, no matter what round is it, you’re going to have to make some pretty tough decisions on what to use your cards for. You may have noticed that your enemy has quite a few more species than you and they’ve got better abilities, so you decide to create a new species. Then, suddenly, you don’t have enough food for your ever-hungry troupe and your opponent continues to thrive. You have to walk a fine line in deciding when to keep your creatures alive, when to sacrifice, and when to grow. It’s a stressful but entirely ingenious set of rules.

A round of Evolution proceeds as follows: first, each player will choose a card which will add food to the watering hole in the centre of the board. Each population can only eat once, depending on the species (some can eat more). You won’t have any idea how much food your opponent is placing in the watering hole so this is where you’ll have to strategise (and hope for a little bit of luck). As you go through the game you’ll unlock traits which can be given to your herbivores (the first species you start out as) and some traits can even unlock carnivores. Carnivores do not eat from the watering hole, but eat other species instead.

At the end of each round, all of the points are added up and put into your coin purse. After the last round, the traits of each of your species, as well as the number of population points, are added up and the player with the highest score wins.

The way that Evolution‘s board is set up is very easy to understand so players will likely have no problem picking up on what’s going on. Your opponent’s creatures are on one side of the board while yours are on the other, with the watering hole between you. Handily, when you’re selecting a card to use you’re able to preview exactly what move you’ll be performing before you commit, which makes it easy not to make any mistakes. It’s an extremely helpful little feature, especially when you’re still learning the ropes.

Evolution’s art style is one of the best parts of the game. Each card is unique, and the landscape of the board makes you feel like you’re really out there in the wild. The game board feels alive even though you’re working with only pictures. Your cards make sounds and move around as you use them. This creates a truly immersive universe – which is impressive considering you’re simply playing a digital version of a board game. Even its menu makes you feel like you’ve just opened the book of a real explorer.

Evolution: The Video Game is an excellent adaptation of a board game of the same name. There are different game modes to keep you entertained as well as online gameplay for when you’re feeling confident enough to take on other players. The board is beautifully designed with fun animations and sounds as well as music. Dozens of different cards and traits are available, so gameplay never gets stale – it is simply a relaxing and entertaining way to spend several hours. Grab Evolution if you love board games and are looking for a new fantastic challenge.

Evolution is available on PC.

Becca knew that she would be addicted to video games for the rest of her life when she saw the first pixelated zombie shambling across her TV screen while playing Resident Evil 3. She particularly enjoys being scared, laughing until she cries, or just plain crying while experiencing games. When she isn't playing games she loves spoiling her cat Usagi and eating any kind of sushi she can find.