I’m all for Evolution. The theory of it, the reality of it, the facts of it— you name it, I’m for it. Hell, when I don’t shave for a few weeks, I doubt my own evolved humanity. So by natural extension, you would think I’d be all about something like Evolution II: Fighting For Survival ($2.99). Like the original, it’s a much, much, much smaller version of Spore (think of the Microbial beginning) and / or Fl0w, focusing on crafting and… well, evolving, your very own water-based… creature1. That said, this game is more busywork simulation and trial-and-error than actual entertainment.
From the start, Evolution II allows you to create your own species, mixing and matching appendages as you please… with a little work. You see, the tutorial gives you the basics and little else, setting you loose to stumble around in the evolutionary darkness, finding out which body parts will suit your design best. While you’re given a preset species, and free to tinker with the available options2, you have to pay attention to your HP and attack power, as well as basic movement. Build a ‘tank’ that can take a lot of damage, sure, but without the proper pieces, your creature isn’t going anywhere.
Once you’ve chosen a form for your Darwinian baby, you set out to grow and expand your race, eating nearby plants and / or attacking the smaller creatures around you3. This leads to reproduction, and further evolutionary options to make your species stronger and more agile. From there, it’s rinse and repeat as you slowly take over the ecosystem. Unfortunately, achieving any kind of success in the game often ‘splinters’ your family, turning friend into foe, and the process of survival repeats. It’s an interesting mechanic in theory, but more often than not, the odds are against you. Being punished for simply existing is hardly a recipe for fun.
Ho, looks like we got ourselves a badass here.
To pack more sea-salt in the wound, Evolution II is yet another in an evolving list of XBLIG games being released in ‘beta’ form. Not in those exact terms, but ‘Watch for an improved and expanded PC version’ is a nice slap in the face of XBLIG players that just shelled out $3 for your apparently imperfect (and unfinished) game. I’m no PR man, but I’m pretty sure you don’t want to tell your customers that they’re paying so someone else on another platform can play the ‘real’ version of the game you just bought.
Though in the end, I suppose no one wins, as Evolution II: Fighting For Survival is a content-lite homage to already-existing and better-playing games. If you’re a Darwin buff it might intrigue, but given that the original game was just released last year, I’d question the necessity of a nearly identical-looking (and more-expensive) sequel this soon. With the developer’s own admission of a superior version in the works, there’s absolutely no reason to support this game.
- There’s probably a scientific term I could insert there, but I’m not that bright. ↩
- You’ll have to. The game’s randomized settings mean you’ll likely get stuck with a ‘broken’ species at the start. Fix it or don’t, evolve or die, as the say. ↩
- See, who said ‘bullying the little guy’ doesn’t pay off? ↩