REVIEW: Evolution II: Fighting For Survival

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.

Evolution II - Screen

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.

  1. There’s probably a scientific term I could insert there, but I’m not that bright. 
  2. 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. 
  3. See, who said ‘bullying the little guy’ doesn’t pay off? 

16 thoughts on “REVIEW: Evolution II: Fighting For Survival”

  1. The reason the PC version will be “expanded” is due to limitations of the Xbox 360 hardware and GC. The Xbox 360 slows down with more than 20 species at a time, while a PC can handle over 100.

    1. Ah, thanks for clearing that up. So long as no major features or content were being held over for the PC version, that’s less of a concern for people that purchase the game on the 360.

      Sorry I couldn’t ultimately like the game more, but it just felt too basic and familiar to the first game to really stand on its own, or match up to other games in its genre.

    1. It’s alright. Got some funny bits. Best part is Seann William Scott doing the bird call— it’s still how I hail birds. 😀

    2. So I didn’t watch the clip you posted so that when I watch the movie later maybe the best part won’t be ruined. LOL

    3. It is not nearly as humorous as it could – or should – have been. It does have its moments, but is mostly forgettable. It’s no Slither.

    4. As in -this- Slither?

      Is it any good? Outside of the inclusion of Nathan Fillion, it looks like a ‘straight-to-Syfy’ flick. 🙂

    5. Ummmm Yea so I started to watch it and what Andregurov said is correct…’s forgettable as in I forgot I had saw it before. But so far not that bad….can’t remember what happens so I’ll finish it tomorrow.

      Now I’m going to have to d/l Slither….looks stupid funny to me.

    6. Wait – a movie needs MORE than Nathan Fillion? He’s like Bruce Campbell without the chin! Slither isn’t Oscar-worthy, but it is a nice nod to B-movies and never forgets how unserious and campy it is supposed to be. And Merle is in it. I mean Henry from Portrait of a Serial Killer. Oops! I mean Michael Rooker.

    7. @Dream Poet: Ha! Couldn’t have been that good then, if you wiped the entire viewing from your memory! 🙂 I’d say it’s one of those typical comedies, where you can watch the first forty-five minutes or so, get a few laughs, and turn it off without missing a thing. Once the jokes dry up, it’s on to sentimentality or action-y stuff, and the movie forgets what it should be doing.

      @andregurov: That’s why I mentioned Fillion; I didn’t want to draw the ire of any Firefly / Serenity fans that could be reading 😀 Rooker is a good character actor, too, so no complaints there. I guess I’m getting too cranky with my movie watching. If it doesn’t pull me in with a trailer, I write it off. Actually, it comes down to free time, as it’s either maintain these indie sites, or let them slow down. I’ve had movies lined up in my Netflix queue for more than a year (…shit, two years), and haven’t watched them. 😦

  2. I remember the first version: I could only make left turns for some reason I could never figure out. Kinda ruined the fun. One wonders sometimes if devs have a plan to leak out content – that was already planned – for a title and simply rererererelease it each time as improved. Seems the indies HAVE learned something from the big companies …

    1. Yeah, it’s all kinda trial-and-error, keeping an eye on the torque, inertia, thrust, etc. The game forces you to do it too, so you have to figure it out. I can’t really comment on the original, as all I did was play the demo (and I don’t remember much of it, to be honest), but this game seems like it’s the exact same thing, with some small visual tweaks. The higher price, the admission of a better PC version… it just all leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

      I wonder if Soosh didn’t call it a few months ago; XBLIG is becoming a dumping ground for half-finished stuff, or a chance to make some money before working on a better version for a different platform. It really is a sham… I mean, shame. 🙂

    2. Man, just watched Brazil – Chile, and Brazil almost got knocked out in the last minute of extra time. And I know, it’s got nothing to do with the review. Yeah, I’m sooo off topic 😎

      Btw what I said a few weeks back was that we shouldn’t worry about XBLIG becoming a platform for unfinished games. How wrong I was 🙂

    1. All these years later, that clip still freaks me out. Something about that dude. 😀

      Usually I’m more fond of saying ‘there’s no reason to buy this game’, but I figured since this one seems like a cash grab more than a legitimate release, I’d go with ‘support’. Stuff like this has no place on the channel, not when it’s that similar to the first game, and you literally come out and tell people that you’re making a better, expanded version on PC. That’s just a classy move all around, so my review responds in kind. 🙂

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