After an epoch, Evolution has been released


#1

Originally published at: https://statelyplay.com/2019/02/12/after-an-epoch-evolution-has-been-released/

iOS, Android, PC/Mac

I like to poke fun at the guys from North Star Games for being the Blizzard of board game app development. After all, it took Blizz 10 years to bring us Diablo 3, whereas North Star has been working on Evolution for the last five. Of course, that’s board game years, so its roughly equivalent.

Still, Blizzard games are known for their polish and sheen right out of the box, and that was North Star’s plan with this elongated dev cycle: make the board game app that all others will be (unfavorably) compared to. Well, it’s out in the wilderness now, so you can go see if they accomplished their dream.

Evolution is a game about crafting species and doing what we all do best: eating. Food is the victory points in Evolution and the goal is to craft species that can gobble up as much grub as possible and, if you’re really good, starving your competitors.

The digital version of Evolution is like a greatest hits album of all the great features from other board game ports brought together. We have a lengthy single-player campaign, multiple AIs, online play, seasonal tournaments, ranked matches, etc. It covers all the bases except for asynchronous play, but we’ve been promised that it’s coming in a future update.

NATURAL SELECTION IN ACTION
In the game Evolution, you adapt your species to survive, and stay one step ahead of opponents.

-Watering hole running dry? Evolve a long neck to reach food in the trees.
-Staring down a Carnivore? Develop a hard shell to fend off an attack.
-Evolve up the food chain to become a the most successful species.

CHALLENGING AND ADDICTIVE
Do you evolve protection from Carnivores, or find a way to eat if there is no Food in the Watering Hole? The ecosystem is constantly changing, and you’ve got to figure out what your opponents are up to.

INTERACTIVE TUTORIAL
Our friendly professor will guide you from one watering hole to the next on our learn-as-you-play tutorial, showing you how to survive before sending you off to make a name for yourself. Hone your skill as you progress from lowly Biology Intern to competing for the Nobel Prize!

EXPLORE THE CAMPAIGN
Explore the mysteries of Evolution Island and discover distinct Boss opponents. As you move through the campaign you’ll unlock new “Apex Species” that are masters of specific strategies; defeat them to add them to your menu of single-player opponents.

MATCH MADE MULTIPLAYER
One click and the game will match you with players of similar skill in a fast paced online game. Make friends in the game and set up custom games, or rank up in the ongoing seasonal tournaments and see how far you can go.

ENDLESSLY REPLAYS, ONE PRICE
This isn’t a collectible card game, the full set of cards are included in the base game. Thousands of possible species combinations evolve from 17 unique trait cards, meaning no two games are ever the same.

PACE & POLISH
With a smooth user interface and fast, informative animations, Evolution was built to satisfy a quick fix of intense strategic battles. Easy to learn, almost impossible to master, one game and you’ll find yourself addicted. Evolution isn’t just a top tier strategy game – it’s a whole new animal.


That’s not all, however. North Star is also running a contest with the launch of the app. They’re giving away 1000 copies of the cardboard version, 10 copies at a time. For the next 100 days all you need to do is login and play a multiplayer game and it’s possible for you to get chosen to receive the physical game in the mail. You have to pay shipping, but it’s still a pretty cool deal.

The game is available for PC/Mac via Steam, iOS Universal, and Android. The Steam version is $15 but the mobile versions are free to download and try with a $10 (currently on sale for $8) IAP to unlock the full game.

I was going to have a review up and ready on launch day, but we received about 10 inches of snow overnight and now my kids are all home from school so writing isn’t going to be that easy. Will hopefully have it up tomorrow!


#2

I grabbed it for free last night and don’t see any IAPs in the app… did I steal a kickstarter copy?


#3

The game is fun. Havent played the cardbord version before, but I really like it.
Only seems to drain my battery a bit.
I had to buy it, but you can play a bit free and even join online games. But for (most of) the campaign and to be able to create online games the purchase is needed, at least in my version on Android.


#4

It’s in there, but not easy to find. It’s also not very clear what’s behind the paywall. I think you only get one free multiplayer game a day if you don’t buy, but not sure if anything else.

If you’re in the campaign, click the button “Normal game” in the upper right. Apparently the “hard” campaign is behind the paywall, because when you click it asks you to pay.


#5

I asked North Star Digital about this directly - alongside the 1 MP match a day, you can also play the campaign up to around level 7 (according to what I was told). Apparently they were having issues with the paywall button today but it should be fixed soon.


#6

It appears to be working now…I just bought the unlock without any issues.


#7

Seems pretty awesome! I’m still figuring out the basic strategy but hopefully will be ready to try out multiplayer soon, feel free to invite me.


#8

I’m out on vacation so can’t get around to this at the moment, but I thought multiplayer wasn’t planned for launch. That has changed, apparently?


#9

No, multiplayer was always there. No async at launch, though. That’s coming later.


#10

The multiplayer is real time, which I think was always planned for launch. Asynchronous multiplayer isn’t currently available, but I read that it likely will be in a few weeks in this interview:


#11

Interestingly, they reviewed the game over at TouchArcade and gave the game 5 stars (not surprising, from what I hear), but also claim that is should give games like Hearthstone and Elder Scrolls Legends a run for their money. I don’t see any board game adaptation doing that, but it would be nice!


#12

You know what else isn’t easy to find? The rules. And yes, I’m sure I can find them online, but that’s not the point.


#13

I don’t know if this is a rant, or a rhetorical query, or what, but I was browsing the App Store for this game - it wasn’t mentioned on the games front page in any category including new releases; it wasn’t mention in the card game sub-page in any category including new releases (though Smash Up is apparently still a new release…) and was not listed in the top 200 free card game apps; ditto the board game sub-page; ditto the strategy game sub-page.

If you didn’t know this game existed, how would you ever stumble across it? How does an app like this not have any presence in the store? How can a metric ton of pure digital garbage have more visibility than this?

I hate Apple.


#14

I had a similar experience today, when I finally decided to download the thing so as to buy it before the price goes up. Went to the app store, and it was impossible to find. So I entered the title in the search box, and a bunch of other games showed up, but not that. So I scrolled down. And down. It was buried scrolls below a bunch of kids’ games with “evolution” in the title. This game is just called Evolution–how is it not first?

I hate Apple.

It’s as though they have hung a sign in the app store window that reads, “Hey serious gamers–go buy a Switch, we don’t want you.”


#15

Well, serious gamers aren’t as profitable as F2P whales … or something stupid like that.


#16

the patch notes in the appstore tell us: “visit evolutionvideogame.com for more information on version 1.0.3”

but i can’t find any info on the website, nor in the forum on digital.northstargames.com

do i miss something?


#17

They’re listed within the app on the Home tab under Notices.


#18

It’s always been like this on the App Store. Searching for a recently released game will invariably give zero results. I’ve found that searching by the developer (or publisher) works a lot better. So, I searched for North Star Games and it popped up right away. I do the same for Asmodee, CGE, Playdek, whatever. I rarely search by game title, and instead go to the dev page and find it there. Not sure it helps, but that’s my workaround of Apple’s incompetence.


#19

i have read that apple makes billion dollar profits by search ads.

but no intention or ability to fix the mess called appstore.
instead eliminating the small payouts for third party websites which link to appstore games which can’t hardly be found without such service.
kudos apple, for being such a badass company!