The survival of the fittest is quite a frequent motif of video games, but there are quite a few of them actually having a theme that revolves around survival of the species. The last prominent game we could remember is Spore, in which you could control the development of a civilization starting from the single cell level all the way to the space exploration. However, despite the name, Evolution is a 4 player card game that makes you fight for the survival of prehistoric creatures by exterminating an eating other species. Basically, Hunger Games just as a card game with Dinosaurs. That doesn’t make much sense, does it?
You play this game by putting the dinosaur cards on the playfield. The said playfield contains two opposing sides divided by a feeding area in the middle. The type and the amount of food is defined by the way you evolve your dinosaurs. There are hundreds of ways to evolve the dinos, but each one of them can retain only three of them at the same time. There’s a wide range of evolutions you can go for. For example, with the longer neck you can reach high placed plant food, there are some defensive traits that act as armor, and if you really want to step up your game you can turn your dino into a carnivore. It is an obvious game changer because your dinosaurs cannot eat plants and have to hunt other dinos, even your own. The main point of the game is to read how your opponent use traits and to respond accordingly in order to gain an advantage.
Evolution is much less random than a typical card game. Your decision will not be attributed to a low probability of drawing a playable card, but rather as a reaction to your opponent’s action. This feature might be the selling point of this game because you have access to so much more of the deck in a given round. The choice you make about your traits are not one-dimensional, and they have a lasting effect on the rest of the game. It really turns the tide if you choose to make your character able to climb trees instead of putting some more body weight on him for the better defense against predators.
Evolution improved greatly since we first saw it in November. Almost all issues that plagued beta version are solved now, with the only issue that remains is pacing. Nevertheless, the phases of the game go pretty fast and you have the option to play your entire hand simultaneously which really gets the game moving. Another issue worth mentioning is that there could be more content outside of the game, such as text-based quick references that inform players about each trait, or game mechanics. It would be also great if you could be able to see your rank progress all the time because in current state you can only see it at the end of the game if you rank up.
The best trait of Evolution is that it relies on players’ skill more than luck. With future development on the horizon, we will probably see a lot of new content, new formats, new single-player adventures, competitive seasons and more. Evolution stands a bit higher than usual card game, not only because it’s for 4 players, but also because it’s more accessible in many ways and has longer-term viability than most other card games.