Evolution Board Game

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Evolution Board Game App Poster Image
Strategic look at evolution is fun but has some limits.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

As the name suggests, the game shows players how some species evolve various traits in order to survive. There are also trivia bits that teach more about different animals, how they evolved over time, and what drives these changes.

Ease of Play

The gameplay can be confusing at the start and it's difficult to figure out the "right" way to play cards. This gets a little easier over time through trial and error. Also, a lot of the game's visuals are extremely small on phones, making it difficult to read and interact with.

Violence

While there's nothing particularly graphic, players can evolve their species into carnivores, which attack and eat other species to survive. The art on some cards show creatures attacking each other as well.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The free-to-play version limits players to only one multiplayer match per day and only part of the game's Campaign mode. Players can optionally spend $5.99 to unlock the full campaign and to have unlimited multiplayer matches.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Evolution Board Game is the official adaptation of the award-winning Evolution strategic card game, designed for use on iOS and Android based mobile devices. Players can try to make their way through a single-player campaign, or battle others in multiplayer online matchups. The game mechanics are explained in an early tutorial but can be difficult to understand, especially earlier on. The visual setup's also quite small on mobile devices, making it hard to read in some circumstances. There's a certain level of violence as species evolve, but nothing graphic's ever shown onscreen. The game's also, essentially, a free-to-play demo, with some features and content locked behind a $5.99 paywall.

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What's it about?

EVOLUTION BOARD GAME is the official mobile adaptation of the award-winning Evolution board/card game, where players create new species of life amidst an ever-changing ecosystem. Players must learn to adapt to survive, giving their creatures unique new traits to help them defend, attack, and forage for food. You can take another step and evolve your creatures from plant-fed herbivores to carnivores hungry for fresh meat. Players can also test evolutionary strategies in a single player-campaign mode, take on friends and family in single-device pass play, or pit your Evolution deck against others in global online multiplayer matches.

Is it any good?

One of the first rules of nature is "Adapt to survive." North Star Games took this advice to heart when bringing its Evolution board game off the tables and onto mobile devices. The mobile version doesn't just add visual polish and animated moves, it also gives players more ways to play. There's the basic player versus player mode, which can be played locally by passing the device around between turns, or by getting matched up online with other players globally in private games or tournament matches. But to add to the fun, there's also a single player campaign that not only helps players hone their species-enhancing skills, but adds extra tidbits of knowledge and unique extra that can raise players' curiosity on evolution and its effects on life as we know it.

While Evolution is a lot of fun to play, there are some rough spots that could have stood a little extra evolution of their own. For starters, the game's resolution may look sharp on mobile screens, but fitting it all in means the game pieces and much of the text on the board are small and hard to manage. And even though there's an initial tutorial for those that have never played, it doesn't do a great job of explaining the gameplay. Things make more sense the more you play, but early on, it feels like you're guessing at what moves are best and how the game operated. Finally, though the game is free-to-play, it's more of a stripped-down demo, with the full campaign and unlimited multiplayer only unlocked after paying a one-time $5.99 charge. The game is definitely worth the price, but it just would have been better to be more clear from the start about the free version's limitations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about biology and evolution. How have creatures managed to evolve throughout existence, and how do they continue to adapt to survive?

  • How can board games, as well as video game versions of board games, help to bring families and friends together?

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love board games

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