Today’s Kickstarter Highlight is Oceans – a standalone game in the Evolution series by North Star Games!
I already have a deep love for the Evolution series of games (Evolution, Climate, The Beginning, etc.) and I was stoked when I found out there was a sea life-themed Evolution game in the works. I was not, however, prepared for how different and better this new standalone game would be.
Oceans takes what made the earlier Evolution games so amazing, what the team learned from making them, and what gamers are interested in nowadays, and mixed it all up into a spectacular sea stew of awesomeness. Similar to the other games in the series, players in Oceans are tasked with nurturing and evolving their own species of creatures by managing resources and adding traits to help them survive and thrive. But where Oceans differs from previous Evolution games is in its rhythm and overall flow. Instead of predominantly phase-based gameplay, which can sometimes feel stop-and-go to players, Oceans uses a smoother turn-based system. This means gameplay feels faster-paced and more tactical, as players are less constrained by a 1-2-3 marching order. Life in the ocean adapts and evolves fluidly, after all.
Don’t worry though – the overall appeal of the Evolution series is still here. As I mentioned, players will have an almost ridiculous number of ways in which to evolve their sea creatures. From humble beginnings as a bottom-feeding plankton eater, to more advanced stages of evolution as an apex predator, there’s a ton of trait cards that players will add and remove from their sea life.
Of course, I’d be neglectful if I didn’t talk about the amazing artwork in an Evolution game. And let me tell you, Oceans does not disappoint. Catherine Hamilton is once again lending her amazing watercolor creations to bring this game to life. A major selling point of the initial Evolution games was her bright, imaginative, and awe-inspiring pieces, and she’s really showing off with the card art in Oceans. The core game features Catherine’s art, giving it that same sense of wonder as the previous Evolution games. And the expansion (yes, there’s an expansion you can back on Kickstarter as well!) features much darker, moodier artwork from several other very talented artists. I’ve compiled a few of the pieces here for you to ogle, and be sure to check out Catherine and the other artists’ work in their full glory online. If you want a piece from the game to display for yourself, you can even order prints by an pledging additional amount when you back the game.
I am beyond excited for Oceans, and there’s a ton of great content on the Kickstarter page to dive into while you check it out. Swing over if you’re into the Evolution games, or if you missed the boat and you want to see what the fuss is about.
Until next time, gang. Keep it plucky!