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Having been recently released on Android, and with new updates regularly coming out for iOS, Evolution: Battle for Utopia has been a game that has caught our attention in a multitude of ways.
Plot-wise, Evolution has a similar attitude to most Age of Empires games, except with a futuristic twist. Brought down in a freak accident on the way to Utopia from Earth, a spaceship is crash-landed into a planet which they have to terraform as they go to discover what laser brought them down and how to escape without getting into further trouble. As they explore, psychic abilities come to the surface, the missing ship is found, and, the inevitable flirtation between the Lara Croft-esque training instructor and the main character starts to unravel (by the first ‘you look good in that’ it is obvious they are humping like rabbits when the game is off).
Playing it is like playing any other Command and Conquer game – you click on the supplies you want to collect, you click on the places you want to attack, you wait stupid amounts of time for it all to come through. There are an array of Facebook games that currently exist to mount this trend and ride for all its worth, with as many flimsy excuses as you can dream of. We are currently awaiting one where you have to set up a massage business to go relieve Ashley Cole of his testosterone, but who knows what stage that is in the pipeline. Equally, there are as many PC games that stick to this ideology, although they tend to focus on the past, and just as many mobile games that you are bombarded with adverts to go and test drive in pursuit of coins/crystals/hearts. It would be nice to say that there is a huge difference in this respect to the others, but frankly it is all rather pedestrian. Not enough so to make Miranda Priestly purse her lips, but Andrea better make it up to her soon.
The visuals of Evolution: Battle for Utopia is what separates it out from every mother-jamming game of this nature, and completely blows them all out of the field. Remember RPG fan-favourite series Final Fantasy and how they saved their best FMV sequence programming for when the truly great stuff was going down? Evolution clearly modelled themselves on this tactic, with now-normal graphics being used to depict characters, landscapes and battle simulations, but the top-tier graphic being represented in a mobile form for special events like terraforming. Supposedly the technology for this has been possible for ages, but developers have probably been afraid to instigate it in case they have to sacrifice some of the space for plot or downloadables or something (all of which are still intact, including IAP – in-app purchases), which is a shame because a truly magnificent game could have come about by now if only they had tried.
Addictive qualities in this game are the materials you mine – you know full-well that you can produce the amount necessary for that new gun you have been collecting bullets for, but will you get enough… no, too bad, wait another few hours. Plus you can spend fifteen minutes collecting the items you require before taking on a battle that you have tried your hand at unsuccessfully a few times, and if you die you take a hit of a third of your health and your stuff is returned to you – score! Whilst purists will argue that you should get a game over, this simple act causes the shutdown of game-rage, which means those that suffer with game-rageyness don’t end up smashing their phones against the wall (and trying to sue My.com for creating an infuriating game).
Overall, we like Evolution: Battle for Utopia, and send our thanks/condemnations to My.com for producing it, and we would like to see an increase in the amount of Android updates please – your game market is not in Apple.