Evolution: Climate DLC – Review
Follow Genre: Board game, strategy game
Developer: North Star Digital Studios
Publisher: North Star Games
Platform: Switch, PC, Android, iOS
Tested on: Switch

Evolution: Climate DLC – Review

Site Score
Good: New mechanics that really change up the base game
Bad: Very small number of new trait cards
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

A few months ago, we took a look at the digital version of Evolution, an adaptation of North Star Games’ fantastic board game. Evolution’s digital version proved to be an excellent adaptation and we were fans of how faithful the board game mechanics were recreated on the Switch. There was plenty of fun to be had with the vanilla version of the game, but North Star Games has now kicked things up a notch with the Climate DLC, which adds new core mechanics that require your species to adjust to extreme weather conditions. There is no new story content introduced, and the game sticks to the visuals and audio that we’ve covered in our full review, so we’re going to dive straight into the new gameplay. What does Climate bring to the table, and most importantly, is it worth upgrading your base game with this DLC?

First things first: we should point out that there have been several updates to the base version of Evolution, and that several of the negative points in our full review have been addressed, such as the clunky feeling of the multiplayer mode. The game plays a lot smoother now than it did seven months ago. As such, getting back into it to spend some time with Climate turned out to be even more enjoyable than when we first launched the base game last year. Before we can delve into Climate’s new additions to Evolution’s core mechanics, we’re going to briefly recap some of the game’s base principles, as these are essential to understanding what the DLC brings to the table. The game informs you of this as well: when you start the DLC’s tutorial, you’ll be notified that you need to be familiar with the standard rules in order to fully understand everything. Although Climate dramatically changes the way Evolution is played, it is the logical next step -or evolution if you will- of the base game rather than a complete overhaul.

Your goal is still to score the most points by creating new species, evolving them by playing trait cards and gathering as much food as possible. Individual cards still act the same and can be played in a variety of ways: either to add food to the watering hole, to gain a new trait, create a new specimen, or to increase your Population or Body Size. What’s new here is that each card also has a Sun or Frost value. These values come into effect when you’re playing your Food card and are intrinsically tied to the Food Value. This adds a new layer of strategy, as a card that is worth lots of food -and subsequently, lots of points- may also cause a huge shift in whatever climate is dominant. When Food cards are revealed, so are the Frost and Sun values, and whichever value is the highest that turn will make the Climate Track shift in its direction. In case of a tie, the current weather conditions remain the same.

Shifts in climate have consequences of course. If the weather gets colder, food becomes more scarce, and smaller species are likely to freeze to death. Likewise, a warmer climate may cause an abundance of food but it will also exhaust larger species. New trait cards allow your species to adjust to the shifting conditions, for example by allowing them to grow fur to withstand the cold or becoming nocturnal, which lets them forage at night when it is colder. The key to winning games with the Climate Track is in dedicating yourself to surviving under certain conditions and then manipulating the weather in such a way that your opponent’s critters cannot survive the harsh conditions.

There is a secondary effect tied to the Climate Track as well. Apart from the permanent conditions tied to climate change, such as any food gained or lost at the start of a turn, there are also climatic events that trigger when the game enters more extreme weather, such as an ice age or a heat wave. These events are randomized at the start and can dramatically change the flow of the game, up to the point where triggering it can give a player that was about to lose the upper hand. It’s always a good idea to take a look at these events when the game starts and attempt to trigger them when it is opportune for you to do so.

Climate adds these new mechanics, but doesn’t take away anything from the base game either, adding new layers of strategic depth. Cunning players will be able to combine older tactics with the new tools at their disposal, making for tense games. Because of the new dynamic gameplay, a round of Evolution with the Climate DLC enabled feels more fast-paced than if you were just playing the base game. When you start a new game, you choose whether or not you want to play with the DLC, and given the complexity of the weather mechanics, it’s a good thing that you can return to the base game when you’re introducing new players to Evolution. That said, we prefer playing the game with the additional mechanics, as this adds a tremendous amount of strategic depth, and playing the right cards to wipe out half your opponent’s menagerie by activating harsher weather feels incredibly satisfying.

If there is one downside to Climate, it’s probably that the DLC puts all of its eggs in one basket with the introduction of new mechanics, but is light on content elsewhere. The DLC includes only six new trait cards, and they all relate to the new weather mechanics. It would’ve been fantastic to have seen additional traits that expanded on the base mechanics, such as new offensive traits or defensive traits to add new depth to the interactions between herbivores and carnivores. We’re really nitpicking here though, as both Evolution and Climate are great as they are currently, and any additional content would just have been more icing on a cake that’s already good.


If you hadn’t guessed it by now, adding the Climate DLC to your digital copy of Evolution should be a no-brainer. The price tag is worth the hours of extra game time you’re going to get out of it. If you haven’t gotten the base game just yet, we recommend that you go for the Digital Deluxe version rather than the Standard edition, as it comes with Climate, and buying it this way is slightly cheaper. Either way, you’re getting a fantastic new way to play a game that is already among the best digital board games out there.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Evolution: Climate DLC - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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