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Score: 75%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Interplay
Developer: Computer Artworks
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 8
Genre: Action/ Shooter/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Evolva are absolutely gorgeous and alien, reminding me of nothing so much as Pluto at the beginning of Battlezone II. The strange plants and organic caverns just screamed “outer space!” to me when I started the game up for the first time, and the character designs are pretty damn spiffy. The problem is that the game never really changes its look. From the first level to the last level, it all just looks the same. Perhaps that consistency is part of the whole “alien” atmosphere, but I would have definitely enjoyed some more freaky stuff popping out at me later in the game. The color choices are predominantly purple, but I’m a big fan of purple, so there’s no complaining here.

The music, such that it is, is more of a background ambiance sort of thing than a real toe-thumper, which actually makes good sense. The sound effects are really neat, though, and I especially like flaming anything that moves. Yeah. Haven’t you always wanted to blow flames out of your mouth?


Evolva entails taking a group of four Genohunters on a quest to stop the Parasite, a world-crushing organism. On the way there, you’re going to encounter both indigenous life and spawn of the Parasite. Killing both gets you genetic material, which you can use to mutate your Genohunters into having newer, stronger abilities. I was really excited about this game; imagining having a bad-ass stealthy Genohunter that runs around and assassinates, another one that’s basically a walking tank, and so on.

Unfortunately, the game never ends up that way. You’ll find yourself simply clawing/flaming/shooting your way through the enemy legions, eating their genetic material so that you can boost your stats up. The different Genohunters never really get to be, well... different, which is a shame. And the game itself basically becomes a “find new enemy to get new skill; use new skill to get past area” sort of thing. Occasionally you’ll do something different, like finding and combining plants, but never does the game really do what it could, what it should, with what it has.

That’s not to say that the game isn’t fun. It’s pretty entertaining, at least at first. And finding new abilities is always cool, because then you get to run around and find where you can use it. But you’ll never feel that the game really does something unique or mind-boggling, besides the core premise of mutation. It’s as if the developers got halfway to something really grand, decided that they couldn’t do it, and cut it back to a mission-based straightforward hack and slash title.

Controlling your teammates is simple enough, both toggling between them and ordering them around, but it’s rarely beneficial to have them do anything but follow you. Sure, they’ll get blown up by the exploding plants, but there’s sure to be food just around the corner, so why bother?

I really wanted to enjoy Evolva more than I did. The premise was cool, the backstory was intriguing, but in the end, the implementation just failed to impress. I found myself listless, looking for something more interesting in the game world, although it never showed up.


Evolva never really gets difficult, although you’ll have to remember to run back and get food if your guys get hurt. The game seems to basically provide for everything that you need with pleasing regularity, though, so don’t worry too much about this sort of thing. Just let the game run its course. You may spend a lot of time wandering around not knowing where to go, but the handy “Objective” pointer usually keeps you on the right track.

Game Mechanics:

The controls are simple, once you understand how to use them (I used my old FPS mouselook with WASD-strafe setup, and it worked grandly). The menus, although sparse, are clear and understandable. The game itself has quite bearable load times and only chugs when a whole lot of stuff is going on or you have a long horizon.

Evolva is not a terrible game. But it’s nothing really special, either. Its gameplay never really picks up from the first level or two, and you’ll find yourself wishing for more variety. Although the graphics are nice and the ideas are great, your best bet is to wait for a game that takes the concepts of Evolva and brings them to a better, more playable level. Evolva 2, perhaps?

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

P233, Win9x, 64MB RAM, 450MB HD Space, 4MB Voodoo or better, 4X CD-ROM, Mouse

Test System:

AMD K6-III 450 running Windows 98, 256MB RAM, Creative Sound Blaster Live! Sound Card, Creative TNT2 Ultra w/32MB RAM, 6X/24X DVD-ROM

Sony PlayStation 2 Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes the Neighborhood Windows Frogger 2: Swampy’s Revenge

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated