The developers just graduated from Canberra’s Academy of Interactive Entertainment. When they made their first game they wanted to do something different, and I think they’ve succeeded. Not only is the gameplay experience intuitive, relaxing, and pleasurable, it’s also educational.
“We have found that we get a great response from children and their parents when demoing the game, partly due to the creatively driven gameplay and the tangential learning elements,” said Micheal Muirden, an artist and producer on the game. “It’s completely nonviolent. Every event that you’re trying to discover ties into the history of the earth in some way. And that information is displayed on the screen—what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You can actually watch life unfold. It starts around 500 million years ago, and as soon as you lure life out of the ocean you can watch life go from fish to primitive amphibians and eventually to dinosaurs. We’ve even got extinction events.” Eventually, humans arrive on the scene.
The game has story mode and sandbox mode. In story mode, there are nine levels and each level lasts about a half an hour, so the game can be played through in just a few hours. In sandbox mode you can do things like “mess about with gravity.”
Evergreen has been greenlit on Steam already. The development team intends to develop the game for as many platforms as they can. They’re doing a touchscreen version that’s working on Windows tablets, and they’re developing for mobile. A touchscreen interface makes it easy to “get in there and just make something beautiful really quickly.”
The art and sound design on this game are lovely; it lives up to its billing as a “zen” experience. Evergreen will be released in the first quarter of 2016 for PC. I look forward to growing another mystical tree and playing through the whole story of life on earth.