PAX AUS Indies 2016: Evergreen

Posted on November 10, 2016

OK let’s get the main point over with – yes Evergreen is a game where you grow a tree.  A mystical tree in fact.  However, rather than watching grass grow, this game is an intriguing puzzle game that does have a certain meditative, perhaps even mystical, quality about it.

“Grow and personalise a mystical tree”

I will admit upfront, I am a big fan of puzzle and strategy games, and coming from a biology background this game certainly sparked my curiosity.  However, with a healthy dose of scepticism I expected this game to be more a visually stunning screensaver rather than a potentially addictive game.

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised.

Developed by the Australian indie company Siege Sloth Games, Evergreen requires you to grow a tree that can observe and influence the development of the world.  The controls of the game are quite simple, and actioning them is smooth and intuitive.  You have the option of growing branches or extending your tree’s root system and you can even place temporary levitating crystals around your tree to give it a mystical look.  In the demo version I wasn’t sure if these crystals actually did anything, but I wanted my tree to look the part.

The game progresses in a linear fashion with puzzle tasks to complete before you can venture forward.  These include providing nutrients to the ocean by dropping your branches for decomposition, blocking an underground volcanic vent with your roots, and finding a way to scare away a predatory fish that would otherwise stop the evolution of an important species in its tracks.  As each task is completed, you unlock new features such as different types of leaves and flowers your tree can grow, that ultimately enable you to complete more challenging tasks as the game progresses.

Or at least I hope so.  The demo version was quite straight forward (as it should be) and I hope to see the challenges of the game grow as does your tree, as this title has the potential of introducing some complex and satisfying puzzles.

Unlike most puzzle games, this game is not fast paced.  It allows you to contemplate and play, and you will find yourself completing tasks just by being creative with your tree.  The game focusses upon key stages of Earth’s biological development, including the evolution of creatures from sea to land, and the reign of the dinosaurs.  And being a mystical tree you may even get to see a worshipper or two.

This game will appeal to those who like to draw and experiment, with a god-like element of creating a world missing the frantic nature most puzzle and simulation games possess.

While the game is not expected to launch until sometime in 2017 (PC, Mac and Linux), you can check out the demo trailer below.  And trust me, the trailer is probably the most disappointing part of the game.