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Adapt Preview: Life Evolved!

In the tradition of Spore and coming soon to PC, Adapt is a sandbox creature creator. Make your own monstrous animal from a selection of parts and lead them through a collection of digital environments in search of food and companionship. But is it any good? Read the preview to find out!

Adapt Preview: Life Evolved!

Developed by Paul Hervé, published by Slug Disco and coming soon to PC is sandbox life simulation Adapt. Create your own creature using a selection of parts and see how well it survives in a digital wilderness. Fight other beasties for food or fun. Find a mate and start a herd. Or just wander around screaming at anyone you meet. The choice is yours as you adapt to life in this pre-alpha preview build.

It is fair to say that Adapt takes more than a slight inspiration from Spore. And as someone who is old enough to remember being excited and then disappointed by Spore, it is great to see someone doing something that gets close to what I had been looking forwards to back in the day. And so far it holds up rather well, even if it needs a little more time to cook.

Adapt is available to wishlist on Steam with a demo available to download now.

Adapt - Official Announce Trailer

Story – Origins of Life

As one would expect with a title like this, Adapt has no story. And in situations like this, I take a deeper look at the practical application of the game’s text; how readable it is, how the UI looks, how well the tutorial text conveys things etc. And for the most part, the developers have done an excellent job. The text is easy enough to read. The tutorial text for the creature builder tells you everything you need to know to help you build a better beastie. But the tutorial text in the main game itself is somewhat lacking.

Adapt's in-game tutorial is regrettably just a text box.

Adapt’s in-game tutorial is regrettably just a text box.

You are just plonked into the world with the only tutorial you get being a text box that tells you the controls and that is it. How to gain food, how to fight, what the different ‘moods’ mean, and so forth aren’t explained. And is all stuff you need to learn yourself. Now, I’m all for discovery in games, and I dislike it when they hold your hand. But the absence of a basic rundown of what some of these new elements meant is unfortunate. But Adapt is early into its development and something I’m sure will be remedied in due course. There is nothing drastically wrong with the writing of Adapt as it stands just bear in mind there is a little more discovery involved than I was expecting.

Gameplay – Evolution Revolution?

Adapt is a 3D action sandbox game where, at present, you lead a creature you have created from birth to death. Building a family, finding food, and fighting/fleeing from other animals. It is the Creature Stage from Spore but expanded upon and given far greater depth. You create your creature using a selection of shapes and parts. However, you can’t mould and shape the creature on the fly as you could in Spore. You instead select the part you want and it will snap onto the creature and move it if possible. For better or worse it is simple and easy to grasp.

Adapt's creature builder is decently robust for a pre-Alpha state.

Adapt’s creature builder is decently robust for a pre-Alpha state.

Once you create your abomination you select where to set up the nest where you will spawn. With every area of the map having a level of ‘survivability’ based upon the stats and traits of your creature; aquatic creatures need to be on the water, and all creatures need to be close to some source of their chosen diet. Despite being more involved than other similar titles Adapt is still rather accessible.

Eat it!

As I say, Adapt more than tips its cap towards Spore when it comes to its gameplay. Only it expands upon it certain areas. For example, you can select what time of year your creature mates. If they lay eggs or not. And as explained earlier there are more forms of diet that your creature can require. Beyond just being carnivores, herbivores or omnivores. They can be meat eaters, flower eaters, grass eaters, fruit eaters, bug eaters, nut eaters, and more. And certain food sources become scarcer in some seasons; for example, there are fewer leaves to eat in winter. Also unlike Spore, you can create creatures that are aquatic, amphibious, or your standard land walkers.

Not sure you're supposed to be down here mate!

Not sure you’re supposed to be down here mate!

Even at this early stage, there is a decent amount that you can do to create a collection of distinct and unique monsters. However I do feel that some of the diet sources are limited; if your creature eats grass or meat they are spoiled for choice, if they eat bugs, nuts, or flowers you can struggle to find enough food even at the best of times. Sure, this helps to encourage you to explore the world more, form a herd and travel the lands in search of sustenance. And as neat as that is some food sources feel so rare it almost feels pointless to make creatures that need them. And even when they are more prosperous it can be hard to see them due to how limited the colour pallet can be in some areas, but more on that in the Graphics and Audio section.

Alpha Beast

As explained in the intro the game is in a pre-alpha/alpha state. As such many aspects of the game are unrefined and lacking. You can’t save your game at present so have to start afresh with your monster each time. And the current gameplay loop at present is just “Walk around, find food, eat food, repeat” with fighting and mating thrown in as and when it is needed. Your creature cannot be upgraded or improved upon once the game starts. Whatever you create is what you will play as for the remainder of your time.

Eat, start a family, bully the locals, repeat.

Eat, start a family, bully the locals, repeat.

As a proof of concept, I think that Adapt does perfectly well. And I feel that it shows a lot of promise and given more time to develop it could be a fantastic title. I am curious to see what can be done to expand upon what is present within this build. As I’m not sure what an ‘end game’ state in a title like this would be, even if it needs one. But hey, that ain’t Ol’ Chris’s job to figure out!

Graphics & Audio – Walk the Dinosaur

For a title so early into its development Adapt has a surprisingly decent level of production quality, the likes of which have made this preview a pleasant experience. The monster and world designs are largely simplistic, aesthetically speaking. But as simplistic as they are the game is easy enough to read; it is clear what kind of traits each animal has and their bright colours stop them from vanishing into the background. And even as relatively basic as the creature creator is you can still create some distinct monstrosities to litter the wilderness.

Some of Adapt's generated creatures are rather freaky.

Some of Adapt’s generated creatures are rather freaky.

However as often beautiful as the game can be it can be hard to tell at a glance what is a source of food and what is just environmental decoration. With some sources of food looking nearly identical to one other. The first creature I made ate bugs. And at times it was hard to tell if something was an insect or a fruit. And I never realised that the hives existed until the icon for it finally appeared on one. I just thought it was the broken end of a branch!

Nut Music

Again, this is all alpha-level stuff, it can and will change. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t annoyed at the number of times I’d been wandering through the world desperately looking for a source of food only to find the thing I was running towards the wrong thing And on an unrelated note, I can’t say I have ever seen a single nut spawn in the time I’ve been playing the game. Maybe they are there and I can’t see them, or I’m in the wrong biome that is a possibility. But still, beyond my functional gripes, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the look and feel of Adapt even in this preview build.

Oh who'd be a bug eater?!

Oh who’d be a bug eater?!

Musically the soundtrack to Adapt is great. It has a soothing otherworldly quality to it that is relaxing to listen to. And of all the elements of the title as it stands I’d say that the soundtrack is the strongest part of it. If there were any part of the title that felt ‘feature complete’ it would be the music. I will admit that at times the juxtaposition between relaxing music and you fighting some nightmarish freak of nature can be jarring at times it is hardly something to condemn the title over. Plus the chirps and cheeps that the creatures make are rather adorable.

Adapt was previewed on PC.

Adapt offers a whole world of potential even at such an early stage of its development. And could easily be one to watch out for in future. Utilising an otherwise extinct subgenera of life simulation and expanding upon it to add great levels of depth it has a chance of growing into something special. And even now there is a decent slice of fun to be had! Even if it still might be a tad undercooked for some gamers.
  • Great Soundtrack.
  • Fine Creature creator.
  • Solid core Gameplay loop.
  • Buggy.
  • World design needs tweaking.
  • Maybe too repetative for some.

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