While rather rough around the edges, The Sapling has a good idea and the groundwork done to become an interesting evolution sim where you design plants and animals. Note: Key provided by the developer.
Just recently released into Early Access from solo developer Wessel Stoop, this is their attempt to create a proper simulation game after their disappointment in 2008's Spore.
That's quite a high bar to put themselves against though, Spore might not have been what everyone wanted but it remains as a very popular game and from what I've seen of The Sapling so far it seems nothing really alike. Not a bad thing though, every game needs to have its own flavour and feel.
- Design plants and animals.
- Fast-forward time to and watch the ecosystem work like a charm or slowly fall apart (probably the latter :) ).
- A sandbox mode where you can skip time and turn on random mutation, allowing true evolution.
- An instinct system where you can specify what an animal should do when it hears or sees something.
- A procedural animation system so any animal can perform any animation.
- Procedural music mixed on the fly.
- Everything set up to be easily extended by players.
Currently, the Linux version suffers from a Unity bug where there's no input in full-screen so you have to play it in windowed mode. Hopefully the developer will solve that soon. They're saying it will remain in Early Access for at least 6 months so we will check back on it when it's further developed to see just how much this evolution sim itself evolves.