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Video Game / The Sapling

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A game about life and evolution.

The Sapling is an evolution Simulation Game developed by Wessel Stoop that is currently in early access. Inspired by games such as Spore, it allows players to create plants and animals to inhabit a virtual ecosystem. There are two gameplay modes:

  • In scenarios, the player must create organisms that meet certain requirements to complete objectives, and each milestone unlocks more complex organism parts.
  • In sandbox mode, the player has access to all the parts in the organism editors from the start, and can turn on random mutations to watch the ecosystem evolve on its own.

The Sapling has an official website and YouTube channel, and is available on Steam and


This game contains examples of:

  • Amazing Technicolour Wildlife: Your creations can come in any colour from the visible light spectrum and beyond; you get an achievement for colouring an animal infrared or ultraviolet.
  • Amazing Technicolor World: The sea & sandbox update allows you to customise plant colours as well, and in sandbox mode, you can customise which colours will be able to photosynthesise on your planet.
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: Wessel has admitted in the devlogs that he simplified parts of biology in order to make the game easier to understand. For example, whether an animal can breathe on land or water depends on its mouth, even though not all animals breathe through their mouths.
  • Procedural Generation: When random mutations are turned on in sandbox mode, the game adds pre-existing parts in logical locations onto pre-existing species. Also, the background music during gameplay is made of various parts that play depending on what's happening.
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  • Recurring Riff: The music mainly consists of ambience interspersed with variations of the same 12-note riff.
  • Shout-Out: According to a devlog, the triple tube-shaped eyes added in the sea & sandbox update are a reference to Alien Biospheres.
  • Speculative Biology: The game is about creating plants and animals that have to survive in certain environmental conditions. The player can edit their creations, or let the game randomly mutate them in sandbox mode.