One of the things that bothered me more than I thought it would was the way evolving a microbe works. While, realistically speaking, undoing changes costing points makes sense, in terms of someone jumping into the game from a beginner’s perspective, it severely hinders experimentation, and because of that, coupled with the inability to re-open the creature editor as needed, even with the ability to save, if you built wrong, you’d be quite literally dead in the water regardless. While this might be a rewarding way to play for a veteran of the game who’s already fairly familiar with the ins and outs of how creatures work, for such a complex game as Thrive where not every part is a straight upgrade (unlike Spore), new players will need that freedom of mechanics exploration so the game doesn’t boil down to what is effectively a roguelike with a save button. It would also make testing that much easier and accessible and so, imo, should be implemented asap.
That said, keeping the points loss mechanic for editing as a difficulty setting would be great for veterans. In fact, more in the long term, I think the game would benefit from dynamic and varied difficulty settings, letting the player adjust resource scarcity, AI difficulty, evolution rate, and of course creature editor points return. While scientific accuracy is a great thing to strive for and I really applaud that, I would also like to see the option for the game to be friendlier to players so that it’s more accessible.