I think the biggest issue is that the game has trouble communicating what makes life easier and what doesn’t, rather than needing tutorials. The cell stage is fairly simple when you get down to it, there’s only three major goals-
-Exploit a resource faster than you burn it.
-Have enough storage capacity and sensory input to find resources before you run out.
-Don’t get ganked by other cells.
-and as long as you can reliably complete them, you don’t really have to worry.
I’d lean towards adding features that make it easier for a player to ID how good they are at that goal, rather than adding more tutorials, which can backfire (e.g Don’t Starve having players quit the game after implementing a tutorial, and having much better success modifying the crafting system to make it easier to ID your own needs This Psychological Trick Makes Rewards Backfire - YouTube ). For example-
-Adding a ‘Biomass’ metric to use as an alternative score to ‘Population’, to encourage players to use big, efficient cells without worrying about Population loss so much.
-Moving the ‘Vacuole’ part from eukaryotic to prokaryotic, or otherwise expanding the ability to store particular molecules for prokaryotes (e.g ‘Starch Grains’ for glucose, equivalents for iron and sulphides). Currently the game is balanced such that it’s rather difficult to find food faster than you burn it as a prokaryote, and becomes much easier once you get a nucleus and evolve vacuoles; making vacuoles the ‘general storage’ but letting prokaryotes use specialised storage would make life much easier for them.
-Providing rough estimates of scarcity-versus-seeking-capacity. For example, if the generator is producing glucose blobs such that you can travel 50 micrometres in any direction and probably spot glucose, and your cell can only move 30 micrometres before starving, give it a ‘Glucose: Too Scarce’ warning.
-Add a few highlights to creatures in the ecosystem, for features that aren’t immediately obvious. For example, on the mouse-over you could add ‘Potential Prey’ for creatures you can engulf (regardless of digestibility), ‘Chitinous’ or ‘Cellulous’ if they’re protected by membranes, ‘Potential Predator’ for creatures that can engulf you, ‘Toxic’ if they’re poisonous, and so on. Maybe a measure of their resources, too- an iron-eater might not want to develop chitinase if the only chitinous prey are obligate sugar-feeders or suphide-feeders!
But ye, tutorials tend to be better for games that have the same goal every time, instead of being ‘make-your-own-fun’. As long as the game can communicate how hard a creature is to play, and what might make it easier, it probably won’t need them more than the very basics like movement and editor tools.