I have taken many adventures through a screen, from battling through the lands of Hyrule, having discussions with the people of Midgar, trudging through the swamps of Sanctuary, and flying the skies of Veldt. Two-dimensional pixelated sprites, 3D polygons, monochrome greys, 8-bit colors, luscious spectrums and more can describe the eyes that I’ve seen many of these exploits through. If you take the memories of these feats and add in some subdued humor, then you’re on the right track for what Evoland has to offer.
In my first moment into Evoland, I was dropped into a greyscale land and stripped of any interaction other than moving right ’til I hit a treasure chest. This unlocked left movement and revealed the game’s main mechanic, which should be somewhat familiar if you have played DLC Quest. As you open a majority of the chests throughout the game, they will unlock new features that changs the playing field. These features vary from cosmetic changes like higher color counts, to new mechanics, or even completely new sub-genres within the adventure/RPG formula.
This starts out working excellently to create enjoyable puzzles or add a layer of depth to existing ones and makes the gameplay fresh and exciting as you move through different sections of the story. It also leads to many of the tongue-in-cheek-style jokes poking fun at some RPG tropes often leaning on nostalgia for particular games. However the flaws also begin to show with the mechanic as well. The first few sections are glossed over pretty quickly before you reach any real gameplay or puzzles, leaving me feeling there was a bit of a missed opportunity, and creating the theme of my issues with the game in general. Out of each of the gametypes I ventured through, it felt as though only the Zelda style was fleshed out with interesting puzzles and fun battles. Alternatively, turn-based RPG areas suffer the most with an almost comically large amount of random battles and paper-thin combat where you essentially just spam heal and attack to victory. As these sections dragged on in the later portions, I found myself just yearning for the next better area to arrive.
Fortunately, since the play varies often, it takes the burden off it being insipid. Even the later portions of the game, a card game reminiscent to the game in Final Fantasy VIII and a small series of amusing side quests managed to keep the game fresh and gave me more reasons to push through the more banal moments.
So despite its lower points, I ended up enjoying my quick stay in Evoland, and if you’re still questioning if you should purchase it, I would consider your love for the source games from which it borrows and parodies. Then compare that to your patience trudging for through some of the more tedious sections to reach the better portions of the game. If that idea hangs in your realm of adventure, you can pick Evoland up at the official website, Steam, or Good Old Games for only $10.
Evoland was provided for review by Shiro Games.