In Indie Game HQ’s latest review, Nathan takes a look at Evoland by Shiro Games. Evoland was originally created for and won Ludum Dare #24. Since then, it has received a complete overhaul on the graphics, sounds, and story. The original can be played here for free and the updated version can be purchased on Steam, GoG, or directly from the developer for $9.99. All the necessary links can be found at the end of the review.
GAME NAME: Evoland
DEVELOPER(S): Shiro Games
PUBLISHER(S): Shiro Games
PLATFORM(S): PC, Mac
GENRE(S): Puzzle, Casual, Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): Apr. 4, 2013
We would like to thank Shiro Games for giving us the opportunity to review their latest title. For more, please check out their website.
Evoland is a journey through the history of action/adventure gaming, allowing you to unlock new technologies, gameplay systems and graphic upgrades as you progress through the game. Inspired by many cult series that have left their mark in the RPG video gaming culture, Evoland takes you from monochrome to full 3D graphics and from active time battles to real time boss fights, all with plenty of humor and references to many classic games.
- Play through the history of action-adventure video games
- Discover many evolutions, from old school 2D action/adventure to active time battles and full 3D action
- Revisit the starting area rendered in full 3D or explore the overworld with your own airship!
- And have fun with the dungeons, puzzles, a heap of secrets to uncover, and dozens of achievements and stars to collect
Upon first entering the world of Evoland, you’re taken to the main menu. The choices from then on out are pretty standard. You’ve got four options; New Game, Continue, Settings and Exit Game. No need to really explain what those do so we’ll move on. The controls are as follows, WASD/Arrow Keys to move, Space to attack/select and I to open the inventory.
The main concept behind Evoland is the evolution of video games through history. When you first start, you’ve got 8-Bit graphics, can only move right, and there is no sound. Later on, you’ll unlock some wonderful looking fully 3D graphics, a soundtrack and even the ability to move in eight directions! Other unlocks include: 3D battles, loading screens, pre-rendered towns, HD backgrounds, and a lot more. Although, Evoland isn’t all about unlocking new mechanics, there’s also a story! Unfortunately, I found it to be somewhat disappointing. I understand that the story isn’t exactly the main focus but that doesn’t mean it should feel thrown together.
Evoland will definitely play on your nostalgic side though; seeing many references to classic games, such as The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy games, made me reminisce back to my early days.
Aside from all that, if you like creative concepts and somewhat innovative gameplay mechanics, then you’ll probably consider buying Evoland. If you’re still on the fence, you can play the classic version for free. My main complaints would have to be the difficulty and awkwardness of fighting and how easy it was to die. In other words: Have a chance to save? Do it. You’ll save yourself plenty of lost time.
Evoland features a wonderful array of that classic RPG-themed music we all know and love. It’s got the old blips and bloops from the 8-Bit era all the way to what sounds like a complete orchestra of the modern day. All of the music throughout Evoland was great and I would definitely listen again.
As for the sound effects, they change and grow better as the game goes on, following the trend of everything else. At the end of the day, all of the audio for Evoland was well done and didn’t disappoint me in the least.
One of my favorite things from Evoland has to be watching the graphics evolve. From 8-Bit old-school Gameboy graphics to fully rendered 3D landscape and backgrounds, and everything in-between.
The pixel art is crisp and nostalgic, the 3D graphics are colorful and vibrant, and you’ll even see a transition from standard shaders to complete dynamic lighting. All in all, your eyes won’t be disappointed with what they’re seeing.
Down to the Nitty Gritty
Evoland is a call to arms for everyone with a nostalgic side and to those who like creative or innovative ideas. The real question: Is it a good game? Personally, I say yes it is. Evoland has almost everything it needs to make it a great game; a great concept, beautiful art, and an amazing soundtrack. I say almost because it is definitely lacking in a few departments.
The story, as I said above, was lacking. There wasn’t much reason to feel for the characters as I never really got to know them. Other than that it’s the standard RPG template: Save the world from an evil that is hellbent on complete and utter destruction.
The other, albeit smaller, complaints I had were the awkwardness of fighting and the spelling errors. Of course, the spelling could have been the result of translation issues or speedy proof-reads. Either way, it’s not a major complaint but just something I wanted to point out. The awkward fighting more than likely comes from the inability to move and swing your weapon at the same time. I found myself getting hit over small errors which, in other games, would never have happened. Again, not a huge issue just me nitpicking.
To reiterate myself, Evoland is a good game, it just falls short of being a great game. At a price point of $9.99, there isn’t really much to complain about. If you’re a fan of classic Zelda and Final Fantasy games, you’ll more than likely enjoy playing Evoland.
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