Evoland has peeked my interest ever since I first laid my eyes on it. Similar to DLC quest, you travel through the world of a RPG, constantly upgrading the gameplay/graphics as you progress. This was enticing as DLC Quest was a very short game taking the mick out of the DLC culture, so I wanted to see what Shiro games brought to the table with Evoland, as their marketing approach was definitely different to say the least.
You start the game as a 2D RPG, reminiscent of Final Fantasy games of yester-year. Only able to move in certain directions, you plod along opening chest after chest. Each chest gives the game a new look or feel, one chest gives the game colour, the other, the ability to move in all directions. It all quickly adds up, and soon you’re walking around the world like you’re in a Zelda game.
The game doesn’t end there, making sure to keep evolving the graphics and gameplay to the point you’re using different systems for different locations. In dungeons you’ll fight like Zelda, pushing blocks to open doors, killing enemies to unlock levers, it all is very familiar, where as in the main world map, you’ll fight creatures like in a Final Fantasy game; a turned based system where you also level up and acquire gold.
All of this alone wouldn’t be enough to keep a player enticed for 3-4 hours, so Evoland does have a plot, but I use that word loosely. The plot is only introduced after 20 minutes of playing the game, and even then it’s a sentence or two. This means players will spend the first 20 minutes walking around for the sole purpose of seeing the world around them evolve, which isn’t bad, its just schizophrenic that the game seems to take both the world and the plot seriously, without ever intertwining the two. The plot feels separated from the game itself, so you end up not knowing whether the story is a joke or a serious tale.
Gameplay was fine and enjoyable for the most part, but there were times when the dungeons would become frustrating and dubious to finish. Such times relied too heavily on the Zelda mechanics of the game, which was a fairly flawed fighting system, and after dying meant you’d have to start the dungeon again and again. It became annoying, but persistance prevails is the only advice I can give to those wanting to give this game a go.
- Great little history lesson in RPG’s
- Great graphics for each style
- Plot doesn’t live up to the standards set by the gameplay
- Certain dungeons/levels aren’t well thought out, resulting in numerous retries
Overall, Evoland is a good game for a first time studio, and certainly lives up to its trailers and hype for showing the world the Evolution of RPG’s. Where the game falls short though is in its ability to become more than DLC quest’s mick take of the DLC phenomenon, and become a real game in its own right.
Evoland is on sale at the moment on Gog.com for only $5, so I’d say its worth a play for its price.