Casual Commitments: Evoland

Brent A. Hopkins

In Casual Commitments, we explore the ups and downs of casual gaming.

Back again with another quick game review of a Steam-available gem called Evoland developed by Shiro Games.

Evoland is relatively unique in its class because it really is a throwback to three of the biggest RPG franchises out there. The art style is mostly focused around Zelda, the story and map setup is taken from Final Fantasy, and there is even a dungeon that switches to a Diablo-style loot-em-up. The whole experience is relatively short and sweet spanning about six-ten hours depending on how long you take to find all its secrets.

The Evo in Evoland comes from the evolution of the graphics and gameplay elements that you pick up in treasure chests scattered throughout the game. These are all given in small pieces as opposed to massive jumps so you can see how gaming really has evolved over time. You start out in this 8-bit classic Game Boy environment and slowly build up to PS1-flavor environments. As a person who has played the gamut of gaming consoles I will goofily admit that there were times, particularly with Mode7 and smooth scrolling, where I found myself chuckling a bit thinking back on games I played before these technological leaps.

(The pixels, kid, the pixels!)

The game itself is actually not too far from a Game Boy game really, utilizing two buttons one for actions and attacking the other for canceling and accessing a pretty useless pause menu. The obvious point of the game is more like a museum where you look at the relics from past generations while casually solving the simplest puzzles these games had to offer.

This is probably where the game suffers the most. The game is fun but the battle system is so tragically archaic that I may have misled you all when I said it was like a Game Boy game. This game actually has less going on when dealing with battles than some Atari games. You get the concept of Zelda and Final Fantasy battles but because there is zero customization and the evolutions stop at the most basic levels you will find yourself DREADING and I mean sighing in distress when you get a random battle.

I played the game with achievements in mind, like I do with most every game, and they are simple to get and pretty intuitive as well. There are a slew of lil’ jokes here and there and there is nothing like playing as Clink: a green-tunic-wearing-spiky-haired-blond with a rather huge sword. Don’t expect a lot from the battle system but you get a taste of enough different games that it will keep you interested, especially if you don’t have achievements in mind.

I give Evoland 3.5 out of 5 pixels because it is worth the play for those that like Zelda and Final Fantasy VII but there is no reason to play it again once the credits roll.

Evoland is produced by Shiro Games.

Image source: Theology Games and Indie Haven

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