It's fitting that Evel Knievel, an iconic figure of the '70s, should make a comeback in the mobile gaming world. After all, many of the games found on cell phones can trace their roots directly back to the halcyon days of Pong and Space Invaders. While there's a lot of stuff better left in the 1970s, Evel Knievel Evel-ution delivers a decent stunt riding game.
Evel-ution is a combination time trial and stunt game. You must guide Evel Knievel through a series of jumps and wheelies to score points. If you wipe out, you lose points. As you progress through a level, a meter in the upper right-hand corner fills up to reflect your running point total. If you completely fill the meter before time runs out, you clear the board. If you fail, you must start over. You can fail three times before the game ends.
The controls are easy to pick up. While on the ground, you can accelerate or brake. While in the air or in the midst of a wheelie, you can lean forward or back to level off your bike or keep your balance. Clearing the jumps is a deceptively simple task. As you approach each ramp, the game flashes a target speed that you need to hit in order to make the jump. Hit the ramp too slow, and you miss the far ramp. Slamming on the gas doesn't help much, because you wipe out if you overshoot the ramp or lose your balance in the air. The faster you're going as you take the jump, the more difficult it is to straighten up your bike before you touch down.
Wheelies are a bit easier, though they require some finesse. You can hit the wheelie section of the course at a high speed to burn through it quickly, but this increases the chance that you'll lose your balance and take a tumble.
Taking a spill is a sure way to fail a level, since you lose time and suffer a point penalty. Not only are you further from your points goal, but you have less time to complete it. The levels offer a nice balance between speed and caution. You can barrel ahead to complete more jumps, and thus score more points, but the faster you go, the greater the chance of a wipeout.
Between each level you have the chance to re-create one of Knievel's more memorable stunts. Each of these challenges is a single, long jump that requires a fair amount of timing. These jumps require much higher speeds than the ones on the courses, making it all too easy to go too fast or too slow as you hit them. As you progress through the levels, you can unlock a bonus mode that features Evel Knievel on a wheelchair, broken leg and all, in place of his typical motorcycle. While a comical sight, it also offers a fun challenge, since the wheelchair is more difficult to control than the bike.
Overall, Evel Knievel Evel-ution is a fun mobile game. Like all good classic arcade-style games, it has simple controls and a simple premise but challenging gameplay that requires practice and good reflexes to master.