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Review

Evoland Review

  • First Released February 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PC
Aaron Sampson on Google+

Evoland goes through the motions of imitating some great games, but never evolves into a good game itself.

It can be pleasant to reminisce about the good old days. To listen to songs that are associated with happy memories, or to revisit movies that you loved as a kid. Sometimes, all it takes is a quick glance at an old photograph, or a whiff of a familiar home-cooked dish, to bring memories flooding back. Evoland sets out to overload your nostalgia receptors by hitting you with one familiar element after another, and if you've played the games it's referencing--early Legend of Zelda games, older Final Fantasies, Diablo--you'll certainly find yourself recalling time spent with those games. What Evoland fails to do is to fashion these throwbacks to older games into a game that's worth playing for its own sake. Establishing no unique identity, Evoland is content to just trot out its references and make you think of other games, and that's just not enough.

As its name implies, Evoland's core conceit is that it evolves frequently, particularly in terms of its visuals and gameplay. At the very beginning, its top-down perspective, chunky pixels, and lack of color suggest a Zelda-style action adventure game running on Nintendo's Game Boy. But as you guide your hero around, you open chests that change the gameplay and the world. One bestows the luxury of 16 vibrant colors on the game's graphics; another brings about musical accompaniment; and still another introduces save points.

But though the chests laid out in your path bring new monsters and new weapons (bombs and a bow eventually join the sword you acquire very early on) to the land of Evoland, the gameplay of these sections never advances past offering hack-and-slash combat, environmental exploration, and puzzle-solving of the most rudimentary. It tries to recall games like the original Legend of Zelda, but while it reminds you of that game (provided you once played it), it doesn't have any of Zelda's magic. This basic combat isn't a way for you to overcome dangers in a fascinating world whose landscape you must explore and conquer on your own; it's simply there to remind you of other, better games.

Evoland repeatedly reminds you that you've played plenty of games that are way better than Evoland.

Your journey soon takes you out onto an overworld map, where your travels are frequently interrupted by random encounters. These battles require no thought; you simply select your attack command until all your foes have been defeated. Early on, your hero--named Clink by default--is joined by a woman who is, by default, named Kaeris (do these names sound familiar?). Kaeris enlists your help to recover a crystal and save her village, but don't expect much plot development here. Like everything else about Evoland, the story is as generic as they come; that may make it easier for you to project your memories of whatever games Evoland reminds you of onto the experience of playing it, but it doesn't make Evoland itself any richer. Nor do Kaeris' healing abilities make the turn-based combat any more complex or engaging. The high rate of random encounters is reminiscent of the games Evoland wants to recall, but here, it's only a frustration, reminding you not of how good the games of days gone by were but of why games have largely left this mechanic behind.

Evoland's gameplay draws primarily upon early Zelda and Final Fantasy games--Clink, appropriately, sports a green tunic and spiky blond hair--but it shifts gears slightly for one dungeon, in which monsters attack you in swarms and drop piles of coins, a la Diablo. A character equipment screen mimics those seen in games of Diablo's ilk, but like so many things about Evoland, it's just a halfhearted imitation. Your enemies drop items that you automatically equip, but although their names call to mind the randomly generated loot of many hack-and-slash role-playing games, they're not actually randomly generated, nor do they have any real effect. It's a purely superficial reference that, when coupled with the bare-bones combat in which you can do little but press the attack button until all your enemies are dead, just makes you wish you were playing one of the better games Evoland is referencing.

Yes, there's an airship. Of course there's an airship.

It takes only a few hours to finish Evoland, but you couldn't call the game too short; because it lacks any soul of its own, its trotting-out of one reference after another grows tired and predictable well before the credits roll. It's possible for games to be all about celebrating other games and yet still be fun and exciting in their own right; Abobo's Big Adventure crammed in more references and gameplay styles than you can count, but used them in a game that you enjoy as much for its frequent surprises and subversions of your memories as you do for its faithful re-creations of aspects of older games. Evoland doesn't try to surprise you, to subvert your expectations, or even to capture what really made the games it's mimicking so great. It sets out only to remind you of earlier games. To that end, it succeeds, but it's hardly the most heroic of undertakings.

The Good
Brings back fond memories of classic games
The Bad
Rudimentary combat and exploration
Rote imitations of other games lack personality
5
Mediocre
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36 comments
ogamo_de
ogamo_de

Hey there,

I see you guys do not like this review a lot. I think it is not THAT bad, but maybe you want to read another one. We are a German blog and if you are a German reader, we would like to invite you to our website concerning indiegames only. At the review section you can see take a look on our thoughts of Evoland.

Greetings

torbonator
torbonator

Well this review completely missed the point of the game, the point is that it's being generic. No where in this review does the reviewer how hilarious it is, it just has little things that make you chuckle, it's not trying to be serious it's really just trying to be a cheap laugh which it is it's £7 full price on steam I got it for £3.50 in the sale. If you going to start comparing it to the AAA games it's mimicking then of course it will fall short.

The main thing against it is, if you haven't played anything in the adventure or RPG genre (mainly zelda and FF) then you will more than likely get bored but if you have and you are a big fun you will enjoy this cheap thrill.

alef321
alef321

what a shitty review 

oversoul53
oversoul53

This game wasn't supposed to be a unique game of it's own. It's a blatant rip-off of old school RPGs, and it's even advertised a such. It's supposed to be a copy of all these games put together, that's the whole point. 

randallsilver
randallsilver

Well, reading this review was a waste of time... Replying to it even more, come to think of it.

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

I would like to try it just for the concept though I'm not surprised it didn't turn out so well....what a shame 

PodXCOM
PodXCOM

What a awful review!

dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

I guess people don't understand that this game is a homage to the rpg genre and not so much a game on its own. Its amusing to see people say "you don't like the score cause you are all just nostalgic" yeah that is the point Sherlock, thats where this game is for. Remember us how the RPG genre moved. Still a fun game even though the combat hasn't been worked out at its best, but that is also cause it offers different styles.

dstarx
dstarx

This game is not that bad...at least it got some good ideas and bring us nostalgia feeling.

ArataWata
ArataWata

People hating are probably ones drowning themselves in nostalgia and think FF7 is the best in the series, begging for that old style of RPG.

It's a cute idea but if you want a game that does the whole "good ol days" RPG get 3D Dot Heroes, does it a lot better.

Strohmevenson
Strohmevenson

This a f**king awesome Game. I just Played it on Newgame9.com

NeonNinja
NeonNinja

I agree with the score.  I beat this game and it's literally just one gimmick after another to stay relevant during its run.  Yeah, it becomes 3D, yeah there are random battles.  Yeah, you find the Sword of Claud.  It's got some neat references, and even that Blade Runner quote had me giggling, but there really is nothing particularly GOOD about this game.

It's got one inspired and awesome section where you alternate between 2D and 3D to solve the dungeon and environmental puzzles.  But that's the ONLY time that the game feels like it actually started utilizing its concept rather than throwing it out there and saying "this is what the genre was about so here it is in our game!"

It's fun, but it's not worth the price.  I think it's worth playing, but wait for it to go half off on GoG or Steam, or pick it up in a Humble Bundle or something.  At $10 it offers very little that makes it worth your money.

Pukshd
Pukshd

Cmon guys, stop making these with a excuse " It's retro cuz is ugly and stuff..." You know, i like retro style games, but enough of this BS, if you don't have talent making art or game, learn!

Toadster17
Toadster17

"Evoland's core conceit is that it evolves frequently"

Core mechanic*

Fixed... This is one of the worst reviews that I've ever read. The game is admittedly brief and borrows heavily from the games which preceded it, but it isn't too much worse than a title like 3D Dot Game Heroes. It's a living testament to everything that is relevant to the RPG/ARPG/and even online game genre. Can't expect this title to create waves or anything but it's worth playing for those who grew up on NES/Genesis titles and so on.

If the author had any sense when it came to nostalgia they might have the capacity to point out that this is a niche title. Can't please them all.

hojonny
hojonny

These comments sections are always much better than the videos. Keep it coming people. 

Axass
Axass

The video review is atrocious, you just keep saying the same three things over and over.

gearfire
gearfire

I think that the game is supposed to be like this. Its game mechanics and gameplay are not meant to be original, only the concept. The game knows this and doesn't take itself too seriously, which is good. The game isn't the most amazing thing I've played, but it was pleasant and enjoyable and a good break from all the overstimulating action packed fighting and shooting games of today.

HADES2001
HADES2001

random encounters in RPG games were we moved on from ok stopped listening there the video reviewer is clearly never playing any RPG's anymore.

sethfrost
sethfrost

I enjoyed playing it, but cannot disagree with Carolyn's assessment. 

I still like the idea behind it and it's roots as a (still free version out there!) Ludum Dare #24 game jam contribution.

[The moment when the graphics get better & better, but the core game-mechanics stay the same - great moment! Great metaphor for today's games? Haha :D ]

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

So it's Retro City Rampage under a slightly different rose-tinted nostalgia lens, then. Got it.

I'll scratch that nostalgia itch with games whose developers understand that even old-school 2d shenanigans need to evolve, such as in Bit.Trip Runner 2 or Hotline Miami.

tom_cat_01
tom_cat_01

That's a shame. Game had a good premise. Ah well.

unreal_master
unreal_master

Same game comes out every year gets solid scores for being the same.

Different game comes out trying to be different gets low scores for being different.

jakerscythe
jakerscythe

Fantastic idea wasted on a poor game. Such a shame, opportunity lost.

Saketume
Saketume

Weird.  I played this game ehh like last year. It looks like it has evolved quite a bit since then or maybe I just had a demo? I think it stopped around the 2D 16 bit era. I certainly don't remember any 3D maps.

I thought it was a pretty cool idea but it wasn't that fun really. Nice to see it's way more complex now.

anfunny
anfunny

It's a garbage "game." But it tells a good story of the 25+ crowd's childhood. It's like reliving every generation of gaming all at once, frustrations and all. Also, good for developers to look at what was good about past games...and what's not so good.

nate1222
nate1222

Despite the obvious dirivativity of Evoland, I actually like it. Grabbed it off GOG and enjoy it quite a bit.

Pukshd
Pukshd

I think you get my point wrong, i love classic RPGs, but i just said that this thing of nostalgia to hide the games real form is already tiredsome.

Pukshd
Pukshd

I think people get my point wrong, i love classic RPGs, but i just said that this thing of nostalgia to hide the games real form is already tiredsome.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

"Core mechanic* fixed"

Not really. Jumping from one established type of gameplay to another just to show how it used to be then is not a "mechanic". It's a form of gameplay progression and, yes, a concept too.

"but it isn't too much worse than a title like 3D Dot Game Heroes"

3D Dot Game Heroes had a concept beyond just scratching the nostalgia itch and made use of it in its gameplay (the fact that it's actually a 3D game, only made of pixels, and some actual mechanics in the game reflect this - mechanics you won't find in, say, A Link to The Past).

"If the author had any sense when it came to nostalgia"

Impossible, as nostalgia and sense are mutually exclusive. Nostalgia is just a sentiment. It's not rational, it's not a concept.

The game has no sense beyond scratching that nostalgia and that's what the review addresses. You feel good about that nostalgia, more power to you. But don't try to make the game anything more than nostalgia itch because it isn't, and you can't blame the reviewer for pointing that out.

Kalan_Arkais
Kalan_Arkais

@hojonny When has any comment section anywhere on the Internet ever been any good and not populated by ranting idiots?

ArataWata
ArataWata

@HADES2001 Even though it's true.


A lot of games are moving away from random encounters. Stop drowning yourself in nostalgia.

Nissemean
Nissemean

@HADES2001 

Lots of games have ditched that horrible random encounter system.

Random encounters only made exploring a chore, because most of the time you only got attacked by loads of easy to kill enemies.

Best system is like Tales of The abyss,where you can run away and not have to be annoyed by lots of enemies only because you wanted to go and explore a sideway.

oversoul53
oversoul53

@ArataWata @HADES2001 Nostalgia is THE WHOLE POINT OF THE GAME. 


why do people miss that? 


anyone who bought this and expected an original game is an idiot. It's like a playable museum. It's there for the memories and to take us back on a journey. 

Evoland More Info

  • First Released February 2013
    • iPhone/iPod
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    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.
    6.2
    Average User RatingOut of 49 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Evoland
    Developed by:
    Shiro Games
    Published by:
    Shiro Games
    Genres:
    Adventure