Witness the evolution of gaming in this action adventure by Shiro Games as you travel from simple monochrome to full 3D graphics.
I know that I’m quite late to the party. This game has been released 8 months ago and chances are that you have probably heard of it by now. But I recently picked it up during the Steam sale and felt that the games’ metacritic doesn’t do it justice ( it’s 61 / 100 at the moment). So in this review I won’t focus that much on the game itself but more on why I disagree with other reviews.
Alright the story of Evoland is the evolution of gaming itself, you start off in a monochrome world where all you can do is to walk to the right. After going a few steps you gain the ability to also walk left and after walking a few steps to the left you are also able to walk up and down. This goes on and on and you gain more and more features like 16 bit graphics and simple sounds. At one point you unlock an actual story in the game which is as shallow as the gameplay and combat mechanics. But it’s a good shallow, the game is clearly taking the piss with its’ ridiculous story and it does that with a good portion of humor.
Why I disagree with other reviews
I’ve read too many reviews about this saying that the random encounters are annoying and I can see why you would feel that way. But in that case all the game does is accurately portrait how a typical RPG works. I can’t imagine that reviewers who are complaining about a few random encounters are able to enjoy a Pokémon game or any of the old RPG like Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy… The reviewers are complaining that the gameplay mechanics are too simple and that they stop evolving beyond a simple attack and heal mechanic and I wonder if anyone of them actually played an old RPG (or even a newer one like Pokémon…) because thats still pretty much all you need to do.
They also criticize that the game should start at text adventures and that it doesn’t portrait EVERYTHING and at that point I really start to wonder if they have any idea how complex it can be to create such a “small and simple” game like Evoland. The game features a fuckton of different genres and graphics and I really don’t want to imagine what hassle it must have been to program it. Also keep in mind that this is no huge triple-A release but the first release by a small team.
Now you could argue that the size of the developing team or the budget shouldn’t be taken into account when judging a video game. But I’d disagree with that because those are factors which directly influence the asking price (which was 9.99$ on release) and this is an important criteria in my opinion.
So we are talking about 9.99$ for a game which will probably entertain you for about four hours. It’s of course up to you to decide if this a good bang for your buck ratio and worth your money.
Now lets talk about the length which is also a huge issue for many reviewers. As I’ve said it’s about four hours long, maybe even a bit longer if you decide to unlock all achievements and see everything in the world. But I don’t think that you’d spend much more than 6 hours in this game. And that is good. As I’ve said, the game mechanics are shallow. Don’t get me wrong, they are well executed but they lack depth. This is simply due to the fact that this game is about the evolution of gaming and not about the depth of gaming. I think they did a great job with the length of each different gaming section because it’s the right amount for you to still want more of the game without realizing that the game mechanics really aren’t that top notch. Of course this is a very personal opinion and many will disagree with me on that point but lets just take a look at the Steam achievement page for this particular game shall we?
Look at it! 24.2% got the “Hero” achievement which means beating the final boss of the game. So 1/4 of the players actually spend around four hours with this game and I honestly believe that this is a much longer time than many people usually play a single video game nowadays. I see many people picking up a video game during the various Steam sales or even when they are still in an open beta, just to play it for around 10 – 30 minutes and never touch the game again. Evoland does a phenomenal job in hooking you up and leaving you when you still want to play it. And is this really a bad thing to do?
In the end it all comes down to your personal premise. If you expect this game to be a triple-A release title which covers the whole fucking gaming history while being fun, without being repetitive, with a gaming length of at least 15 hours, a huge gameplay depth and all that for 10$ then this game is not for you. If on the other hand your expectations aren’t totally over the top and you want a good few hours of solid entertainment and a huge amount of nostalgia for a fair asking price then by all means go pick this up!