So Is Evoland Any Good?

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If you’ve been browsing indie games on Steam, Humble Bundle, or GoodOldGames over the last year or so you might have noticed Evoland, if only at a glance, and maybe wondered for a second whether it was any good. It might even be in your Steam backlog. After a Giant Bomb quick look I got interested enough to actually boot up the game and take a look. Ultimately it’s a pretty good idea that probably could have had a meatier game devoted to it.

Evoland advertises itself as a trip through the history of action adventure games and RPGs. In practice it toes the line between fan game and capable parody game, its unique gameplay element being introducing the advancements in the genre as actual items to collect in-game.

I have to admit, getting items that drastically change how the world is presented and what you can do in it feels pretty cool. Opening a chest that all of a sudden doubles the number of directions in which you can walk, or grants you a life bar, can immediately and drastically alter what you’re doing.

At the same time, the old school-style gameplay to be found in Evoland is actually pretty well-designed despite being very simple (even compared to the games Evoland emulates). The turn-based combat feels nice and quick for anyone who enjoys JRPGs. . There’s no mana system so it’s pretty much just attacking and healing , but there’s no too much of this combat unless you get seriously lost on the world map. One dungeon in the game — which pretty much tries to be a dungeon out of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, offers some surprisingly well-done puzzle-based gameplay and a suitably challenging boss fight. There’s even one area of the game that took me totally by surprise by parroting gameplay I didn’t expect it to. Let’s just say Evoland is a pretty shameless Zelda and Final Fantasy parody up until a certain point.

The thing is though, Evoland is a very small game. It took me just over two hours to see the credits, and at that point it told me I’d seen around 85 percent of all the content. This doesn’t really give players enough time between getting each new game feature, as you collect them at a rapid pace. What level design is there is well-crafted, there just isn’t a whole lot of it.

For some reason the parody game I keep comparing Evoland to is 3D Dot Game Heroes on the PS3. Both use parody in gameplay elements and end up featuring genuinely good game design on their own merits, but of course 3D Dot was made by a much larger team and printed on $40 discs.

BULLETS:

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