You might not be able to tell from the screenshot, but this portion of Evoland plays like a simplified version of the Diablo games, complete with hyperbolic loot titles and a health meter that looks like a glade orb filled with blood. This section of the game is a little frustrating, as even with the magical ring that grants me +10% to grinding, I’ve had to re spawn a lot in order to gather all the loot I need to survive the cavern.
But that’s also part of the charm of Evoland: It gives you just enough of the feel of various old school RPGs that you can taste the joy (and frustration) of each generation without ever feeling an urge to eject the game disc and frisbee it across the room.
Steam tells me that I’ve played 4 hours of Evoland over the last couple days, and that’s about the right length of time to invest in this game. Any shorter and it would feel like a mere history lesson. Any longer and the Final Fantasy/Zelda combat mashup would become frustrating, especially when I keep having random encounters with potted plants straight out of Mario.
Viewed merely as a video game, Evoland would be worth only a brief mention. The plot is thin. The controls are extremely basic. The combat can be kindly described as minimalist.
Where Evoland shines is in its continual shifting between game styles. The best moments are to be found in the opening scenes, as the game rapidly moves through primitive graphical and interaction styles until it reaches a Super Nintendo level of quality, and in one of the later chapters, which requires you to flip back and forth between 2D and 3D modes to solve an otherwise simple maze and switch puzzle.
Better Than: Any part of Final Fantasy XII where you’re stuck playing or watching Vaan.
Worse Than: Grinding in Final Fantasy X.
Final Thoughts: Absolutely worth playing if you enjoy simple cRPGs and can appreciate a flawed game for its charms.
You can buy Evoland on GOG, Steam, or the Humble Store.