Evoland is a game built around a very good idea; a game in which you play through the different stages in the evolution of adventure games. The idea is superb, but as with so many other good ideas, the product simply doesn’t measure up. Evoland is filled with references that will tickle the nostalgia glands of anyone who played the great adventure games of the NES era, but apart from the occasional giggle there is not much more to be had. The controls are simple, the combat is repetitive, and the story is virtually non-existent. For a measly ten Euros, however, it may be worth the travel back to childhood memories.
It all starts with your character standing on a single line of blocks with right movement the only available control input. To his right, there is a chest. As you open it, you unlock left movement and the president for how the game works is set. In the beginning, the game is silent and black and white, reminiscent of the old Gameboy display. As you progress, however, you unlock increasingly higher levels of colour, texture quality, music, sound effects, movement, and graphical and interface technology.
It never evolves past the point of movement, a menu button, and two buttons for action and cancel, so as you may have figured already, the evolution the game claims to emulate stops at a pretty basic level considering today’s standards, with a coarse avatar running around a pretty rudimentary looking block-based world. To be fairly honest, I half expected a game based on the evolution of adventure gaming to start with an interactive novel waiting for me to write in plain text what I wanted my character to do. This game ignores adventure game history from ‘75 to ‘83 and from ‘00 to current times. The controls may be reminiscent of Wii, but the visuals and gameplay never evolve past what we saw on the Playstation 2.
The story is short, but as the full title of the game is Evoland: A short story of adventure video games evolution, that isn’t so surprising. It is a basic story of boy-rescues-girl-and-they-band-together-to-save-her-village-from-a-powerful-magical-evil. Most of the enemies are copied from games like Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, and even Super Mario, and the main character himself looks like Link and Cloud had a love child, confirming my suspicions about those two.
The first half of this game is most enjoyable when all you are doing is running around collecting treasure chests, because every one of them that doesn’t have a star or a card (more on those later) contains an element which will change the entire experience.
Seeing the world progressively change is enjoyable, high nostalgia value.
Very basic gameplay, repetitive combat.