By: James Schafer – Special to The Campus Press
(ORIGINAL PRINTED November 2013 EDITION)
If you grew up on the likes of Legend of Zelda or the SNES Final Fantasy games, I must express caution as reading this review can cause abdominal bleeding, spontaneous combustion, and pure waves of nostalgia. This short game called Evoland was released not too long ago. Made by Shiro Games, It’s a nice homage to old games gone by and carries a sweet charm. Originally starting as a contest entry in the LudumDare competition, this game’s main focus is ‘evolution.’ Strewn throughout the game’s world are chests that evolve the game from a simple 8bit presentation to a modern 3D style. The plot of Evoland is simple and like most of the game, it grows as you travel through. You shouldn’t expect much, though. Since there aren’t any major plot developments until halfway through. Same for characters, there is only one other major character besides your main hero. It’s story may not rival any other games, but its dialog is filled tiny references that’ll give you a chuckle. When you first start the game, you are greeted with a thin strip of green shaded pixels. In the center is your hero and to the sides are chests. Collecting these chests unlock the basics of 2-D movement and open up the screen. You won’t have to deal with the amount of green for long as you slowly upgrade your color display from an 8-bit display to 16-bit all the way to 64-bit colors. Even the tiny pixelated characters get facelifts with each chest you obtain. Halfway through you pick up a chest that transforms the entire game into the 3rd dimension. The sound also follows this formula, starting with basic chiptunes and then listening to high quality orchestrated pieces. It’s great fun watching the game grow up in tandem with the technology of the time.
Shades of Zelda While playing through, you will find two different gameplay styles. The first is an adventure style in the likes of Zelda games. You can move around and slash with your sword. This is the most common and, frankly, the more fun. You start with the sword but soon unlock bombs and a bow to help with puzzles and combat. The second gameplay type is a turn-based role-playing game following the formula of the early Final Fantasy games. While walking around you can randomly initiate a battle. Once in a battle you and your foes take turns hitting each other. These battles can seem a bit frequent, but they are rather easy so there’s not much worry. The main quest is really short. It won’t take you more than a couple hours and there isn’t much optional content to occupy your time. The game is certainly way too short for what it could be, but it is a nice game that will remind you of your favorite games growing up. For the short price-tag it carries, it is certainly worth a quick look.