Sunday, July 2, 2017

Evoland - 2/20 hours

Evoland is an easy game to play. It doesn't take up a lot of my headspace. There's not some great challenge to it. I don't have to wrack my brain to solve its puzzles or carefully hone my reflexes to survive its battles. It's just a simple slice of rpg-adventure gaming that is so thoroughly familiar I could play it on autopilot.

I will say, though, even for a genre send-up, the story is not very well constructed. It's self-aware about the fact that it is using The Basic RPG Plot - go to places, kill monsters, collect geegaws, thwart some nebulous evil - but it doesn't doesn't seem to want to do the work to establish the stakes, create memorable characters, or flesh out the world. It's as if it's relying purely on its evolving graphics gimmick to sustain the player's interest.

And to be fair, it's a pretty fun gimmick. All of your different graphics and gameplay upgrades are presented as treasure to be found in the world. You find a treasure chest, open it and BAM you go from black and white to color or from 2D to 3D. Seeing the world transform around you and returning to previous locations to see the same area rendered in different styles is damned cool. I probably would have preferred it if there was some story significance to the game's graphical evolution, but it's still pretty neat that the game gets prettier as time goes on.

I'm withholding judgement until I see the end of the story, but so far Evoland strikes me as one of the weaker comedy rpgs. I've been smiling a lot in the course of playing it, but I haven't laughed as much as I did in Half Minute Hero or Cthulhu Saves the World.

Those complaints are pretty much nitpicks, though. I'm enjoying the game, and that's enough.


  1. As I recall, it Evoland began life as a gimmick, a short flash or html game as part of a game jam or short-turnaround competition. It's fun, but its lack of depth shows.


    1. That makes a lot of sense, and would explain everything I both like and dislike about the game.