Title: Evoland: Legendary Edition
Developer: Shiro Games
Publisher: Shiro Games
Genre: Action & RPG
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Audience: E for Everyone
Release Date: 7/2/2019
Price: £17.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Evoland is a journey through the history of action/adventure gaming, allowing you to unlock new technologies, gameplay systems and graphic upgrades as you progress through the game. Inspired by many cult series that have left their mark in the RPG video gaming culture, Evoland takes you from monochrome to full 3D graphics and from active time battles to real time boss fights, all with plenty of humor and references to many classic games.
Evoland 2 graphics style is changing as you travel through time and its gameplay evolves as you move along the storyline. It is also a real RPG at heart, with a deep scenario based on time travel: explore different eras and change the history of the world. But are you sure that the consequences will not make things worse?
Evoland: Legendary Edition, from developer Shiro Games, is a compilation of the original Evoland and Evoland 2 out now for the Nintendo Switch. If you are unfamiliar with this series, you should know that this RPG series is known for much more than just being a cut-and-dry copycat of other games in the genre. These entries have unique identities that offer an RPG adventure and history lesson of the genre while you play through them. If you’ve been gaming since the 8 and 16-bit eras, nostalgia will hit you hard with the many different call-backs Evoland: Legendary Edition provides for the player.
First off, I should mention I completed Evoland 2 and made it about halfway through the original Evoland on the Legendary Edition, and I must say, Evoland 2 does almost everything better than the first offering. The use of different graphical designs that weren’t integral to the first was made wholly unique to the narrative of Evoland 2. What was not much of a story in the original was drastically improved upon in Evoland 2, offering much deeper lore with pivotal moments in its history with engaging characters and meaningful dialogue. This review will be focusing much more on Evoland 2 than the original, and I wouldn’t blame you for starting with the second right off the bat.
While the first Evoland felt like it was pandering to its audience, throwing any random gaming reference at them, Evoland 2 pulls back the needless allusions and allows the gameplay to do the talking. This pleasant change allowed the developers more creative freedom and it with the second instalment. You always want to get to the next quest, and I was delighted when I was rewarded with new exploratory options.
Looks and Sounds
The graphics are truly a sight to behold with excellent sprite work and animations. The NES style is playfully simple, utilising a colour mosaic of pixelated creativity. Jumping up to the SNES 16-bit style, the game looks similar to the Square Enix classics of the past with expressive and lively models. When Evoland 2 does break into 3D, it’s leaps and bounds above the later stages of the original, looking on par with a well done PS2 title.
Musically, both Evoland games featured fantastic tracks that fit in with each era of gaming you were involved with. A tropical island theme will have a Caribbean flair, consisting of rhythmic drums, high pitched flutes, and luscious strings, while a dark cavern will have slow, methodical notes with a piano with soft woodwinds. The music almost feels overly inspired in execution, with my favourite being while you’re in a graveyard a track plays that wouldn’t sound out of place in Castlevania games.
Gameplay and Replayability
Both games are primarily played as overhead action slashers, similar to the Mana or Zelda series’. You will utilise your characters partners as additional powerful attacks rather than as individuals fighters. When you hold down the attack button, your selected partner will begin to charge releasing a powerful attack onto your enemies or on-screen obstacles. When you kill enemies, they either drop coins, health, or experience points.
Controls are very simple to pick-up, but perhaps too easy with the abundance of other similar RPG’s gameplay-wise. In all fairness, they were probably kept simple because you jump in and out of 8-bit graphics, aerial segments, and sidescrolling. Despite all the new sections coming at me, they didn’t bog me down with explaining controls over and over again, so while it may be simple, it keeps the flow going with its uniformity.
This brings me to probably my biggest complaint of Evoland: Legendary Edition which is all the references. While I appreciated what the developers did of providing a parody platform for many different types of gameplay experiences, they may have tuned the nostalgia so well it’s great without a gimmick. When you stumble upon a reference, it only tends to pull you out and remind you that you’re playing what’s pretending to be a game. The reference may be light enough, but it’s when a reference becomes too obvious or obnoxious that it hurt the overall mood and experience. Thankfully, the great references outnumbered the lacklustre ones, but it should still be noted regardless.
Overall, if you’re a fan of the series or want a nostalgia fix, Evoland: Legendary Edition is a fun and enjoyable experience. If you’ve never played the series before, this is the definitive way to experience a wholly unique concept of gaming history, even with the lacklustre original Evoland. While it still leans too heavily on being a celebration of games that came before it, Evoland: Legendary Edition stands as a must-own title for fans of the genre.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Evoland: Legendary Edition on the Nintendo eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Evoland-Legendary-Edition-1503397.html