The history of video games is an interesting one, and what made the first Evoland game unique is that it led you, the player, across the history of the adventuring-roleplaying genre. While the game was a very short one (had about 3-4 hours of play), it was an interesting idea: evolving the gameplay and the graphics from 2D NES-era RPGs to 3D adventures and mobile Pay-2-Win games of today. The game was liked well enough to warrant a more fleshed out sequel, which we received just now, in August, in the form of Evoland 2.
What is Evoland 2 ?
Evoland 2, unlike its predecessor, is a full-fledged game, with about 25 hours of gameplay in it, and it even has a story involving time traveling, which sets the stage for the game genre transformations quite nicely: when you go into the future, you’ll arrive in a fully 3D space, and when you go back to the past, the graphics devolve into NES or SNES-like 2D top-down view.
When you look at the Steam store page for Evoland 2, you might be very confused – what exactly is this game? Well, it contains everything in little bits – from Space Invaders, to Street Fighter, to Mario, Zelda, and classic Final Fantasy 3-6 era RPGs, it has everything the Nintendo systems had over the years. You will be playing through the story mostly in the 2D or 3D RPG mode, with little doses of Mario-like dungeoneering, some bossfights thrown in here and there in various game types and modes, and a lot of time travel is involved, especially in the second half of the game. The game itself is quite linear; you cannot travel freely from era to era, the game dictates itself.
Also, Evoland 2 is not a full-fledged RPG; it has a very simple, RPG-like leveling, where you gain XP from killing monsters and coin from monsters and breakable objects. XP will increase your level, which in turn increases your Attack, Defense or Max Life. Most of the time, when you are not in Final Fantasy-like Active Time Battle or Fire Emblem-like tactical mode, so for about 90% of the game, you will fight in real-time, with one normal sword slash and 1-3 special attacks, depending on your party members available at that time. There is also some gear you can buy, and cards you can collect for a simple, Hearthstone-like mini-game, which only has minions to attack with.
Well, how difficult is the game?
Those RPGs of old were known for their difficult puzzles and combat. Evoland 2 has a LOT of puzzles, some harder others, and the game doesn’t feature area maps or objective modes telling you where to go next. You have to talk to NPCs, pay attention to the dialogues and often figure it out for yourself, or do trial-and-error. Some boss battles are quite unbalanced and frustrating, such as the Bomberman-like battle or the Space Invaders-like sequence’s 3 bosses. There is no way you can outlevel them, so it involves a lot of trying to finally get through them.
All in all, I found Evoland 2 to be an interesting game, and it is much better than the first one, but is can sometimes be frustrating, especially at boss battles and several harder puzzles. This game is not for those who need written guidance to complete levels, as sometimes it can take a lot of time to figure out several parts. Or you can just Google several YouTube videos and gameplays, but that takes out the fun of this old-school-inspired game. Fans of old games might appreciate this game better than younger players, as it has a LOT of references to older classics hidden in gameplay, events and dialogues.
Written by Adam Vogl, follow him on Twitter @Hurricane1989.