Evoland is less of a game and more of an interactive trip down memory lane. Although the game wears its gameplay influences on its sleeve (The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy being the two most prominent examples), defining a specific category for the game is near impossible. The hook is that new mechanics are constantly introduced as you progress through the game. These upgrades can range anywhere from the mundane to incredible. One minute I was granted the ability to walk left and the next I was presented with a complete graphical overhaul. To speak any further would be spoiling the experience, but you can be sure that the game jams an impressive amount of content in a short amount of time.
Special mention goes to the game’s writing. Every role-playing game trope imaginable is featured and there are several hilarious moments to be found here. It manages to be humorous, all without being derisive. It should be noted that, taken on their own, the individual gameplay systems found in Evoland are quite poor. They lack polish and amount to nothing more than mashing a single key over and over again. There are also a few technical hiccups such as sporadic frame rates and odd markings showing up on the screen.
While it may be rough around the edges, Evoland manages to be more than the sum of its parts. Developer Shiro Studios has created somewhat of a love letter to the past three decades of video games. People wanting an engaging role-playing game should look elsewhere, but Evoland is a great choice for anyone wanting to spend a Sunday afternoon lost in nostalgia.
Tyler Curran is someone who fondly remembers scribbling out notes about games back when he first learned to write. Who knew design documents scrawled in crayon would lead to him becoming a game design major?