I hadn’t actually heard of the Evoland series before I started playing this, but from what I heard this game was an attempt to smooth out the creases that arose in the first game. Evoland 2 is an RPG that takes you on a journey through time to see the development of video game graphics, but this isn’t just a boring history lesson, this game has an interesting story as well as wowing you with its artistic style. As well as being a mix of art styles, Evoland 2 is also a mix of game styles. There are gameplay references to The Legend of Zelda franchise, Bomberman, Street Fighter, Professor Layton and so many more iconic games. And it does this very well; instead of making a mediocre mish mash of people pleasing game modes, Evoland 2 is unique and develops an identity of its own.
When starting the game you are first greeted by a tutorial in a presentation style similar to that of the original Gameboy, this allows you to learn all the controls you need as well as being short on sweet. After that’s out of the way, the real story begins. You wake up not knowing the world around you after being rescued in the woods by this lovely lady’s father. Then, after speaking to the townspeople and exploring the village, you take a stroll up to the forest nearby. I won’t give away too much but the story is really good, on top of this the gameplay style changes are well-implemented and aren’t just there to slip another name in the reference book.
It’s hard to pin-point all the different gameplay styles in Evoland 2 as there are just too many, but all the styles seamlessly fit without anything that seems shoe-horned in for the sake of it. I was surprised at how on the nose it was about the styles, for example the Professor Layton reference: an old man flat out gives you a puzzle to answer, and once you complete it the classic three shots of the character are there to judge whether it is right or not (if you haven’t played a Layton game, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about). Unfortunately I did think this reference was poorly timed right at the beginning, as it only lasted for a moment but it would have been nice to see a lot more of that. There is also a Zelda style scene every time you open a box to receive an item.
As well as these references to games from the past, Evoland 2 also has a lot of hidden wit within it. For example: when I first woke up I inspected a box, and text came up saying something along the lines of “This box could have probably been open if the developers bothered to code it in.” Witty remarks like these are also made in the direction of game franchises, but I don’t want to spoil anymore of the fun.
Evoland 2 also has a really good soundtrack; the style varies as you progress through the different time periods of gaming, and to me it didn’t grow tiresome as I was entertained throughout. I did have a problem with the control system when spamming shift to swing my sword, sticky keys came up leaving me for dead when I had to quickly press no and save myself. However, this was shortly resolved when I found out (though with no tutorial) that Control could also be used as an attack button.
Overall I think Evoland 2 deserves a 9, because if you like most of these styles but don’t have the patience for RPGs then this game would be wasted unfortunately. But I was impressed at how the references did seem well thought out, rather than flashing characters to try and tickle your nostalgia taste buds. It is also cool to see the huge range of art styles that Shiro Games managed to nail. I would definitely recommend this game just to see how well the game is made, but definitely buy it if you like slightly different RPGs. And even if you don’t like RPGs, give it a good go! I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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