When all I has was a mid-range smartphone with a good amount of storage space. I tried to find games that I thought were console/PC quality. One game I found was an RPG game that started out as a Gameboy Zelda game and turned into a PSP Final Fantasy game. It was cleverly titled Evoland.
The game evolved with every opening of a chest. From getting basic functions as being able to move to the graphics, colors, layers, and sound design updating in real time. I was so surprised this game was on my phone. Though it took me a while to beat it due to phones being stolen or broke. I finally beat the game.
While doing some research for this review I found out that Evoland was made during the Ludum Dare game jam, an online contest where developers attempt to build a game around a particular theme in just 48 hours. Ludum Dare 24’s theme was evolution. "Instead of doing a game where players can make things evolve, we thought that having the game itself evolve as you played would be a far more original approach," Shiro Games CEO Sebastien Vidal stated to The Verge back in 2013 about the idea behind the game that came from Shiro Games co-founder Nicolas Cannasse.
Evoland Classic ended up winning the competition (out of 1400 games) and quickly gathered a very dedicated and enthusiastic fan base, reaching over 300,000 players in the first few months after its release as a flash game. The success led the Shiro team to make a full game which doubled their dev team and took four months to finish something they could be proud of.
It was a true love letter to the RPG genre. Though it's short, 4-6 hours of gameplay. It made us fans want more, and in 2015 we got Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder. Then last year we finally got it for mobile in 2018. (I'm not sure why it took a whole year to get the game to the Nintendo Switch. I would have figured they would have just ported the PC/OS X version over to the Switch for their birthday last year.) The game promises over 20 hours of gameplay I have put in just over 12 hours and am on level 20. This time around the game does a tutorial in Game Boy green then goes into a Game Boy Color. The game’s story starts out in a similar storyline to The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. Where you are found by a villager in the woods and woken up by his daughter with no memory of who you are.
The story is an extension of the Evoland humans versus demons. In our second story we find that there has been a great war between the two. You find yourself saving the villager's daughter in the forest where you were found. After you save the daughter she joins you on your journey to find out who you are. This gives you a special ability where she uses her super sword move.
As you journey through the forest you stumble across three demons who are trying to activate an ancient artifact called the Magilith. The only way to activate the Magilith is to summon the forest guardian and harness it's Magi energy. Though the demons find out the guardian is more power than they thought, so it's up to you to defeat it before it makes its way to the village. Though after your victory the Magilith activates and sends you back time during the great war. This leads you on a whole other adventure of trying to get back to your original time. Though as you find out the Magilith always just sends you to another time. In each timeline you become friends with someone new that gives you a new special move. Even though this is a review I don't want to give away the plot to the whole story. I'll tell you this, you become friends with next to the demon thrown and an archaeologist who helps you along the way.
With each timeline comes a different graphics style. The time you start your adventure in is a classic 16-bits over the top layout, the past is an 8-bits over the top layout, and the future is 128-bits (PS 2) angled down layout. As the game goes on it becomes more then a love letter to RPGs. To get from a mountain top to the top of a pyramid the game becomes a top down airplane shooter. Once you get to the pyramid the boss fight is a tribute to Street Fighter II where you have the same moves as Ryu or Ken. In one level you have to play classic Atari games such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Snake to name a few that opens the doors to the next room.
The controls are simple. There are only three buttons: action, jump, and special character swap. The physical buttons are way more intuitive than the touch screen ones. Though you can't remap them, but it still works play with one hand. The layout feel natural and I got through game faster by dying less.
If you can't wait for Link's Awakening and Dragon Quest XI S, or you just want something different in your RPG, give Evoland a try. It just might be the game that holds you over till the one you're waiting for comes out later this year.