“Evoland 2” Review: Retro Nostalgia - LevelSkip - Video Games
Updated date:

“Evoland 2” Review: Retro Nostalgia

Alexandria has been playing video games since the days of the Sega Genesis. She's been writing about video games going on four years.

Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder is the sequel to Shiro Games’ indie hit, Evoland. A larger game with a stand-alone story, computer RPG Evoland 2 will appeal to fans of the original as well as new players that have fond memories of retro video games. Evoland 2 is a charming homage to old-school video games, but its sporadic genres of gameplay may be frustrating to some.

Story, Graphics, and Sound

In Evoland 2, you play as a silent protagonist who must stop a great disaster. To do this, you’ll find yourself jumping back in forth in time, teaming up with various companions with unique special skills, and piecing together the story of a great war and how it has affected the people involved over time. As the hero jumps back and forth in time, the graphics and genres change, with many clever references to video gaming history scattered throughout.

The graphics and sound design are excellent. They perfectly fit the genres and eras of video game history that it’s referencing. The story is exciting, and the time-traveling mechanic pulls everything together nicely.

evoland-2-review-retro-nostalgia-the-game

Genre Mashup Gameplay

When it comes to gameplay, Evoland 2 has it all. Included in the game is nearly every video game genre imaginable, such as fighting, runners, card games, and more. Combining so many different styles of gameplay into one game couldn’t have been easy, and ultimately the gameplay is left feeling like the weakest link in the game as a result, unfortunately.

All the genres are tied together under the classic RPG mechanics of traveling across a map, managing your inventory, and following quest lines. Within those RPG trappings, however, players will encounter individual sections of the game or certain boss fights that are in a different style, usually referencing a classic retro-game like Bomberman or Mega Man.

Sprinkled throughout the world are fun little jokes about old video games and tropes playing fan service to the nostalgic retro-gamer crowd that is clearly the intended audience of Evoland 2. It’s fun to see the same enemies and environments evolve and transformed by the various graphics used throughout video game history as players travel through time within the game. Although the graphics change, the simple controls stay the same, making for a pretty seamless transition between the different stages of the game.

Game like it's the olden times of monochrome color palettes and pixelated graphics.

Game like it's the olden times of monochrome color palettes and pixelated graphics.

Players will encounter puzzles more frequently than any other genre in Evoland 2. This is fitting, as puzzles have been a mainstay of RPG titles since the original Zelda, but there are an awful lot of them in this game. Most of the puzzles are interesting and won’t completely halt gameplay trying to figure them out, but some can be tedious. Drawing from classic and contemporary video games for inspiration, the game spends more time exploring older genres, leaving fans of PS2-era stylings a bit disappointed.

The game is best played with a gamepad; the controls are superb in some sections and imprecise in others. While it’s fun to play through a section of the game in your favorite genre, it’s equally frustrating to get stuck in a section that’s your least favorite genre. Throughout the game, there seem to be varying degrees of how well the different styles of gameplay are executed, but that also could be something that’s accounted for by personal taste.

Throughout the first half of the game, the referential nature is charming as players begin to unravel the story's plot and get to experience a smattering of different retro games in a linear fashion. However, by the second half, some of that charm has worn off. The plot becomes less linear as players gain the ability to move around between time willingly. This feature is a nice touch that gives the player more freedom yet, continually being thrown into different styles of gameplay that your fingers aren’t warmed-up for can become a bit jarring and frustrating by the time you reach that point. There is little “getting in the groove” or “feeling it” while playing Evoland 2, which is a big part of the retro gaming experience and necessary to do well in those punishing and intricate old game styles.

Where'd that new dimension come from?

Where'd that new dimension come from?

Verdict

Evoland 2 excellently captures the retro styles and genres that have made up video game history, including their limitations and frustrations. Cleverly tying up all the different styles of video games and carrying on Evoland's referential humor with a time traveling mechanic allows the game to tell an interesting story and pays homage to the video game industry as a whole. Yet, it's seemingly referential simply for the sake of being referential.

Thrown into the game is nearly every genre of classic video games, complete with the iconic graphics and sound tracks to accompany it. Clearly a lot of love was put into this game but nostalgia for retro games isn’t always strong enough to excuse poor controls and frustratingly designed boss fights. Those that hold the the belief that the golden era of video gaming was one never to be surpassed and those that enjoy every classic genre of video game without exception will find Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder to be a hoot. Players who have a love for referential video game humor might give this game a try as well. If you have nostalgia for the games of your youth but value consistent and well-designed controls and mechanics, this game might be a bit frustrating for you.

Comments

dave linde on July 11, 2018:

vastly underrated score wise imo. but a good written review. i loved 100%ing this game. and it had a truly fascinating story