Evoland 2 Review: Retro Nostalgia the Game
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 it’s sporadic genres of gameplay may be frustrating to some.
Story, Graphics, and Sound
In Evoland 2 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 the time of the plot, the graphics and genre’s used change as well cleverly referencing video gaming history.
The graphics and sound design in are great. It perfectly fits the genres and era’s of video game history that it’s referencing. The story is interesting and the time traveling mechanic pulls everything together nicely.
Genre Mashup Gameplay
When it comes to gameplay Evoland 2 had a big task in front of it. Included in the game are nearly every video game genre imaginable from fighting, to runners, to 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 travelling across a map, managing your inventory and following quest lines. Within those RPG trappings however, players will encounter certain 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 games 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.
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 to complete. 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 dissapointed in the retro offerings.
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 of the game is charming as players begin to unravel the stories plot and get to experience a smattering of different retro games in a linear fashion. By the second half however, some of that charm has worn off. The plot becomes less linear as players gain the ability to move around between time frames willingly. This feature is a nice touch that gives the player more freedom yet, constantly 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 difficult old game styles.
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.