By Willem Weinstein
Evoland is an indie game self-described as ‘a Legend of Zelda/ Final Fantasy/ history lesson all rolled into one.’ The game allows players to slowly unlock new features and evolves quite a bit throughout.
As players travel, they encounter chests. In each chest lies a new game mechanic to unlock. These new mechanics can range from adding between eight and 16 colors to the game to transitioning into 3D character models. Once players find all the features, the final game looks vastly different from how it did at the start.
The purpose of this feature is to take the player on an adventure through the early development and history of game mechanics, from the bland and white 2D side-scrolling Zelda games to the early Final Fantasy adventures. It is quite an engaging and nostalgic trip as well as a rather addicting feature that grabs the players’ attention and encourages them to explore and look for more add-ons.
Players do have the option to skip a chest occasionally, but there is no reason to avoid them. The mystery of what could be added is too great to ignore.
Evoland uses its identity as a history lesson to point out some of the more annoying characteristics from past games. It makes fun of games like Diablo for their relatively arbitrary loot and ridiculous, tedious puzzles. This is quite amusing at times, but the charm starts to grate after a while. The developers need to understand that deliberately annoying is still annoying.
Ultimately, Evoland is a charming exploration of gaming history, full of inside jokes and even a Blade Runner reference thrown in.
If you are intrigued at all by this evolution, then I highly encourage you to check out this game.