Evoland Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Evoland RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Steam Direct Will Unleash a Flood of Unplayable Drek https://www.gameskinny.com/frh10/steam-direct-will-unleash-a-flood-of-unplayable-drek https://www.gameskinny.com/frh10/steam-direct-will-unleash-a-flood-of-unplayable-drek Thu, 08 Jun 2017 16:53:00 -0400 Ty Arthur

When it comes to PC gaming, there's no question that Steam is the go-to platform. As much as I love GOG and those handfuls of other smaller platforms trying to get their piece of the pie, there's no arguing that at this particular point in time, PC gaming = Steam. When the physical editions of huge games like Fallout 4 literally just have a Steam code in the box, it's clear who wears the crown.

That dominance is a double-edged sword, however. Having the biggest selection of titles means you also have the most games that aren't worth playing. Steam Greenlight acted as a sort of gate to that, ensuring only games that people really wanted to play managed to make it onto our hallowed PC platform.

Greenlight: The Snoozing Guard

Some really unique entries in the gaming world arrived on our PCs because of Greenlight, from the dystopian Papers, Please to the unique slow-motion shooter Super Hot to the genre-bending RPG Evoland and even the occasional novelty game with questionable replay value like Who's Your Daddy.

Greenlight was started with an admirable goal -- letting the community decide what it wanted on the Steam platform, rather than a handful of Valve employees whose tastes may not match yours or mine.

Of course, it wasn't always a vigilant gatekeeper. There's already a multitude of unplayable nonsense on Steam:

  • Half-baked RPG Maker titles that are unfinished or stopped working halfway through
  • "Early Access" games that will never see full release and are just a source of continual income from the gullible who lay down $50 for an unfinished demo
  • A horde of visual novels that are barely games at all and range in quality from pretty good to "are you actually kidding me right now?"

That problem is about to get a lot, lot worse. In a surprise move, Steam Greenlight has now officially been disbanded.

No new games can be added to the program and voting is suspended. The couple of thousand games that were in the program will be decided on by Valve directly in the coming months.

In its place, we'll get the new Steam Direct program, launching on June 13. The goal with Direct is to make it more transparent as to how games get on the platform and to address problems like developers releasing bare-bones games in order to farm trading cards for profit. 

 What a weird world we live in where THESE create financial incentives

Steam Direct Opens The Floodgates

Unfortunately, it seems like this "solution" is going to create an issue that's even worse. While Greenlight at least kept some bad games from getting through, the new program will ensure nearly anyone can release nearly anything via Steam.

Here's how the statement from Valve describes the new program:

The goal with Steam Direct is to provide an understandable and predictable path for developers from anywhere in the world to bring their games to Steam. With that in mind, we're making the process as easy and streamlined as possible.

A new developer will simply need to fill out some digital paperwork, including entering bank and tax information, and going [sic] through a quick identity verification process.

After completing the paperwork, the developer will be asked to pay a $100 recoupable fee for each game they wish to release on Steam. This fee is returned in the payment period after the game has sold $1,000.

In other words, anybody with a Benjamin can now release a game via Steam. No more community gateway. No more having to get votes through the strength of your game's concept. Want to release Super Slow Motion Grapefruit Simulator? Cool, just hand over that hundo.

 Yes, this is the face you should be making about Steam Direct

So long as it launches and doesn't install malware, any game at all is now in. We are about to see a storm of low quality, buggy, unfinished games from both unscrupulous developers looking to make a quick buck and kids who just picked up a book on programming.

Now, there is a slight catch there -- developers who have never released anything through Steam before will have to wait 30 days while their game and history is checked out, which means at the very least, there will be a delay before every RPG Maker project in history is suddenly available for purchase.

During that 30 days, Steam will "review the developer's information and confirm that we know who we're doing business with." Based on the description in the full press release here, it's unclear under what circumstances, if any, that a game would be denied during that review process, however.

Why Is This A Bad Thing?

"Well, so what?" you may ask -- why shouldn't every budding indie dev get to have their games on Steam? Two immediate problems come to mind.

First, there's the Steam sales issue. The Steam summer and winter sales are huge events where thousands of games have their prices slashed. Do you really want Stick Shift taking up one of those sales slots that could go to an actual game that you'll enjoy playing?

Next, we've got to think of signal to noise ratio. How many buggy games not worth a single dollar are already clogging up your recommendations or have to be scrolled through when browsing by genre? 

The problem here with game oversaturation is discoverability: there are already more games on Steam than one person could ever possibly beat in their entire natural lifespan.

 Good luck finding something worth playing in there!

Further muddying the waters doesn't help gamers find what they want, and it doesn't help developers make money when there are fewer and fewer ways to get noticed in an unending sea of games.

Completely removing any sort of quality gate is a phenomenally bad idea all around -- it's bad for Steam since it will undoubtedly increase refunds, bad for gamers who want to find games worth playing, and bad for developers who actually put work into their games and don't get noticed.

What do you think of Steam Greenlight getting replaced with Steam Direct? Are you looking forward to checking out more indie titles, or do you think it will result in more low-quality titles not worth playing mucking up your searches?

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Evoland: A Quick Review https://www.gameskinny.com/3phya/evoland-a-quick-review https://www.gameskinny.com/3phya/evoland-a-quick-review Wed, 18 May 2016 03:50:10 -0400 Kody_Storm

Evoland is a very fun game in both concept and execution. Throughout the game, you will be taken on a journey through the evolution of video games over the years. 

Because "Evoland = Evolution Land". 

The game starts out in a retro gameplay style. Similar to the original Legend Of Zelda, you start out as a young boy named Clink -- whose name is rather close to that of our favorite Hyrule hero. 

Through the game, you will see two main combat styles -- including an over-world random encounter (much like Final Fantasy), and dungeon crawling similar to Legend of Zelda and Diablo.

Like most games, it is dangerous to go alone. So early on in the story you will have a heroine join your party. Throughout the game you also receive new items that help you to solve some basic puzzles you will come across while in dungeons.

But if saving the world starts being a little too much to handle, take a load off and play a game of Double Down! -- Evoland's very own TCG game.

It is up to you to save the world of Evoland from the forthcoming shadow set to destroy your home. Whether you wish to complete the main story, which clocks in at around 3-5 hours, or go for 100% completion (including Collecting Stars & Double Down Cards), this game has a lot to offer and will leave a positive impression on you.

I look forward to playing Evoland 2 very soon. If you would like to see the game in action, check out my full playthrough/walkthrough playlist on my YouTube channel.

Written By: Kody Storm

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The Quest Takes a Walk Through Gaming History with Evoland https://www.gameskinny.com/arhhi/the-quest-takes-a-walk-through-gaming-history-with-evoland https://www.gameskinny.com/arhhi/the-quest-takes-a-walk-through-gaming-history-with-evoland Mon, 09 Sep 2013 09:53:53 -0400 Andrew Wynans

In every epic quest, there is a goal--a task the adventurer must accomplish in order for the quest to be fulfilled.  As with all great undertakings, the goal does not exist in a vacuum. There is a reason that the task must be accomplished.  When the knights of the round table were sent to find the Holy Grail, they were not merely hunting a lost cup.  They were sent to find the cup that Jesus Christ drank from at the Last Supper.  Without understanding the historical context, the adventurer cannot fully appreciate the gravity of his quest.  

There are a lot of ways to explore gaming history

Gaming is a rich culture with an already complex and fascinating history.  In the quest to become a gamer, knowing even portions of that history is important to understanding the culture of which I aspire to be a part. There are many different ways to explore gaming history, from books to actually going back and playing the classic games.  While I hope at the very least to be able to engage with some of the truly classic vintage games throughout this process, this week's foray was a fun way to see a slice of gaming history through the eyes of game developers.  

The game that walks through history

In the midst of the much publicized Steam Greenlight sale a couple of weeks ago, I picked up an indie title from Shiro Games called Evoland.  On Steam, Evoland is described as a "journey through the history of action/adventure gaming."   In reality, Evoland is a vibrant, witty game that uses gaming history to engage the gamer in a world created by gamers for gamers. 

Evoland is loosely based on the Zelda and Final Fantasy franchises.  As someone who has played a bit of Zelda, and watched others play Final Fantasy, I definitely appreciated the developer's less than subtle nods to both throughout the game.  Specifically, Zelda is reflected throughout, with the character and opening sequences very reminiscent of the black and white, sword and bow Zelda that we all know and love.

Gameplay

The game opens in a black and white, two-dimensional world.  Initially, the character has only the ability to move in a single direction.  Moving in that direction takes the character (who looks very much like Link) to a chest which opens automatically.  The chest grants the character the ability to move in the opposite direction, taking the character to yet another chest.  This chest provides even more freedom of movement.  As the game continues, the character encounters more and more chests, each granting new and different items, gameplay systems, graphics, and so forth, moving the look and feel of the game forward in time chest by chest.  Thus, by simply playing through the game, the player get an interesting look at the evolution of gaming.  

Nothing is simply provided to the character in Evoland

Everything is unlocked, from enemies to weapons to other characters. Even the traps, flying obstacles, and pushable blocks are unlocked by the character's actions.  But not everything is granted by way of opening chests.  Some aspects of the game are unlocked by completing a particular task, or perhaps just because the developers thought it would be a good idea to add that particular aspect at that particular time.  

For example, early in the game the character acquires an inventory. The inventory is originally the classic Zelda inventory consisting of sword, bow, and bomb. But later in the game as the character enters a particular area, the inventory changes to a more contemporary inventory with slots to equip items.   The items are automatically equipped and earned by defeating various enemies.  The fun part is that the items equipped are intentionally useless.    

The combat style also changes depending on where in the world the character finds himself.  Initially the combat is much like Zelda: sword versus monsters with the character moving quickly to avoid being hit.  But as the game progresses, turn-based combat similar to Final Fantasy is introduced.  From that point, the combat style switches back and forth, with some bosses requiring Zelda-type combat, and others fighting turn-based duels. 

Evoland contains several similar transitions in style, including one particular area where the player is required to move back and forth between a 3D world and a 2D world in order to complete the assigned task.  The game also sets up certain other side quests, such as finding hidden stars or cards for a mini-game.   All these varied aspects make for fun and varied gameplay.

Telling the Story 

But more engaging for me than the interesting gameplay was the unique voice that the developers at Shiro Games brought to this presentation of gaming history.  The game was delivered with a delightful wit that never took itself too seriously and poked fun at the games it was based upon.  Yet, throughout the game there is still an air of respect for its predecessors even with all the jabs and parody. 

The plot in itself is a wonderful mix of humor, wit, and a deep love for gaming that kept me involved.  It uses the classic archetype of the hero and his damsel in distress, but with a twist.  Rather than trying to save her, the hero is trying to save her town.  Also, this particular distressed damsel wields magic and is vital to the hero's survival as they take on monsters and dungeons together.  

Evoland never hides its amusement at some of the more counterintuitive aspects of the games it models itself on.  For example, when the character enters the first town, he is unable to talk to anyone because they refuse to speak with a child.  Instead, he must find a way to grow up to continue on and enter the main aspects of the plot.  The developers make other jabs along the way, including wondering why doors exist at all if you can step on a block and open them and providing items with epic names but no real use.  

Not all of the humor is directed at the games that inspired Evoland.  At one point, a particular boss begins charging up to deliver what can only be a powerful attack while yelling the word "kamehameha!"  While some might find these references off-putting or corny, I thought they played well to the overall sense of fun that permeated the game.

For a Fun Way to Learn Where Gaming has Been, Play Evoland

Evoland provides a great look at a particular piece of gaming and its transition over time. As the character unlocks each new piece of the game, the player learns a bit about how developers through the years have made games more complex and engaging, from adding dimension and texture, to varying combat styles.   In essence, Evoland provides the Cliffs Notes to a long, complex tale of gaming's history.   The player gets a view of action/adventure gaming that would otherwise require a lot of money and time to fully explore.  Of course, such exploration is worth every penny and hour, but sometimes those pennies and hours just are not available. 

Though Evoland is in many ways educational, more than anything it is fun.  It's a short, simple adventure, with all the elements that we all love about classic action and adventure gaming.  The story of gaming is told with a levity that made me often smile to myself and occasionally laugh out loud.   All in all, Evoland was an excellent step in the quest to become a gamer. 

As always, thanks for stopping by.  The quest returns next week with more adventures in becoming a gamer.  Don't forget to check out GameWisp!

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Steamrolled: Evoland Review https://www.gameskinny.com/lmdbw/steamrolled-evoland-review https://www.gameskinny.com/lmdbw/steamrolled-evoland-review Thu, 11 Apr 2013 16:21:28 -0400 SupportGuy

A few days after the amusing diversion that was DLC Quest, I saw Evoland on sale on Steam. It only released last week, and was on sale for 10% off the usual $9.99 price tag.  Another parody game sounded entertaining, so I picked it up.

So It Begins

The start-up screen already has me intrigued - it has the same look as the games I grew up with, and that little thrill of nostalgia starts to build.  I click 'New Game'.  It starts up (I didn't even have to blow in the cartridge, so kudos there) and I'm greeted with a familiar sight from my childhood.

It even starts with the full-on map transitions that the original Zelda had, where when I move to the edge the new map section loads.  Good times, it brings me back to simpler days where I didn't have to worry about my character's motivation - I just did them and that was okay.

I go through and keep opening chests, which open up new features and otherwise make changes to the world.  A few minutes later and I've got the map focused on my character (no more worrying about full pages loading, the map moves with me) and an impressive development: color.

 

 ...And Keeps Going

Then I get a sword.  And monsters.  It's starting to feel more like a game.  I'm still digging the classic vibe, too, right down to cutting down grass with said new sword and hacking away at squishy little octopus monsters.  

Then there are save points, which at this point is more for a sense of security than anything else (the monsters have the same movement as most did in 8-bit games, so they're easy to avoid running into).  

The Precipice

I'm about ten minutes in at this point, and that sense of nostalgia is wearing off.  Every time I open a chest to get something, there's a comment about what it is at the bottom.  At first they were friendly and funny, but they start going more along the snarky/sarcastic route as the game goes on.

It starts getting downhill from here.  

Over The Hill

The game itself is very well made, and after all is said and done it's entertaining.  The problem is it ends up being a little pushy about its own message.  Every new chest I open gets a new mode or object, and gets another snarky comment that starts to be vaguely irritating.

I think that's the worst part.  It's still entertaining, there's just the mild sense of annoyance that starts building.  It never gets to the point that I'm frustrated, the game itself is straightforward and still has those moments that I remember from games long past, but I feel like I'm playing it with a bitter narrator who snidely comments about how cool aviators were... back in the eighties.

I suspect a lot of that is more on my overly nostalgic nature than it is the actual game (after all, it's text - the tone you get is your own mental dialogue), but I couldn't get past the nagging feeling that I was listening to my high school self over-critiquing everything.

Update: After some comments on reddit saying that it gets worse after when I stopped, I ventured a little further (apparently it wasn't just me).  And unfortunately confirmed that it does get worse after that point, which made me sad.  This is another game I wanted to like.

Steamrolled Score: 5/10

This has been an installment of Steamrolled, a semi-regular column about impulse buys on Steam that turn out either very impressive or very... not.

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