Steamrolled: Evoland Review
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).
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.