Go back and forward in time, and through different gaming genres.
The original Evoland was a wonderful game, treating players to a journey through RPG videogame history as the style of the game would chop and change in a linear fashion. It wasn’t a long game, and the story was somewhat lacking, but no matter when the player started playing videogames, they would come across a section of Evoland that would spark warm nostalgic feelings.
With the launch of Shiro Games’ Evoland 2: A Slight Case Of Spacetime Continuum Disorder, the ideas developed in the first game have been expanded upon, resulting in a bigger, much more varied and less linear game. And it is still wonderful…
Starting off in a Legend of Zelda inspired RPG, which is the most used genre for the game, players are introduced to the hero who has no memory. He was found in the woods and has awoken in a small house in the local town. Players will start by wandering around and talking to all the locals to get a sense of where they are and what they need to do next. It is suggested that heading back into the woods where you were found might spark some memories, but before that, the player will need a weapon. In trying to achieve that, the player will be treated to the first instance of an alternate game genre – a Layton style puzzle, along with the thoughtful and disappointed/successful shots on choosing a solution. It made me chuckle.
Once you make your way into the woods, you find a group of demons trying to activate some ancient monument. There is then a big battle with a guardian and things really start to get strange.
The player and his companion are blasted back in time, although that is not apparent straight away. And so starts a journey through time, learning the history of the land and often times changing it. Towns will appear in the future and disappear in the past, giving the player ample opportunity to explore. Each of the different times have a different visual style, such as 8-bit in the past, through a 16-bit present, to a 3D styled future. These styles often offer different ways to interact with things that remain throughout these time periods. As with all successful RPGs, dungeons play an important role, and the dungeons in Evoland 2 are very well designed and come with the occasional head-scratching puzzles.
The jumping through time RPG, complete with effects that depict the different ages of videogames, is pretty enjoyable by itself. But it is the inclusion of so many different genres of game, often presented almost as mini games, that really makes Evoland 2 so much fun, as the player will often find themselves continuing to play just to see what turns up next.
That first glimpse of a Layton-style puzzle is only the tip of the iceberg. Everything from platforming to fighting games, through rhythm and shoot em ups, makes an appearance in the game, often with nods and winks to the specific games that Evoland 2 is trying to emulate. I could happily list off all the different games that Evoland 2 pays homage to, but half of the fun is discovering these and the nostalgic feeling that comes with them.
Considering all the different types of gameplay that the player will find themselves engaged in through Evoland 2, the controls work very well. There are a few hiccups along the way, places where things don’t feel quite as tight as they should, but nothing that spoils the game. Players may find themselves struggling through certain areas that depict a genre they are maybe not familiar with, but the controls will not stand in the way and practice will see them win through.
Evoland 2 doesn’t take itself seriously either. There are plenty of jokes, sometimes making reference to other games, other times referencing Evoland 2 itself. More than once I found myself laughing or smiling to myself as I recognised the reference.
With a running time that runs into double digits, there is a lot of enjoyment to be found in Evoland 2: A Slight Case Of Spacetime Continuum Disorder. With its core RPG gameplay, a mixture of different visual styles and the inclusion of so many different gaming genres, Evoland 2 manages to pack in quite the experience. Every RPG fan should take a look at this charming and varied game.