We were recently lucky enough to check out Evoland II: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder, and were impressed in our preview last month, but impressions can quickly turn sour. Will Evoland II manage to keep the same favorable impression that we had initially, or will it wear as it goes on. Read on to find out!.
Evoland II follows the story of Kuro, a red-headed young man who awakens in a forest without any memories of where he comes from or even who he is. He soon meets up with an intelligent young woman known as Fina, and embark on a time-travelling adventure as they attempt to solve the many mysteries of Kuro’s past and save the world from a mysterious threat. As they journey, they meet new friends and allies who will join them, each boasting his or her own ability that will help Kuro and Fina in their quest.
The story isn’t completely original, to be honest, but it’s still rather compelling and interesting. RPG fans will likely immediately point out the similarities to Chrono Trigger, from the time-travelling plot device to the similarities in the main protagonists’ appearances (though Kuro lacks Crono’s spiky hair), and as you get deeper in the game you’ll see more similarities between the two casts.
That said, these similarities certainly aren’t a bad thing, and the developments are still unique enough to give Evoland II that extreme fun factor that makes one want to keep playing to see what will happen next.
Now we’ll talk about the most unique feature of Evoland II, the gameplay. If you drill it down to its most basic form, it’s a retro-themed adventure RPG. “This doesn’t sound unique at all,” you may be thinking and you’d be correct. What makes it unique is when you look at it in its more complex form.
In its more complex form, Evoland II is a retro-themed adventure RPG, puzzle game, fighter, beat-’em-up, and much more. But still, the extreme number of genres represented isn’t the most unique part of the gameplay. That honor lies in how the visuals evolve and devolve as you play.
For instance, upon beginning the game, you see Kuro in a kind of forced combat training simulation in black and white. It honestly feels like you’re playing on an original GameBoy. After this, you’ll be jumping back and forth through time, witnessing worlds ranging from upscaled 8-bit graphics akin to the GameBoy Advance, 16-bit regions like you would experience on the SNES, and even, eventually, fully 3D worlds. This ever-changing appearance is quite unique, and makes every act in the game feel memorable.
The combat in the, shall we say, older regions, is mostly hack-and-slash, and typically makes one think of the original Zelda games. You will gain a reprieve with platforming and puzzles, but, for the most part, you will likely feel as if you’re playing some of your favorite retro 2D action role-playing games.
Once the game opens up into the 3D world, new styles of combat and gameplay open up as well. You will be able to take on enemies in side-view bouts akin to Street Fighter, and traverse caverns and mountains with platforming that brings to mind the Mario titles.
The vast array of gameplay styles sets Evoland II apart from other titles perhaps even more than the ever-changing visuals, and when you proceed to the references you’ll experience in-game, it certainly becomes an adventure that you’re sure to remember.
On the note of references, Evoland II markets itself as a game that pays homage to the great titles of the past, and it certainly lives up to this promise. To mention a few of these references, you can find two characters named Biggs and Wedge, four colored mask-wearing squirrels known as the Ninja Squirrels, the chance to be referred to as Super Morio and Solid Snail, and many more.
Evoland II certainly manages to hit all of the right notes, and if you’re a fan of unique games, retro games, or references in games, there’s no reason for you to skip out on this title. While it is disappointing that there were no instances of my favorite type, the turn based RPG, Evoland II has something for everybody to enjoy.
Final Score: 4.75/5