Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder was developed and released by Shiro Games following the success of their previous title, Evoland. In our previous article, linked here, we learned that the sequel would expand upon the first game’s theme of multiple styles of gameplay, and graphical quality.
Evoland 2 puts together many different styles and gameplay genres, with the core of the game playable through a Legend of Zelda-style 2D hack-and-slash RPG. The perspective is even top-down, although the hero does not wield a shield to defend himself or unique weapons with special powers. Instead, he uses the unique abilities of his companions after they join his party. These attacks are more powerful, and have varying effects and ranges; they can be utilized to kill more powerful enemies with a single blow, or wipe away certain obstacles that black the path.
The other gameplay genres infuse different, exciting moments in the adventure, expanding from a simple slashing game to a dangerous platformer spelunking through spike and bat-infested caves; to a shoot-em’up that places the hero on a mechanized broom, shooting at floating pumpkins and a boss monster; to a fighting game inspired by Street Fighter. The game offers many ways to entertain, and tries to keep players on their toes by making the journey toward boss battles that much more intense and challenging, or setting up side-quests with puzzle-like challenges for an extra reward.
The graphics of the game change quickly, generally when there is a temporal shift that draws the player from one part of the Evoland 2‘s history to another. The further back in time the hero and his friends go, the older the graphics look, and vice-versa for the future. This does not change the ultimate 2D perspective of the game or the core action RPG format. The music simply serves a purpose and isn’t all that memorable, varied to avoid repetition yet short and sweet enough to keep things interesting in the background.
The story of the game follows a hero who has lost his memory and is nursed back to health in a human village. Eventually, an ancient artifact pulls him and his companions into the past and along different timelines in an adventure through the world’s many moments in history. Players learn more of the setting as a result, from the history of the war between humans and demons, to a cataclysmic event in the future.
Evoland 2 provides ample story and challenging obstacles, enough to offer several hours of gameplay with little indication that the end of the story is nearby. I spent a few hours on it but I didn’t finish the game, finding myself more than a little challenged by some of the unforgiving gameplay elements. My main weakness turned out to be platforming, where certain instant-kill hazards were spread throughout the level. As a result, I recommend playing with a gamepad for better precision.
Evoland 2 is a blast for any RPG lover, and anyone who enjoys games that offer more than one type of gameplay to mess around with. There is a small learning curve thanks to the well-developed guidance provided in the beginning of the level, upping the difficulty bit by bit until the player is ready to cut through monsters and embark on the adventure. The most unique element, beyond the extra gameplay, are the special attacks that companions grant the hero. Though powerful, they require some time to charge, and then recharge upon use, leaving the player to handle any nearby monsters with his sword alone.
There is no true innovation within Evoland 2, even though it utilizes multiple genres to tell a story in a unique and exciting way. The different moments of an adventure don’t become a cutscene, but instead a small (though often frantic) mini-game. This is not a new concept for RPGs, but it is utilized here more than in any RPG I can remember. It’s also a definite nod towards JRPGs of the past.
The game is priced at $19.99, which is a little expensive even for an enjoyable game like this. The main reason for this is because there’s no guarantee of replayability. I am hoping that upon completing the game, the mini-games might be available for some casual play in order to get high scores, or something similar to that. Sadly, I haven’t gotten to the end, even though I’ve made some good progress. Even at a high price, I find the story intriguing and the gameplay makes it easy to feel immersed in the journey. There are frequent homages to games of the past, and a few jokes from video game history. Those who don’t enjoy action RPGs may want to wait until the game is on sale. Evoland 2: A Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder is available now on Steam for PC. For more about this and future projects, follow Shiro Games on Twitter, or like their page on Facebook.