When I went into this game, I was really looking forward to it. A nostolgia trip that takes you through the best of top down adventure, RPG and turn based battles. What is actually here is a brief parody game poking fun at itself and tropes across two decades of game genres and technological advances.
To my dismay, Evoland bluntly tells you, you're in this era of RPGs. I guess its meant for comedy, but I just didn't care for it. You'll unlock different eras of games and different technologies, such as sound effects, music, 16 bit graphics, high definition textures, 3D battle systems and so on. Its all part of the joke. You'll see all the stereotypes and tropes here and the game will be quick to point them out to you so that you'll understand its a joke.
Evoland has great graphics, and some gameplay elements that would make for a great game. This feels like a good tech demo since every era is so brief with no depth. I can understand paying $5 if they use this engine to make a real full fledged game, but you'll breeze through this game with no challenge. I would say its the perfect game for kids, but with so much hinging on nostalgia, kids might not understand.
You'll play in top down Zelda segments, using a sword to cut down grass, bombs to blow up walls and arrows to transfer fire between lit and unlit candles. Eventually that top down will turn into a 3D version of itself which you can switch between using crystals. Its a nice system that I would have liked to see a lot more of if not be its own game. There are Final Fantasy 2 style towns, random battles and turn based combat, but there is no depth to combat. Its all turn based fighting where your main character has no skills. The secondary character has spells, but nothing lost for using the spells like a traditional turn based RPG would have. Eventually the old school RPG updates itself to be 3D later on in the game.
Eventually, you'll find a Final Fantasy 8 style town. After that you'll find a Diablo styled dungeon with gold, health orbs and loot dropping on the ground for you to collect. It felt like a button mashing chore to get through it. Nothing intelligent to the gameplay, just button mashing.
In the game you'll collect gold, cards and stars, but other than that, there's not much going on. There is little need for gold since there is barely anything to buy. The stars just go to an achievement. The cards lead to a Final Fantasy 8 inspired mini game that is nice to play where your cards have numbers on each of the four sides of the cards and you lay them down in a grid of 3 by 3 to determine who has the most cards once you've thrown down. It is a great feature to have and they went the extra mile to include it.
With that said, the game just feels so hollow, all style, no substance. There is no storyline twist, such as an evil wizard devolves the land once you've easily breezed through the evolutionary eras. I knew how far I had progressed based on what evolutionary stage I was on. It just felt disappointing. Since there is no depth, the combat is really just tedium if not button mashing. The focus was on making the game feel like the other games we know and love.
As a comedy game it missed its mark with me in the 3 hours it took to complete it. There were definitely highs and boring lows. If it was more difficult the game wouldn't be fun after the laughs wear off. I've gone through it twice now and disliked it more the second time.