In response to a few recent games that appear to be lacking in the criteria. This is a short list and thoughts on some stand out game mechanics that developers seem to be ignoring and need to build upon.
Evoland: A Nostalgic Journey Through the History of a Genre
Evoland is a quaint and nostalgic new RPG developed and published by Shiro games. Far from another retro throwback, Evoland presents a completely unique and highly endearing experience for long time RPG fans. At the core of Evoland is the concept of evolving graphics, sound and gameplay systems to take players on a journey through the evolution of the genre, stretching from the early days of 8-bit action RPG’s to the full 3D adventures of the twenty-first century.
Evoland has also earned the honor of making it through Steam’s Greenlight program, being voted by Steam users as worthy to be listed for sale on the platform before earning it’s place among other Steam titles.
Decades of RPG Evolution
The game begins with a small scene in which the player can only walk in one direction. There is no sound, and the 8-bit graphics are black and white. After a few minutes of play, simple colors and sounds are unlocked; soon after, additional movements and an attack are added. The game progresses at a fast pace by evolving one thing after another, until players find themselves enjoying a SNES-style turn-based RPG experience, complete with endearing cliche’s that fans will recall from their youth. Continuing on, bit by bit, players finally find themselves in a crisply rendered, fully 3D world, using the same abilities and facing the same monsters as they did in the 8-bit and 32-bit versions of the world. Sound evolves tremendously, with the same music progressing through decades of evolution alongside the graphics. Evolutions are granted after opening chests, and each evolution is revealed with phrases like “You’ve unlocked antialiasing!” or “You’ve unlocked pre-rendered backgrounds!” The developers even go as far as evolving the GUI and inventory system over time, ensuring that players always discover new evolutions at every turn.
Evoland: A Short Story
Despite the huge nostalgia appeal, Evoland is lacking quite a bit in the area of depth, character development, story and replayability. Players willing to shell out a few bucks for the game need to be prepared to enjoy the game for what it is, or they will be disappointed by what it’s not. This game is more like an interactive short story than a full-fledged RPG — it will be over before you know it, and you won’t find any depth in leveling or gearing up. But you won’t be able to resist the excitement of opening each new chest and discovering each new evolution along the way.