Game Title: Evoland Legendary Edition
Company: Shiro Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 3 – 6 hours
Cloud Save Support: Yes
Download: 953 MB

As an avid lover of RPGs, I really like “experimental” games, both in the indie world and bigger world in videogames. One title in particular was PC-only for the longest time that I wanted to release on the PS Vita for me to play and review. That game was Evoland, a game that promised to become different RPG “eras” from within the same game. That idea fascinated me, just seeing a game turn from Game Boy Zelda into SNES Final Fantasy into 3D Mana.

Sadly, my email attempts for a Vita port didn’t work out, but my patience did. Not just one, but two games from this series has come to handhelds on the Switch.

So, here is my review of Evoland: Legendary Edition for the NIntendo Switch!

Story

evo 2 - story

Being 2 different games, this game has two different stories. Evoland 1 is about a nameless protagonist whom is the last member of an elite force that upholds peace. In a time where the world is under threat from a powerful villain, he ventures through the world to collect mystical power and stop them.

Evo’s story sounds much more epic than it actually is. Many things about the protagonist aren’t gone into at all, and it progresses so fast and hinges on so many other games’ plot points that it doesn’t feel like much original story is there.

Evoland 2 is a different story about an amnesiac young man who wakes up in a village only to be thrown out of his own timeline by an ancient relic from the past. He and his companions must then scramble to try to get back to their own time period and stop a disaster known as the “Great Disaster” from taking place.

Evo 2 is much deeper in story than its predecessor. In a much more traditional fashion, you pick up several party members across different timelines you visit across the game. While there still are loads of parodies to other games and media, it feels much more like a story of its own and a decent one, at that.

Gameplay

evo 4 - chrono trigger

Evoland: LE is a collection of two RPGs in both the Action and Turn-Based genres with elements from a lot of different games thrown into various mini-games. As a whole, though, I would label them as Action RPGs in the vein of the Legend of Zelda for the majority of their adventures.

This collection contains 2 games: Evoland and Evoland 2. This gives you two different games to play through, and they’re both pretty much in their original forms, but with button control layouts for play on the Switch.

The main draw of these games is that it’s an evolving RPG. In each of the games, you can see the game changing as you go, from “Green” Game Boy style all the way up to 3D HD graphics like the PS4/PS Vita remake of Secret of Mana. The combat also evolved over time, giving you both a hack n slash “Zelda-like” system as well as more traditional turn-based systems based on older Final Fantasy RPGs like FFIV and FFVI.

evo 3 - novelty

This novelty really fascinated me and my first hour through Evoland 1 had me going nuts at seeing each treasure chest adding features to the game instead of giving me in-game items. It was a really cool and thrilling novelty to see as a fan of the genre to be running around a 2d environment, opening a chest and seeing everything from the enemies to the characters suddenly transforming into 3D HD versions of themselves.

This novelty is all Evo 1 really has, though. The first game of the series barely exposes you to the different mechanics of the game by the time it wraps up and throws you at the final boss. You only get a single dungeon to play as the 2nd character before they’re permanently removed from the party. Tying that with the fact that it didn’t have much of a story and the fact that i beat it in less than 2.5 hours, Evo 1 feels more like a technical demo than anything else.

Evoland 2 is a different story. It gives you much more control over its genre-changing features and plays out more like a narrative-strong RPG. Instead of you just wandering for chests to add new features, it has a constantly-continuing story and the genre-changes are worked into that story. It also acts as a parody for a lot of non-RPG genres. The mini-games in this game goes across everything, from classic games like Snake and Pac-Man to more unique games like Bejeweled and Streets of Rage.

evo 5 - whoah

It also feels like a strong game on its own with a story that works off of and parodies a lot of franchises, but doesn’t solely rely on them. Plus the fact that it has a unique partner system where various partners have field skills used for taking down certain elements and a much more in-depth and lengthy adventure. Over its plot, Evoland 2 takes around 15-20 hours to complete whereas Evoland 1 was a limited 2-3 hours.

So, overall, you do have a good amount of content, mostly from the 2nd game. But this collection can easily get you 20+ hours of play time.

Controls

Controlling the game is pretty simple, overall. No touch or motion controls are needed.

Moving around is done with the Left Analog Stick and the Right Stick isn’t really used as the camera is always fixed. The L and R triggers are used in Evo 2 to swap between Partner characters when out in the field and in most dungeons.

Then we have the face buttons. B is used for jumping in side-scrolling sections and A is used for selecting NPCs and menu options. Y is used for attacking in the action areas.

Presentation

evo 6 - bahamut

Graphically, the game varies, due to its genre-changing nature. Evoland 1 starts as an old “green-tint” Game Boy game and contains blurriness that it and other 2D games had while the 3D segment look very smooth and detailed. It doesn’t look different on the Switch, though. It looks no more blurry than it does on PC when it goes through those “eras”.

Performance is fine in 2D Mode but 3D Mode struggles a bit in Evoland 2. There are a good number of frame drops in Docked Mode, and many more in handheld mode. Whenever you go into a new 3D area, the game struggles for a bit to adjust to it and has lots of drops.

Battery Life

With Battery Life, I thought to do 2 tests, as this is both a 2D and 3D game. Here are my times:

2D Mode

Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 39 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 56 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 26 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 50 minutes

3D Mode

Max Brightness + Wi-FI – 2 hours, 50 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 2 hours, 58 minutes

Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 11 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 3 hours, 23 minutes

In conclusion, Evoland is something I’ve wanted on handhelds for years, and it’s finally here. On the downside, the first game feels more like a shallow technical demo and there are quite a few frame drops in 3D Mode, but Evo 2 is a competent RPG filled with references to all manner of media that any retro fan should enjoy.

Final Score: 8/10