Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder on PC
There’s no genre that I love more than role-playing games. Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder is a pretty classic-styled action RPG with some interesting twists along the way, including a number of game modes that will pop up as players progress. With shades of classics like The Legend of Zelda series and Chrono Trigger, this adventurous title from Shiro Games has a lot to bring to the table. With a complicated plot, curious characters, and a story that spans eras of time, how does it all fit together?
On its surface, Evoland 2 follows the adventures of Kuro, a red-haired young swordsman. Our tale begins as Kuro prepares for a festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Empire’s victory over the Demons in a war that tore the world apart during its time. Along his journey, Kuro will join forces with a number of friends, battle vicious foes, and come across more video game references than you can shake a stick at. Filled with humor, plot twists, and more than a bit of time travel, Evoland 2 presents an epic scale and complex narrative that makes players question the nature of life, fate, and more as they explore the vast and multifaceted world.
Most of Evoland 2 is in the form of a top-down action RPG, with Kuro leading the party across the various lands and times. Segments of the game take the form of a side-scrolling adventure game, a bullet hell shooter, and more as Kuro and his friends seek to unravel the mysteries of the past and secure the safety of the future. Along with a young magic user named Fina, the powerful Demon Lord Menos, and dedicated scholar named Velvet, players will take their party through all manner of trials and tribulations as they explore the world and piece together events lost to ancient history to protect their homes and loved ones from a doomsday event known as the Great Destruction.
As players journey from one era to another, Evoland 2 changes dramatically. The game begins in Kuro and Fina’s time period, a 16-bit world that’s rather reminiscent of classics such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Travelling backwards through time, the friends find themselves in an 8-bit style world, while forward travel finds players in a fully-rendered 3D world. Graphical differences aside, it’s worth noting that the transitions are very natural, and even the characters within the game can note the differences in their own existence in each. It’s a well-done and very cool touch, and players will find plenty of references to classic games as they make their way through each transformation of the world.
It’s also worth noting that not everything is presented in top-down RPG form. Evoland 2 includes plenty of side-scrolling segments, as well as a fully-featured top-view shoot-em-up with weapons upgrades, bosses, and more. Numerous puzzles, timed battles, and other classic genres make their way into the flow of the game, as well, with each not only well-done, but flowing very well into the game as a whole. I realize that much of it may sound gimmicky, but rest assured, no piece of the game’s several minigame segments is left half-finished or shoved awkwardly into place. I was actually pretty impressed with how well each part fits into the whole, and how much thought went into creating them in a seamless way.
As far as story goes, Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder also holds nothing back. As players travel from one era to the next, plenty of events from the past will have clear impacts on the future. I was reminded more than once of Chrono Trigger, which is about the highest praise I think I could give any game. The story is expertly woven through each of the game’s eras, and the writing is just short of excellent. Plenty of classic game references, such as a farmer complaining about the green-clad boy who terrorized his chickens, are strewn throughout with more than enough for any gamer to pick up on some of the clever and amusing moments of dialogue.
Perhaps the one thing that holds Evoland 2 back is one of the problems that’s pretty common to role-playing games. Advancing the story requires completing any of a number of things, and it can be tough to hit every detail along the way. I spent a decent amount of time running circles through one area, only to find that to proceed, I had to return to somewhere I’d been and ask a certain NPC about the one topic on his list that I’d somehow missed during our prior conversation. Once that was out of the way, though, things opened up pretty nicely, and overall the game is pretty good about making sure you’re pointed in the right direction. Just remember, the age-old advice of speaking to everyone about everything you can is in full effect here, so make sure you’re thorough as you go.
To be fully honest, I went into Evoland 2 expecting a simple and straightforward adventure that I’d be able to blow through in the course of a couple of evenings of play. Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and length of play. There’s still certainly a bit of technical polish that could be added, though, as I did encounter a few bugs along the way. Glitchy controller support, some texture-load errors, and one full-out crash hindered some of my play, but I did notice some improvement to the controller issues as an update rolled out during my review period. Whether all of the little kinks get ironed out remains to be seen, but with a bit of fine-tuning, Shiro Games could go a long way in making the already-great experience an even smoother ride.
The long and short of it is that Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder is an absolute must-play for action-RPG fans. With the variety of game styles represented, the well-written dialogue, and rich (if sometimes predictable) story, it’s a classic in its own right and filled with nods to genre greats. Even if you’re not a big RPG fan, it’s likely worth a shot, though the $19.99 price on Steam may be a bit of a reach if you’re on the fence. Still, it’s a more than fair price for the amount and quality of its content, and those who know they like the genre will find their money well-spent. Frankly, if not for the graphics bugs and occasionally frustrating hiccup in forward progress, Evoland 2 would be contending for my Game of the Year vote. Don’t let these things stand in the way, though, of considering this a great addition to the action-RPG library, and a worthy competitor for one of the best all-around indie titles I’ve played this year.