If there’s one thing you can rely on with Crescent Moon Games, it’s solid presentation. So it won't surprise you to learn that Evertales is, at times, a very good-looking game.
Its three characterful mediaeval heroes battle through an attractive storybook setting, fighting pirates, goblins, gigantic sea beasts, and chittering, hissing arachnids, all of which are realised with real skill.
There’s a beautiful stage on a broken pirate ship floating across choppy seas with cannon fire peppering you from the background.
Fighting fantasyIt's all part of a hugely evocative fantasy setting, one enhanced by some stirring - if slightly repetitive - music. There's also a genuinely amusing introductory story sequence at the outset, though that makes it all the more disappointing when the developer seems to forget about the funny stuff thereafter.
Still, the 2.5D graphics are terrific, as you yomp around six chapters' worth of perilous adventures, switching between a trio of heroes: warrior, elf, and wizard.
Look before you leapBut, disappointingly, this side-scrolling action-platformer is as basic as they come. You run, you jump, you bash enemies, and you push the occasional crate. There's never anything more to it than that. The warrior is useful at close-quarters combat, but can't jump very well, meaning many of the coins and treasure chests scattered around the levels remain out of reach. Meanwhile, the elf may be relatively feeble but he has a double-jump to reach higher platforms and is half-decent at distance combat, though the stages rarely afford you a significant gap between you and your enemies.
Now that's magicThe wizard, meanwhile, floats slowly earthward after each leap, and his fire spell is strong, if less effective against enemies that are very close. The idea is that you switch between the three regularly. But enemies will often close the gap in the time you've taken to change, ensuring they get an attack in. There's no way to block attacks - just jump and retreat. Besides, with the ability to upgrade your characters, you can equip them with new and more powerful weapons that render other characters moot.
No-mark the BarbarianAfter a while you won't really need the warrior, and the wizard's offensive power makes him more desirable than his elven counterpart. Finding the coins to purchase upgrades should, in theory, make exploration more rewarding. But the level design is far too simple, and coins are rarely tucked away in hard-to-reach places. On an average stage, most players will find all the coins and reach the 'finish' line within a couple of minutes.
Death before glory
Dying is merely a hindrance, setting you back to the last checkpoint you passed - though you will have to repeat some areas, as energy gets sapped pretty quickly and mistimed jumps often result in you falling through the gaps between platforms. This is a more common issue when you're using the default swipe controls, which we strongly advise you change straight away. Button controls are far better, unless you fancy jumping on the spot, floating slightly forward with your second leap in mid-air, and falling down the narrow hole most heroes would be able to clear with a large stride.
Battle dipsCombat suffers from a lack of visual feedback – enemies flash red when you hit them and you’ll flash red when they hit you. But it's hard to gauge why their swipes sometimes connect and sometimes don't. Either way, your tactics never change. Hammer the 'attack' button, and if you’ve enough health you’ll usually win.
The bosses look amazing – particularly the aforementioned sea-serpent - but defeating them is a simple matter of jumping and striking. Occasionally you'll just need to repeat the latter to prevail.
After six chapters and 12 fairly short levels, it’s all over. There's a small degree of replay value thanks to an additional High-score mode that sees you tackling waves of enemies, but this only exacerbates the simplicity of the combat. Alternatively, you can repeat levels to earn enough coins to unlock all the armour for each character to get the corresponding achievement - or pay the in-app-purchase fee for a boost to your wallet. Then again, as armour makes no noticeable difference other than a minor aesthetic change, you’re ultimately either shelling out or grinding for a meaningless virtual reward.
Otherwise, Evertales is inoffensive but as bland as magnolia. As a mindless action-platformer to keep your thumbs busy while your brain switches off, it's passable, but nothing more.