App Army Assemble: Evoland 2 - A worthwhile evolution?

Our community has their say

App Army Assemble: Evoland 2 - A worthwhile evolution?
| Evoland 2

After taking a little break from our usual Assembles with a more opinion-based article last week, we're back in the swing of things with Playdigious' Evoland 2 now that it's out on Android.

As a game that evolves the more you play it, Evoland 2 features a whopping 20+ hours of gameplay, plenty of video game references, and cool environmental transitions - from a 2D RPG through trading card games and 3D fighters.

In its review we rather liked it, awarding it a Bronze Award and saying: "Unlike its predecessor, Evoland 2 tends not to get so swept up in how clever it's being. And that makes it a far warmer and more welcoming experience. It's still poking fun, but it's doing it because it cares, not because it's mean."

What does our App Army think though? It's time to find out.

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Chris Hearne (Samsung Galaxy S5)

I put a bit of time into this and I must say I'm enjoying it quite a lot. I'm not usually fond of pixelated graphics in games, but it just seems to fit right here. Don't get me wrong I haven't found anything groundbreaking or anything I haven't seen before, but there is a certain charm that I find hard to ignore.

If I had to find one gripe it would be the checkpoint function. Personally, I would prefer to save as I go along rather than relying on checkpoints, but that just adds to the overall challenge of the game.

Daniel Steinbrecher (iPhone 7/iPad 9.7 inch)

Are you the kind of person who thinks you aren't an RPG player like I did? This is true until you hit your mid-20s and realize how many RPGs you played in your youth. Final Fantasy and Grandia Golden Sun are some of the good old titles I remember. Evoland 2 is more than all of them together! That wasn't meant in a negative way.

Evoland 2 slices through all of them, cutting some elements out of it and connecting them together in a brilliant way. The game starts like a simple retro-looking RPG and takes you on a journey through decades in graphics, gameplay, and genres. It's very diversified because you don't have the feeling that the game is an endlessly repetitive one. Want to be Link, Super Mario, or Bomberman? You can be all of them from time to time. If this is still not enough you can also do some NPC beat 'em up.

The only "bad" points about this game are the controls and the visuals at the beginning. You can choose between different control settings. I haven't found mine yet, but am happy that players can choose. I still think that a controller makes the player feel much comfortable than using a virtual stick, but this also makes it a challenge to predict enemy movements because you can't roll or dash into any other direction. It's good at times that the player is a bit limited in their movements, like in the good old gems.

The isometric perspective makes it hard to see if you can pass trees or not. When you try to make your way through small passages you get blocked until you see what is going on. Maybe this is just a hiccup which comes alongside the perspective and graphical style. It's just a minor thing.

All in all, this is a worthy sequel to its predecessor.

Nikita Velit - (iPhone 8 Plus)

Evoland 2 is a game which unites different genres of RPGs: turn-based RPG, beat-'em-up, side-scrolling shooter, fighter, puzzler, platformer, and also different eras of gaming.

The plot is absolutely typical for an RPG: the hero, his team, the internal conflicts, collecting different artifacts, and trading in little shops — all of this to save the world from a threat.

Playing this game you will work through multiple eras, from 8-bit, 16-bit, through to less-modern 3D graphics. As you advance through the game it evolves, affecting its sound, graphics, and gameplay. The open world (in which nobody will hold your hand) supplements all of this, and you'll be free to go straight into any era, constantly surprised by its sharp change of mechanics and picture.

Mostly, the game uses a top-down view, in the spirit of Secret of Mana or Legend of Zelda. You can raid dungeons, battle bosses, solve puzzles and unique tests — generally everything to prevent you to save the present, the past, and the future.
Evoland 2 is playful and thoughtful. Unlike Evoland, the second part explains the events and tells its own story.

It is an excellent game with a huge amount of a variety in terms of references to other games and genres. If you want to play something unpretentious and RPG-like, but don't want to plunge into dealing with tiresome RPG elements, this is a game for you. Moreover, it's an excellent time to relive nostalgic feelings.

Dave van Gorkum (iPhone X)

Alright, I've played this for almost three hours - three hours I really enjoyed a lot! It's a great game, with old-school 'Golden Sun' vibes I really dig. I know that the graphics of the game will change when the story evolves, going from old-school to much more modern 3D graphics, but I didn't see to much of that yet unfortunately. I did play in 8 bit, 16 bit, and 2D platform style so far, all of them attractive to look at and great to play.

It's got some nice Easter eggs in there as well, like the cardboard box from Metal Gear in a sneak section and a Question Mark Block from Mario in the 2D platform section. You can see that the people who made this love games and it put a smile on my face on multiple occasions. The conversations are well written as well, actively making fun of the game they're in.

I'm really liking this game so far and will play a lot more to see how the game will evolve over time. I tried to keep playing until I saw the next graphical style (and with that, different gameplay), but I've yet to get there. This does mean that the game will be pretty lengthy I can imagine, which is a good thing of course. If you're on the fence about this, buy it. It's really great!

Mark Abukoff (Apple TV 4th generation with Steelseries Nimbus MiFi controller)

I've played this on my iPhone 7, but I prefer the controls on the Apple TV because they simply work better and are much much easier. The game is one of many retro pixelated games, a trend that I'm not a huge fan of, but this is one of the best. It does take a bit of patience and wandering around to advance the story - and that's not always a big selling point with me, but your wandering and looking is rewarded often enough to make it worthwhile.

As others have pointed out, the game has plenty of humor, and there are some nice Easter eggs here and there. Plus, the idea of the graphics evolving over time as a part of the story is clever and unique. I haven't hit that yet, but it's certainly something to look forward to. I didn't care for the music, so I turned the sound off, but if the retro RPG music is a part of the experience for you, you'll love that too. It'll take you right back.

The story is simple and typical, and to be honest I lost interest a few times and left the game for a while. But, I came back for this AAA and I'm glad I did. RPG fans and especially retro RPG fans will really enjoy this.

Funem (NVidia Shield TV with the gamepad)

I have been playing the game for a few hours so there is probably a lot more to see of the game than I have encountered already. I have been playing it on the Shield TV and it looks and plays fantastic on the big screen. The gamepad controls are spot on, which is only to be expected, and it's probably a port of the PC version.

The first Evoland had its graphics constantly evolving as you played it, from the oldest of old styles to a more modern style. In the time I have played this, the graphics started with the old Gameboy style just to show you the controls and quickly switched up to 16bit style. At the point where the game's story kicks in the graphics jump back to 8bit and that's where they have stayed to the point where I am now.

There is a better story this time around, but it walks the line of being forced whilst never tripping over it. The game has multiple references to other games, noticeably a lot of Zelda references. The sound is fine, but I initially reduced the level of the music then turned it off as it became annoying. I like the fact there is more of a story this time around and some lore and backstory to it, to the point where I am interested to see where it goes.

I must admit though I did find myself clicking past text sometimes as it stops you in your tracks when you just want to go on. I will keep playing though, so if you excuse me I have to go catch some chickens so I can finally get out of this castle.

Stian Charlie Maritz (Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus)

Evoland 2 does everything the first one did, but this time with a more engaging approach. It's not as methodical in its evolution as the first, but keeps all of the good bits.

It reminded me that games used to be simple, but also that there was a time before mini maps and waypoints where you'd wander around happily in a pixelated world until something clicked. Difficulty ebbs and flows as the game progresses but never to excess. It looks awesome on a Galaxy S9 plus, too.

James Glowinski (iPhone 6)

Gosh, what to type that hasn't been said already? The game is definitely a blast to old-school RPGs. The beginning reminds me a lot of the beginning to Chrono Trigger. The combat system is very straightforward.

I have had some problems with the touch control sticks and it has cost me several lives while I have played. I feel that some of the instructions (like changing helpers) could have been a bit clearer. Otherwise, this is a great game with great graphics.

Fernando Panero (Huawei Nexus 6P)

As an avid RPG player since back in the SNES times, I do enjoy these kinds of games. There is a whole new story and there's no need to have played the first one. It's filled with genre cliches, but it's fun overall. There are classic games references everywhere (from disguising as a cardboard box to infiltrate some dungeon, to hitting a brick to drop coins) and it begins with 16bit console-style playing, a-la Legend of Zelda.

Then there are some side-scrolling levels like Castlevania. Its touch controls were kind-of frustrating in those. As we advance in the story, 3D is introduced. There is the obligatory 'hidden stars' collecting which add nothing to the game, but joy to the completionists. The game is quite larger than the first one, 15-20 hours for Evoland 2, while the first took around two or three hours to finish

Overall, the game is quite an upgrade from the previous one. Its story is nice and well-driven, the bosses are fun and different, its puzzles and challenges vary from area to area, and its characters are okay.

I'm totally enjoying it. The price might be a little steep for a mobile player, but remember this is a full-ported PC game.

Ed Davis

Evoland 2 is much like its predecessor. It takes you through the ages of gaming, giving you small glimpses into the past. It carries this out well with its smooth gameplay and engages you with a good storyline.

The controls are fairly standard touchscreen controls, so I feel this would work better with a controller and physical buttons. But, other than that, its a great game for anyone looking for their next RPG.

Oksana Ryan (iPad Pro)

I didn't manage to play very much of this game because I've had problems with my iPad, but what I have played I've liked. There seems to be a glut of retro format games at the moment, but this one is a particularly good example. This RPG has a lot going for it - the colourful graphics, the straightforward controls, and even the music adjusted well to the varying situations.

The power-ups are very useful and the help of other characters comes in handy too. There are a wide variety of enemies to provide you with plenty of combat and after killing them you sometimes receive rewards or life source. As I previously mentioned I haven't progressed as far as I would have liked, but I will certainly be playing on to see where the storyline takes me.

Dries Pretorius (iPad Air)

Evoland 2 is a stream of references and Easter eggs from start to finish. It has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek for most of them, this works in the game's favor because it is not as good as the games it's referencing.

As a package it comes together nicely, I really enjoy the idea of a game that evolves its genre over time, but I wish that Evoland 2's pacing was a little more dynamic. Overall, it's an improvement on its predecessor in every way. If you lived through the early years of gaming this one's worth the asking price for the nostalgic references alone.

Lalol Hernández Gómez (iPhone 7)

I heard good things about the innovation of the first one and that this one was even better. But, I didn't expect an awesome experience like this and at such a high level of detail since merging different graphics and gameplays sound quite hard to achieve.

After about an hour of play it's clear the exploration (at least at the beginning of the game) is central and that its inspirations are plain, but add something to them. The sense of exploration and ambience is well established and keeps the gameplay fresh, adding different mechanics of different genres.

Something that I really didn't liked is its controls half-an-hour into the game. They feel unresponsive. Overall, I can't wait to finish it!

Aidan Taylor (iPhone 7S Plus)

Having played through the first game extensively on PC, I was intrigued to see how well it fared on a mobile platform (I will freely admit I didn't play the first on mobile).

I was not disappointed, as always the game beautifully marries art and gameplay styles from numerous generations and genres. The music and visuals will drag you back to your childhood, from the Gameboy opening through a "Link to the Past" and beyond you are propelled through an engaging story - which doesn't falter through each art style/genre transition - with wonderful characters and extremely tongue-in-cheek dialogue.

While I didn't get to play much this time around, what I saw has me hankering for more.

Other than a slight niggle with thumb-stick controls (the movement stick is too close to the screen edge), which 'could' see you losing momentum in the platforming stages, the overall control scheme is fine on mobile.

For those on the fence about picking this up, it won't disappoint. It far outshines its predecessor in terms of gameplay, story, and length. It's a huge thumbs-up from me.

Quincy Jones (iPhone 8 Plus)

I never got around to playing the original game, but I was immediately impressed by the amount of different styles of gameplay. The storytelling is actually not bad and there's a lot of *wink wink*-type of humor happening here.

I enjoyed when the game switched from top down to platform (etc.) as it did keep things from becoming to repetitive, and the puzzles here and there weren't bad or too annoying.

Showing the different gaming graphics evolution through time was really a treat and us old-school gamers will get an extra kick out of it. It really looks great.

It's definitely one for both the old and new players.

Civan Demirel (Xiaomi Mi A1)

I haven't played the first one so it was a new experience for me. I've played around two hours so far and I'm pleased to say that I'm impressed with it.

The gameplay up until now could be a bit easier. The controls weren't the best and could be improved. The control stick on the screen can get stuck easily, though I must say that I've been playing this on a budget/performance phone and I haven't seen any slowness or display lag. Though I haven't got to the 3D parts yet.

Overall it's a really promising game and I cant wait to finish it in the coming holiday. With all of the fourth wall-breaking and the Easter eggs here and there I found myself smiling occasionally.

As I said, I cant wait to explore it further. I can recommend this to anyone looking for a good mobile RPG, but the price on the App Store seems a bit high at the moment. Perhaps wait until there's a sale on to grab it if you're on a budget.

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Emily Sowden
Emily Sowden
Emily is Pocket Gamer's News Editor and writes about all kinds of game-related things. She needs coffee to function and begrudgingly loves her Switch more than she lets on.