LadiesGamers Evergate

Evergate Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Evergate
Genre: Platformer, Puzzle, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PC, PS4 and Xbox One)
Developer|Publisher: Stone Lantern Games | PQube
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Teen
Price: UK £16.99 | EU € 19,99 | US $19.99
Release Date:  August 18th 2020

Review code used with many thanks to PQube

Ghost Drop

Evergate was suddenly released on the eShop along with several other indie titles in Nintendo’s recent Indie Showcase. Evergate stood out to me with its cute-looking appearance that is somewhat reminiscent of a certain Ori game I hold dear to my heart. The biggest stand-out, though, was how the developers said the game was a passion project. Not sure why, but whenever I hear this I’m always interested. Guess I have this weird fantasy that there is an interesting story hidden behind the project which may or may not be told. Let’s find out if this passion project is as good as its reveal trailer presents.

LadiesGamers Evergate
This is a puzzling afterlife.

Beyond Two Souls

You play a cute-looking soulflame called Ki who has just entered the afterlife. You spend the game exploring memories of Ki’s past lives which cover various timelines. However, things are not quite right and you soon discover another soulflame you share a close bond with who is angry and aims to make a mess of the afterlife. As you traverse Ki’s memories you learn more about this bond and ultimately look to fix it for this life and the next.

The story is simple but quite touching. It hits on themes of anger, how it clouds our perception of the world, and the importance of looking at things from all sides rather than one. This tale is easily enjoyed by the entire family, though it’s likely the adults will take more from it than the younglings. But hey, there’s cute soul-looking characters, so everyone’s happy.

LadiesGamers Evergate
This is one of the more friendly reapers I have seen in gaming.

Creative Puzzle Platformer

Evergate is a puzzle platformer. The goal of each level (or memory) is to simply reach the end point by any means necessary.

To traverse the environment you make use of the soulflame mechanic. This shoots a white beam from Ki. Provided it connects to a coloured crystal and a white surface, it will activate a special ability. For example, orange crystals boost you about, green and purple ones create a platform for you to stand on, and red ones turn you into a flame so you can bash through destructible surfaces. When you enter a new memory the game introduces a new crystal. Sort of drip-feeding you a new mechanic one step at a time, which is a nice design touch.

LadiesGamers Evergate
Each coloured crystal fires off a different ability.

When you first observe a level, it looks confusing. You’ll see crystals and platforms, but the path ahead is not entirely clear. My main approach was to experiment through trial and error. After all, each level is very concise and there is no life cap. You can restart as many times as you like.

It was through this experimentation that I found a lot of enjoyment in the design of this game, once I got my head round the soulflame mechanic. I found it quite therapeutic just exploring each level and felt rather proud of myself when I found a new route to the exit. I never really felt stressed, but maybe that was also helped by the fact that this game has a lovely soundtrack to boot. Fully orchestral, it’s another score I would love to play in the background while writing up future articles.

LadiesGamers Evergate
Hey look, there’s a deer spirit.

Collect the Essence

To add to the replay value, the game has three gems called “essence” to unlock per level. One is unlocked by collecting three gems scattered round each level. Another by destroying all the level crystals. And the other is unlocked by completing the level in a set time, which is pretty tricky as it usually requires you to think quite creatively. Often I only got this last essence with seconds to spare.

Collecting enough essence allows you to unlock up to three passive abilities to help you in your quest. These range from abilities like reduced fall speed to jumping higher. There is a lot to unlock and each has perks which will help you on specific levels. However, you can only use one passive ability per level. Even trying to change abilities midway through will force the level to restart, so choose wisely.

LadiesGamers Evergate
Each level has three sub-missions, collecting “essence” to unlock abilities, which adds to the replay value.

Slow Things Down

If you’re not the best at platformers, the developers have cleverly given you a precision button which essentially slows everything down, allowing you to line up the soulflame just right. The only problem is that this won’t help you to unlock the time-trial essence. This was a niggle that prevented me from unlocking all the abilities and possibly a problem for gamers not fond of time-trial challenges.

LadiesGamers Evergate
The precision ability helps slow the action down.

Quite the Spectacle

As afterlifes go, Evergate is a very pretty one. This is another of those games where screenshots don’t quite do it justice. You travel across a variety of themed levels with impressive artwork and nice animations. Despite this being the afterlife there’s a lot of life in these levels with various vegetation and weather effects. You even get to gaze at the Northern lights, which is delightful.

LadiesGamers Evergate
Enjoy the Northern Lights in the afterlife.

Return to the Afterlife

Evergate is a title you could comfortably get through within a week for the main campaign. If you’re looking to unlock everything, it will take significantly longer. After the story is finished there’s also additional challenge levels to enjoy. This game feels very suited to the gamer looking for a quick session here and there as the levels are not overly long, making this ideal for dipping in and out whenever you need a short break. Plus the music may even provide a moment of calm if you’re having a tough day.

LadiesGamers Evergate
Finding the ideal route is not always simple, but it’s rewarding to experiment.

Heart and Soul

Evergate is a beautiful and clever platformer. Once you get your head round the mechanics there is something quite special here to enjoy for the puzzle-platforming fan. If you need to take a break away from this world for a while, Evergate will take you to an afterlife with great music, rewarding challenges, and a moving story that may just speak to those who share a special bond with someone.

Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up!

One comment

  1. I am not going to lie. When I first saw it, it came off as a less visually inspired Ori and the Blind Forest. But I guess it is far more than that! I am glad.

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