Evoland takes gamers through evolution of video games

Evoland is a game from independent developer Shiro Games that combines the two ingredients of my childhood gaming diet: The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy.

But Evoland doesn’t take these features and just slap them together. Instead, the game lives up to its official description as “a journey through the history of action/adventure gaming.” Evoland starts as a sprite-based game with limited Japanese RPG features, but as players progress, new technologies, game features, and graphical upgrades are unlocked. By the end, the evolution climaxes into a full 3-D game that uses both Japanese RPG elements and Zelda-style dungeon crawling to finish out the historical journey. Through it all, a tongue-in-cheek narrative pokes fun at traditional video game tropes.

The in-game evolution reflects the game’s evolution through development. Originally, Evoland was the winner of Ludum Dare, a 48-hour competition that tasks contestants with developing a game solo from start to finish. The 24th contest ran with the theme of “evolution” from Aug. 24 to Aug. 27, and Evoland came out on top. Since winning the contest, the game has turned into a much bigger project. It originally took players through a brief history of The Legend of Zelda, but it’s now mixing in Japanese RPG elements and a much better graphical transformation.

For any gamer my age, the game likely invokes strong feelings of nostalgia. It doesn’t just reflect the evolution of a genre; it reflects the evolution of gaming through my life. I witnessed this history develop from The Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy on my Nintendo to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Final Fantasy IX on my Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, respectively. This is a history I’m all too familiar with, and it’s a history I will gladly relive again.

Right now, Evoland is slated for a first quarter release, which means between now and the end of March. To get the game on Steam, show support through Steam Greenlight.

It’s also possible to play the original Evoland through the Ludum Dare website.

What do you guys think? Does Evoland seem intriguing? How do you think the mixed gameplay elements work? Make sure to comment below.