April 12, 2021
Apr 16, 2021
A decent blend of Final Fantasy and Pokémon, with some original thoughts thrown in!
Unfortunately, most Pokémon games on mobile, while decent in some cases, still fail to satisfy the most hardcore Pokémon fans. However, if you wanted a classic Pokémon experience, you may rejoice! (or, at least, for a while).
Evertale tries to capture that classic Pokémon feel, meanwhile bringing other novel and not-so-novel elements to the formula. Of course, as far as Japanese role-playing games (JRPG) go, Evertale has all the tropes, in addition to manga-influenced illustrations and waifus (which unfortunately gets out of hand!)
The game's premise is as cliché as it gets: A world plunged into chaos requires the intervention of Pokémon masters Crestbearers that are able to lift the curse that befalls it. You may add all the usual plot devices that these types of games tend to use.
There are no major twists or meta-messages as far as I could discern, but we don't need to have those every single darn time! This one is just your typical save-the-world kind of game and I can appreciate it for what it is.
I do need to stress that this game has a lot going for it. Let's go over some of its virtues:
For one, it's very pretty to look at. Sure, it has your standard RPG Maker map tiles and, at times, it does look like it was made in RPG Maker, with some advanced coding and animations thrown in. I'm not trying to diss the developers and I have nothing against using RPG Maker to build a game, even as this tool has been maligned consistently by RPG fans. But, I digress.
Nevertheless, the aesthetics are very well-achieved and immersive in their simplicity. It reminds me of the usual Nintendo DS games, yet with some added polish.
The core gameplay is also very good and handcrafted, with some good strategy involved. We'll be elaborating on the gameplay in more detail later on, but this bears mentioning, at least in passing, for the time being.
Now we get to the bad and the ugly!
First of all, the game was advertised as something completely different from what it really was. To wit, the trailers made it seem like a horror game, which it obviously wasn't. This made a lot of people rightly upset.
The other major flaw is in... you guessed it: Monetization! Let's unpack this for a bit:
Developers tend to monetize their games by either making you pay upfront or having you spend money in order to advance through the plot or speed things up. I personally prefer to pay for my game and not have to worry about spending money down the road, but that's just me!
Nonetheless, sadly, Evertale in this regard commits an unforgivable sin!
For starters, the game is not free, and no, I don't mean it in the "you'll have to pay eventually" sense but in its most strict sense - namely, you have to pay a buck to even it. At first glance, this looks like a great bang for your literal buck but, trust me, it isn't, because down the road, you have to pay again! That's right, this game will encourage you to pay more money to advance, even when it already took a full dollar from you!
This is probably the worst monetization strategy I've ever seen, and I've witnessed some horrible monetization strategies before. You may say "it's only a dollar!", but the problem is not with the amount. Rather, it's the way players are fooled into buying a game that will then ask them to pay more money, and not precisely for cosmetics! In the next section, I'll be exposing a bit more about this.
Evertale is an open-world Japanese role-playing game played from an isometric perspective.
The game takes place in the fictional world of Erden. You play as a Crestbearer, who is likened to a Pokémon trainer. If you're not savvy about Pokémon, you'll be fighting monsters and, as they're worn down, you would attempt to catch them so that you may train them and use them at will.
The game also has elements similar to Final Fantasy, but mostly in its general plot design (very general!). Then again, the gameplay concepts of both Final Fantasy and Pokémon often overlap, since the Final Fantasy series would often introduce trainable beings - in the form of Espers, Guardian Forces, or similar - obtainable in many instances after battling them.
Back to Evertale, you, as the Crestbearer, are the only hope for Erden so that it's freed from Pandemonium, an evil curse that plagues the land every 100 years. The story is pretty straightforward and you'll be mostly handheld throughout your journey.
There are over 180 monsters to catch, and you may recruit other warriors to fight alongside you as well. You have unlimited attempts to catch monsters during combat (at least provided that your party is not wiped out), but to achieve this goal, the monster's health would have to drop to at least 25%. Once you catch them, they evolve as you earn experience points (EXP) from battles.
The battles are turn-based, meaning that you get to choose an action at a time, and some actions may put those of other party members in a queue, so you would have to be careful about the choices you make during combat. On the other hand, you can gather up to eight units in your squad, with four of them battling on the frontline.
Roaming the open world is fairly simple. You would only have to tap on the destination and your playable character will travel to it. Exploration is also heavily rewarded. You'll find chests - packed with loot and treasures - situated at various corners of the map waiting to be opened, as well as NPCs to interact with or fight.
You first play in offline mode, which is overly enjoyable, though not necessarily compelling. You'll most definitely enjoy the open world and the strategic combat aspects I described earlier.
However, once the first region is cleared (and it's cleared fast), the gameplay changes drastically and turns into a "gacha" (toy vending machine) game of sorts, with no reasonable way to get monsters for free or summon them.
The PvP is also extremely boring and not worth the time. I hear that it was once relatively fun, but the PvP Arena is fraught with auto-battling, which is not precisely what I would call "thrilling".
Lastly, the mana (stamina) system is also extremely off-putting. Unless you have some money on the sidelines to spend on recovering mana, you'll have to wait close to two hours until the bar refills and you can get back into the game.
This absolutely kills immersion and, while I certainly agree that we need to take some time off during our playthroughs, I would prefer to be the one choosing when to take a break and not the devs! This feature was clearly devised to milk money from the user base, and it's a deplorable practice that needs to be stopped.
I said this before, but it bears repeating: I had to pay to install this game, and it grinds my gears to be asked for more money in order to keep enjoying it at my leisure.
My verdict of Evertale? A fine game during the first few hours, spoiled by terrible pay-to-win mechanics later on and marred by misleading advertisement. If this game were ever to be offered for free, I would recommend that you play the offline mode. Otherwise, don't even bother!
You can let me know what you think of this game or this review in the comments section!
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