Game 5 – Eversion (PC)
One thing that I have been concentrating on when it comes to playing my backlog is really getting into older games, specifically 4th Gen and sooner. There’s no real reason for that, it’s just because that’s the mood I’ve been in. But today I came upon this 2008 platforming game made by Guilherme S. Tows under the name Zaratusta Productions.
I know Indie platforming games seem to have been popping up all over the place recently, and there isn’t any sign of them slowing down. Single-person developing teams are making their own games, using their own visions, and taking all the time they need to put them out. And due to platforms like Steam, they have the ability to get them advertised and delivered to the public in a viable way. Whether or not you think this trend is a good thing is up to you, but many of the great games made this generation fall into this indie-platformer category.
Of all of these types of games I’ve seen and played, one thing that stays rather consistent is that they always seem to have their own “unique” twist. Each one seems to have it’s own “thing” that makes it stand out. Whether it’s a story twist, a unique gameplay mechanic, or just being much deeper than it shows on the surface, there has to be some kind of hook to separate it from the sea of indie platformers. Eversion’s thing is the ability to “Evert”.
When you press the “evert” button on certain spots in the game…
The entire point of the game is to collect all of the gems on each level. You have an infinite number of lives to do so, should you die to the cute little enemies or fall into the water. When you evert to different versions of the world, the level foes from “1-1” to “1-2”, “1-3”, and so on. All the parts of the world change depending on the plane you’re currently on, including the music, color scheme, and most importantly how you interact with the environment.
This is where the meat of the game lies, as all the puzzles are solved in this way. But where I really feel like this game shines and shows how it is truly unique isn’t really in it’s evert mechanic. It’s in it’s tone. The game makes a very deliberate attempt to pass itself off as an early 90’s platformer with vibrant colors and bubbly music. But as the game progresses and you delve deeper into the later planes, you realize that the game isn’t just rotting the flowers and taking the color away. The game is taking a shift for the darker.
Also of note, it is at this point that the music in the game takes a turn for the darker. The original bubbly theme turns to slower remixes of itself in the first couple of planes, but once reach this point it changes to a completely dreary theme that makes you miss all the bright pinks and blues. And it only ends up getting worse from there.
It’s at this point that you start to really miss the way the game started out as. When you entered those first 2 planes, you thought they seemed dark and wanted the original happy-world back. But after you start to see things like this you would just be happy seeing a -2 or -3 plane again. The game does a good job of teasing you by letting you experience them for a moment before tossing you back into the insanity of the later planes.
The game is pushed into full-on horror mode by now, as what was left of the little platformer is gone. All flowers have turned to deadly spiked barbs. Smiling faces on blocks are deformed cowls. The music is less of a song as it’s a warped track that speeds up and slows down at random and isn’t pleasant at all. And that’s when the game goes into it’s darkest point.
At this point, the music is completely scrapped for a rapid and irregularly beating heart. Another auto-scrolling level, this one has a good degree of difficulty to it as you constantly dodging enemies and trying to outrun the wall of blood. After you reach the end of this level, you are transported into one last level. The last level is the only one that incorporates all 7 of the planes you’ve experienced at this point, and calls on you to remember the traits of each one in order to collect all the gems.
There are 240 total gems to collect through all the levels, and you can go back and re-do each of the stages at will to get them all. Finish the 7th level to finally beat the game and save the princess you were apparently after the entire time!
But ending the 7th level without all the gems nets you the “bad” ending, while having all 240 will get you the “true ending”.
Getting the true ending also unlocks one final level as well as one final plane. For those that are adventurous enough to go see what it looks like, you can download the game through his site for free here. The game is also available on Steam for $5, in HD with achievements, if you’re into that sort of thing.
I think this game has plenty of things that make it “unique” among the recently popular genre of indie-platforming. It takes maybe an hour to beat the whole thing, and it’s worth a look.