Evergate surprised me. At first it seemed to be a slight derivative of Ori and Blind Forest, but because of these similarities, I became interested in it, even though they are not the same. In fact, its common characteristics with Ori are superficial, and its high attention to the puzzle part of the puzzle platform game type gives you a rich and completely different experience.
Your role is Ki, a small bunch of elves occupying the afterlife and waiting for reincarnation while crossing Evergate. When a crisis threatens to destroy the entire afterlife itself, Ki will use Evergate to help you relive the key memories of the entire time and solve the mystery behind the imminent disaster. If this concept sounds exciting, it is.
The game will not give you much knowledge to get started, so you need to spend the first few hours to piece together myths. The character can throw terms at will without any explanation, it’s up to you.
The main game hook is very similar to one of the main platform mechanics in Ori games. In this case, the “thump” action allows you to eject objects from the air and shoot them in a specific direction. Evergate uses the same basic concept, but studies it in depth as an abyss of puzzle mechanics.
The entire game is built around a series of nodes with different effects, as long as you have a clear view of ethereal white objects or the ground. As you progress further, the sequence of finding these sight lines and discovering the nodes to hit becomes more and more complicated-and usually acrobatics, because you use a slow mechanic to align the shots in the air.
Evergate’s creativity comes from seeing a variety of different nodes (called crystals in the game) and how they can be used to create complex interlocking platform puzzles. Your goal is always to reach the marked door, but it is always unreachable or blocked by some obstacles.
The platforming controls are simple but natural, because the jump only has a satisfactory floating effect, enough to match the slim hero animation. However, crystals are a key navigation tool. If you arrange more than one at a time, it will have a greater stacking effect.
The most basic node is shooting in the direction of Ori, and one node may catch fire and destroy the obstacle, and the other node will produce a circular gravity field, which can be used to explode from any angle. Each of the 10 worlds introduces a brand new and often completely creative puzzle mechanism that allows you to easily learn its meaning before combining it with other things you have seen before.
In the end, you have become a true expert on each crystal effect, and it is very satisfying to plan to jump through obstacles on the stage and bounce between nodes without touching the ground.
Evergate is essentially a puzzle platform, and it also takes the second half of the name seriously. Without implementation, the planned route is nothing. When you enter the later stage, even if you know the solution, you have to solve it to a certain extent to reach the stage. In those moments, fine-tuned controls are particularly popular. The number of stages I failed has exceeded my estimates, but it was always my own fault because I missed that moment.
Due to the nature of its platform foundation, Evergate also felt very improvised. Puzzle games are usually designed with specific solutions in mind, and in a wide range of brush strokes, you can also see that certain stages also have specific processes.
But sometimes you will find a path that is obviously not expected, traversing nodes like a jazz player, and the system is flexible enough for you to use. There are no power ups or character upgrades, so at the beginning of any stage, you always have everything you might need.
The ten worlds are various memories scattered throughout the time, telling the story of two souls, but the two stories are only half the success. Evergate’s goal is to be a fable, meaning how our loved ones disappoint us. We need patience and kindness to see the world through their eyes to understand how we also disappoint them. When conveying this information through dialogue, it is actually very sweet.
However, most of the story is told through short animated vignettes, and it is not always clear what is going on. There is a lack of clarity in the sequence of these stories, and between the legendary media reports, it is difficult to connect or conflict with the characters before the game is about to end.
For games ranging from Chinese gardens to neon close-up games, the environment itself is not as bad as you think. Part of the reason is the product of puzzle elements that require some visual language to be preserved in multiple stages.
The background is different, but since your focus is platformization, it doesn’t feel like going to different time periods. The most obvious exception is the future, which introduces elements such as unmanned robots and force fields that will weaken your capabilities.
Overall, Evergate is very smart. This is a short and sweet enjoyment of the game. It continues to invent new ways to interact with the world and integrate game elements, so that people have a satisfactory test of intelligence and responsiveness.
This is not to say that Evergate has no value. The visual style and story are shocking. From the beginning, I was immediately attracted by the world and its design. The themes of each stage are different, and the whole story bit by bit converges into a larger story. I also have to applaud the gorgeous soundtrack, which is perfect for games in the afterlife, with a festive tone and an optimistic feeling.
Unfortunately, the players’ available options are so limited in the actual stage of Evergate because of the huge potential here. But outside of the speech, I found myself frustrated with this experience. Difficulties depend on timing rather than skills, platformization depends on plans rather than skills, and due to the conditions before use, mobility becomes restricted.
I really hope I can give this game even higher praise. Perhaps players who are looking for a slow platform game can reward trial and error without much satisfaction and can kick them out of Evergate. But I personally don’t plan to play it again.