November 1, 2012 1:00 AM | Staff
[Guest reviewer Colin Brown profiles each game in the Halloween Bundle from IndieGames' co-created site Indie Royale.]
First launching on the XBLIG marketplace to positive reviews, EvilQuest eventually brought its role reversed brand of NES inspired action RPG to the PC and by extension to this very bundle. The main hook is that EvilQuest removes the slaying evil aspect from your typical RPG and inserts evil slaying in its place. Of course, this just sets the stage for some old school axe swinging that takes a lot of influence from some very interesting sources.
Galvis is an evil monster of a man who despises the world and has a general human resource policy of "you have outlived your usefulness, worm!" Unfortunately, the good old opening cutscene reveals that his repeated schemes to overthrow the king has finally ended in betrayal and imprisonment. Granted a second chance through a bloody shanking, Galvis decides to play it cool, hold back on the rampaging and track down the four magic seals holding back an ancient eldritch demon god to finally destroy existence once and for all. If you're a fan of the loose, linear open world design of NES greats like Final Fantasy, the best part is the way EvilQuest echoes the progression structure of those games. Vague general hints from townspeople give way to hidden keys and secret items to navigate the overworld and track down new loot, which certainly gave me a nice, pleasant, nostalgic feeling.
Combat, on the other hand, is handled in real time. It feels a lot like the 2D Zelda games, though fans of obscure NES action RPGs will recognize that EvilQuest's major influence is cult classic Crystalis. Thanks to this cult inspiration, combat feels quite good. You and your foes trade blows and dodge attacks, but Galvis can also charge his sword to unleash a powerful impromptu projectile. Then you also have a selection of highly powerful spells to assist as a secondary attack, as well as the usual item upgrades, hi-potions and stat boosts. Many will remember that the main difference between Zelda and Crystalis was the focus on combat over puzzles, and EvilQuest certainly comes down on the combat side of things. However, the combat is compelling and the game is short enough that it certainly doesn't overstay its welcome.
In short, EvilQuest is a nice, familiar style of game with a good twist and fun plotting. The story is never overtly winking, but the over the top revenging of Galvis is sadistically adorable while the period gameplay works as a great love letter to NES classics of yore. If you're looking for a new NES classic to enjoy, EvilQuest is certainly a worthy substitute.
[EvilQuest, MacGuffin's Curse, Home, Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse (full season) and Pathologic are available now in the Halloween Bundle on Indie Royale.]