Eversion is one of those games that is very hard to review. I bought it as part of the bundle-in-a-box Eclectic Bundle and as such I was able to go into it pretty much blind which is perhaps the best way but even so it was immediately obvious that something was going to happen. The screenshot above is not representative, this is not a happy fun times game.The first clue is that the start-up screen quotes H.P.Lovecraft and warns that the game isn’t suitable for children or people of a nervous disposition. The second clue to this fact is that the title screen is just too saccharine sweet to be genuine. Obviously I can’t tell you what does happen without spoilers so that is out. I can describe the process of playing the game though and that is pretty much Mario-clone 101, which is a little disappointing. You jump about, you jump over, you jump on anything you don’t like the look of, you open things and destroy things by head-butting like the stereotype of an angry Glaswegian, all very Mario. The interesting stuff is found in the “dimension shifting” as the developers describe it. Think more ‘Sliders’ than ‘Fez‘ or anything else which involves actual dimensions. The time travel mechanic of ‘The Suspense II‘ (SIDE NOTE: The Suspense II is good, well worth your time and doesn’t ask for your money) might have been inspired by Eversion since there are definite similarities although unlike that game the player cannot move freely and the movement is not in time. The important thing is that there is a button which when pressed at the right time will make things change. Things need to change for you to move forward and if you start thinking about the ethics of how things change you’ll seriously question the ethics of progress. On the other hand if you stopped to think about the ethics of Mario on a sociopath would get past world 1-1 so I guess it is like Mario in that respect. It is notable how close to Mario Eversion actually stays. It isn’t nearly so subversive of platforming tropes as say Nebulous Hero or The Visit (which are both also free and worth your time, particularly Nebulous Hero). It makes me wish I’d played the game back in 2010 when it was first released because now it sits alongside these other more recent subversive platformers it looks a little light.
It does do things differently though and simplest ending is a thing of simple beauty. Furthermore the controls do feel right, at least for the most part, which is so important for platform games (see The Visit for a platform game which fails this feel test). My biggest criticism is that the game isn’t as scary as it likes to think it is. No, it isn’t suitable for children but I have a fairly nervous disposition and this never made me so much as blink. Perhaps it gets a little more scary if you have the perseverance to stick around for the alternate endings but for my part I found it more of curiosity than a thriller. The second criticism is that the game is also fairly short, or “ideal for busy videogame fans” as the developers so diplomatically and accurately put it, but the full price for this game is only €3.99 or something similar on Steam and for that price I think it is worth it, although it has to be said that these days you can frequently get bigger and better games for that money. Better yet there is a freeware version of the game which is I believe basically identical but with slightly more lo-fi graphics which can serve as the perfect demo if you wish, just remember to pay for it if you both enjoy it and have money.
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