Everhood – Review
Follow Genre: RPG, Rhythm Game
Developer: Foreign Gnomes
Publisher: Foreign Gnomes, Surefire. Games
Platform: Switch, PC
Tested on: Switch

Everhood – Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Satisfying rhythm-based combat system
Bad: Text is riddled with grammar errors
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Back in 2015, Undertale took the gaming world by storm. Fast forward six years, and Foreign Gnomes’ indie title Everhood has seemingly set its sights on Undertale’s audience. While we’re going to try and avoid direct comparisons to Undertale, it’s hard to deny that Everhood fits the same niche. So is Everhood a worthy spiritual successor to Toby Fox’ indie classic or is it a title that you can pass up?

Story

Let’s not beat around the bush here: Everhood’s story is difficult to explain, especially when trying to avoid spoilers. What you’re getting here is a weird and whimsical fairy tale about a wooden doll, named Red, whose arm is stolen by the nefarious Golden Pig during the game’s first few scenes. The main plot sees Red embark on a quest to retrieve his lost limb, but this storyline only serves as an excuse to have Red encounter a cast of fantastical creatures, ranging from Goblins to anthropomorphic mushrooms to living arcade cabinets and everything in between. Most of the cast are fully fleshed-out characters, and they all have their own little storyline in which Red becomes involved. The majority of the interactions Red has are humorous, although the game doesn’t shy away from heavier themes such as death or humanity.

Everhood’s tale is trippy and catches the player off-guard in a good way. From the very first moment, where you are asked to reject your humanity, you’re taken on a narrative rollercoaster. The story is weird, the characters are all over the place and the situations Red finds himself in may seem nonsensical when taken at face value, but deliver engaging emotional moments when you look beyond the surface. Although the overall writing is top-notch, we have to address the elephant in the room. Everhood should have received more thorough proofreading. While it’s easy enough to follow what is going on, the in-game text is riddled with spelling and grammar errors that detract from the overall enjoyment when reading through the game’s many genuinely funny dialogue and the heartfelt moments that make the game stand out. For a title that puts this much emphasis on its story, having the text be anything less than perfect is a bit of a letdown.

Graphics

Visually, Everhood is a bit of a mixed bag. The retro aesthetic has been overdone and the sprite designs aren’t always a hit, so we can’t really say we loved the game’s overall visuals in the overworld. However, it is during the game’s battles that Everhood’s visual choices suddenly become fantastic, simply because the game strikes the right balance between the black backgrounds and the lighting effects that evoke trippy 80s style visuals. The dark backgrounds put an emphasis on the saturated neon colors and the game gets really creative with perspective shifts and trippy effects.

Sound

With a combat system that is built around rhythm, it was absolutely essential that developer Foreign Gnomes nailed the soundtrack, and we can honestly say that they did not disappoint. The game’s OST, which was for the most part composed by Chris Nordgren, offers up almost three hours of original music, ranging from haunting melodies all the way to catchy beats that will have you bobbing your head along, especially during battles. The game’s audio is built entirely around the music, with no voice acting and very little emphasis on sound effects, but what’s present here just works. Just like the game’s visuals, the game’s synth music is suitably retro as well.

Gameplay

The game’s overworld adventure is played from a 2D top-down perspective and follows the standard RPG formula of moving from place to place and interacting with the characters you encounter. There is the obligatory fetch quest, which you can easily ignore early on in the game, but if you persist, you’ll find yourself rewarded in a major way. There are also a variety of puzzles that you’ll need to solve along the way, and while some of these can be headscratchers, most people won’t need to refer to an online guide to clear the game. Although Everhood is a relatively short title, with a single playthrough taking roughly six hours to complete, there is an incentive to revisit Red’s adventure as there are various endings and events that play out differently depending on the choices you make.

The battles are the standout feature here, from a gameplay perspective. When you engage with an enemy, the perspective shifts to a Guitar Hero-inspired screen, where Red has to avoid beams of light in time with the music. It’s important to note here that the aim is to avoid the light coming at you, rather than attempt to hit it, which is usually what you are supposed to do when playing a rhythm game with visually similar gameplay. Later on, however, you are able to deflect the games of light back to your enemies, allowing for a very different battle experience. While these battles are quite tricky, you can adjust their difficulty at any point in the game, so that Everhood never becomes frustrating. The combat system is incredibly satisfying once it clicks. That’s not to say that Everhood is a perfect game. It takes some time to get used to the combat system, especially if you’re not familiar with rhythm games in the same vein. Also, the loading times are ridiculously long. As we mentioned, the game’s dialogue is riddled with spelling and grammar errors. Individually, these are small nitpicks but they do add up, making for a game that is still good, but not perfect. An additional coat of polish would have helped here, as it would have elevated Everhood from a good game to a must-have indie classic.

Conclusion

In what is an excellent example of genre-blending, Everhood takes the classic RPG formula and adds rhythm-based combat, creating a game that is perhaps best described as Undertale meets Guitar Hero. That’s not to say that Everhood feels derivative, as it is very much its own thing, although it’s hard not to compare Foreign Gnomes’ RPG to Toby Fox’ indie classic that took the world by storm a few years ago. As such, Undertale fans will find plenty to love here, but even if you haven’t played that game, Everhood is well worth a look.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Everhood - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
SebastiaanRaats


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