First of all, I’d like to provide a disclaimer for those that might suffer from any kind of epilepsy or who might be sensitive to flashing patterns of light. There’s quite a lot of that in Everhood, so, depending on how sensitive you are, you might just want to avoid this title altogether. I happen to suffer from a mild case of epilepsy, and while I didn’t have any issues playing the game, there were a few cases where I did feel a little bit uncomfortable. Still, the game does offer two options for “Image Sensitive” and colourblind folks, so maybe that will mitigate a part of these issues for some. So, with that out of the way, please advise caution before diving into Everhood.
As a whole, Everhood is one of those games where it’s hard to explain what it actually is all about. As far as the story goes, I believe that any attempt to even remotely explain a good part of it will ruin a player’s first time with the game, so I’ll refrain from going too deep into it. On the other hand, what made me absolutely enjoy Everhood was its astounding soundtrack and its peculiar gameplay, particularly its combat.
Now, in terms of story, I have to admit that this was my least favourite part of the game. However, that isn’t the same as saying that it’s bad. I just found it to be overly convoluted and hard to keep a track of. Most of the times, I wasn’t even really sure of what was actually going on and if I was actually understanding things. In any case, the characters that you meet throughout the game are actually pretty great, but they do end up feeling a bit half-baked (if that’s the correct term to use here). In the end, I found myself craving for more of each of them, rather than cherishing the little screen time that each of them got. Still, I didn’t let this detract from my overall enjoyment because, despite all of this, the game on its own is still a lot of fun.
If you have seen any screenshots or videos of the game, then you should know what to expect in terms of gameplay. If not, then it’s pretty easy to understand. Basically, the core element of Everhood’s gameplay is its combat, which, to put it as simply as possible, plays out as some kind of reverse Guitar Hero or AudioSurf. Each combat encounter in Everhood is played to the awesome rhythm of the game’s music, which takes the form of the attacks that opponents hurl at you. In essence, instead of having to hit the “notes” as they’re coming towards you, you actually have to dodge them, either by dashing to the sides or by jumping over them in a 5 column battlefield. The whole shebang probably sounds easier than it actually is, but thankfully, the game has five different difficulty modes that tweak your health regeneration to better suit your skill.
Just like pretty much every other game that relies on some sort of rhythm out there, the gameplay flow relies heavily on the game’s soundtrack, and luckily, Everhood shines in this department. The soundtrack is so damn good that I found myself dashing around the battlefield even when there were no attacks coming my way. It’s extremely easy to get into the groove. When you’re not fighting, the world can feel eerily quiet at times, but just as everything can suddenly become whisper quiet, it also can suddenly come to life in the most ecstatic way. Everhood’s music also doesn’t stick to a specific genre, quite the opposite, it’s heavily based on different genres, and this allows for some really contrasting and memorable moments throughout your journey.
Despite everything, there were a few times where I had some trouble following what was going on. More specifically, I found it hard to keep track of what’s going on on the battlefield and whatever the character that I was fighting was saying. This is mainly because the speech text is shown at the top of the screen, while most of the combat takes place in the lower part, so you have to constantly move your eyes back and forth really fast. Some people might have trouble doing this.
Now, in terms of replayability, there are a few different endings that you can achieve, but you can expect your first playthrough to last around 7 hours or so. Still, there are some optional areas and fights that you might end up missing at first, so I highly encourage revisiting the game. Then there’s also New Game +, which adds a little bit of content to the base game. Some people might argue that the game is short, but given its rather low price tag and how fresh the whole game feels, I think that Everhood is more than worth it.
This is undoubtedly one of those games that will stick with you for years to come as it’s unlike anything that you’ve ever played before. It manages to be funny, grim, and intriguing, all at the same time, while also giving you a sense that you actually don’t have any clue as to what’s really going on in the game. Everhood’s strongest points are its combat system and its music. If you’ve listed to just a bit of it and enjoyed it, then I’m pretty sure that you’ll absolutely love playing the game. However, if you’re looking for something more story-oriented, I think you might not be entirely satisfied with what’s in store here.
In any case, Everhood is without a shadow of a doubt a great game that everyone should give a chance. It’s pretty unique and one hell of a trippy experience that I highly recommend to anyone who’s into games that defy common tropes and can’t really fit in a specific genre.