A good roguelite game is a treat, and a hard one to prepare. There are many aspects that make a roguelite great and not everyone agrees on them but from where I stand, the mixing of randomly generated challenges and heavy focus on player skill are the two main ingredients. And of course, a nice sense of progression to keep you hungry for more runs. Those ingredients don’t always come together to create a masterpiece but the genre is nothing if not full of potential.
Evertried takes its spin on the genre by mixing it with isometric, tactical gameplay. The game features an amnesiac protagonist awakening in the afterlife and being told he must fight his way up the mysterious tower. Each floor brings a different challenge and despite this being the afterlife, watch out - the dead may not have as much time to rest in peace as one might think.
The Good - I am a genius!
Evertried is all gameplay with some story sprinkled in and it does not take long to show you exactly why it’s confident on putting the focus there. The game takes the isometric gameplay that is usually a place for slow, careful consideration and gives the player ample opportunities to defy that rule: while each individual floor of the tower is quite small, the player is given the chance to examine the terrain and the enemies and pick their movements quickly so the fun part can begin. The focus mechanic rewards the player for taking snappy and decisive action while the charge mechanic encourages constant movement across the map. Evertried presents an array of enemies, each one with their particular quirks of movement, personality and aggression; learning how they move will soon be rewarded by satisfying chains of destroying enemies and luring them into traps. At times, the game can feel like high-speed chess in the best way possible.
On the story side, coupled with a clean and cute art style, Evertried has its own cast of characters to help scratch the itch of those that, like me, always appreciate a story alongside gameplay. Other souls that can be met at random while climbing the tower will tell the player about themselves and their stories, or simply share their own insights on the world around them. It’s not a particularly extensive cast - less than ten new faces to look forward to - but they add a much welcomed break every now and then. Their designs are also quite memorable, and the stylised pixel art serves them very well. From healing priests to primate shamans to forgotten knights, there is always at least one friendly face to look forward to in the next breather floor.
- Fast gameplay
- Clean and cute art style
- Multiple characters to meet
The Bad - Can I skip this?
Evertried certainly has a solid foundation but what’s built on top of it just doesn’t go very high. Although the isometric combat gives the player the experience of playing high-speed strategies, the initial novelty wears out very fast and the game does not provide much to make up for it. Other than the Towerpedia (which records found enemies and traps), Evertried has very, very little in the sense of tangible progression and gameplay variation - two things that to me, are extremely important to my enjoyment of a roguelite. On death, the player takes nothing back with them and must restart exactly as they were in the beginning of the run, without any additions or changes with one single exception in case they have mastered a skill. Skills are the one and only way to add variation to runs, being randomly purchased on shops that appear periodically throughout the tower and providing the player character with movement and combat options. However, each area of the tower will only ever have a single shop. If you happen to not do too well on the first floor by the time you reach it, you will simply have to make do with only your basic attack and movement options until about halfway through the next one - and let me tell you, it gets dull fast. Many, many times I found myself wishing that I could simply skip the entire first area of the tower because other than the chance to get a skill, nothing else seemed to matter or happen in it.
On the matter of skills, they can be leveled up and mastered, and the player can then equip a single one at the start of a new run, so long as they have mastered them. The issue arrives with the mastery system: it takes an extremely long time to master a skill and make it available. With each use of a skill, it levels up a little and utilising skills takes charges which you acquire by moving around with your precious turns; many times, you will be better served simply whacking enemies with your scythe rather than using the often expensive and hard to use skills. I have found that the best way to level up skills isn’t to organically utilise them throughout your run as you climb the tower but instead, to leave one harmless enemy alive and run laps around it to build charges and utilise the skill repeatedly on nothing at all until it levels up. It was either that or risk dying and losing both the run and my shot at having something new to try for the next one.
Finally, there is the matter of the randomly placed enemies. Of course I would be a fool to complain about randomness on roguelites but it bears saying that there will be times when they will spawn in positions such that the player has very, very few options to move safely and any direction will lead them to being ganged up on by two or more enemies with no chance of retaliation. Roguelites of course tread the death by RNG path proudly but in many cases, I feel like the player always has some modicum of chance to outskill their bad luck. In Evertried, however, there are times when I simply spawned on a floor two moves away from a checkmate and a lengthy trip back down to the first floor with nothing to show for my efforts. And knowing I didn’t have much to look forward to in the way of change or progress made me face the process with more apathy than I would’ve liked.
- No tangible progression
- Dull & basic gameplay
- Unbalanced skill levelling
- Unwinnable spawning
Final Score: 4/10
I don’t think Evertried is necessarily a bad game. The foundation is solid and it would only take a few minor improvements to really make it shine but as of right now, the only way I could possibly describe it is as a shallow experience. I can tell that there was a lot of care put into a lot of concepts in the game and it’s honestly a shame that it couldn’t truly be pushed to its full potential, but as things are currently, it just doesn’t have what makes for a long lasting, addictive roguelite game. I’m sad to say that I feel like I would rather pick up something new than to give this game another try before it receives a few patches.
Thank you for checking out our Evertried switch review, thank you to DANGEN Entertainment for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: