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500-Word Indies

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Eversion - Windows, MacOSX, Linux (December 28, 2008)

by Neil Foster - August 2, 2013

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This sugary cutesy-looking platformer begins with a screen with both a quote from H. P. Lovecraft and a warning that it isn't for kids or those with nervous dispositions. That alone should be enough of a clue that Eversion is not all as it seems. The game stars the walking flower protagonist Zee Tee who must rescue Princess Nehema of the Flower Kingdom, his homeland.

Each of the colorful stages is filled with blocks and strolling blob enemies with big eyes, as well as gems to collect as you work towards your goal; the fairly standard platforming fare that seems lifted straight out of the mid-to-late '80s. One button jumps and the other "everts" as certain spots in the world allow you to shift to a mirrored variant reality complete with its own set of changes to the scenery. One reality's clouds are solid enough to walk on, another's plants wilted enough to bypass, and another's blocks ready to crumble away. Each shift has a deeper level of reality to evert to, slowly losing the bright cheery nature of the stage to a decaying unhappy and desolate grey landscape... before shifting into darkness. The deterioration doesn't end at the levels themselves though, as the interface is tampered and screwed with, even changing the starting lines before each stage to a sometimes more unsettling phrase. By the end of the game, you'll delve into seven layers of reality (with the darkest 8th available only for those that collected all the gems) in order to reach the kidnapped princess... or whatever it is waiting for you.

The biggest problem with Eversion is that it's rather shallow outside of its gimmick. After the initial shock factor, all that's left is a short 8 stage game with some rather bland platforming and sometimes infuriating gem collecting just to get the good(?) ending. As a free title to experience once, that isn't too terrible, but it leaves merely a tingle aftershock much like awakening from a bizarre nightmare. Still, it's trollishly deceptive for anyone expecting a title at face value and showcases how far simple soft pixel visuals can corrupt into unease with minimal incremental changes - that and the slowly unnerving tonal shift in the music and some of the preceding text (or no text) before you begin a stage.

After releasing the first version of the game for free in late December 2008, a later updated edition was made available on Steam on June 7, 2010. The Steam version has a little tinkering to some of the level designs and boasts higher quality graphics by doubling the resolution (to 640 x 480) as well as parallax backgrounds and rearranged music. There is also a Time Attack mode with leaderboards available after completing the game, which also allows custom levels. There's even a secret third ending for those persistent enough to search for it.

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Eversion (Windows, Steam Version)

Eversion (Windows, Steam Version)


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500-Word Indies Index

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