Reviewed on Steam
Eversion was one of the earlier games I’ve played on Steam. I remember buying it with the idea it was a puzzle platformer which I could delve a few hours into. However, when I think back about it.. I wasn’t impressed back then. It was simple and didn’t even last more than a few hours. I even gave it a negative review on Steam! But when looking at the page, most review were actually very positive. Admittedly, I was a dumb kid who cared for gameplay over anything else, so maybe I missed something here? Today I’m taking another look at Eversion!
Eversion was created as a freeware game in 2008 by a British Indie Studio named Zaratustra Productions, and designed by Guilherme S Tows. Guilherme is originally from Brazil, where he worked for a Brazilian company to make Facebook and casual games. He has been part of seven freeware games of which two went commercial; Zeta’s World and the game we’re talking about today, Eversion. Despite being freeware, there’s no way to get the game for free anymore legit from the source itself as the developer site is down. The Steam version is still available, which is a sort of HD version of the original including achievements, leaderboards and more. I did manage to find several of the freeware games made by Zaratustra, which you can check out here on the official Itch.io site! No problem for the detective skills, you can donate me all your money thank you very much.
I have to mention beforehand that Eversion is a Lovecraftian game, basically meaning that what you see is not what you get. The quote “not intended for children or those of a nervous disposition” is there for a reason, so I won’t delve into that deeper. Like Undertale, Doki Doki Literature Club amongst many others, it is best to go in completely blind. So instead, it’s happy storytelling time! The princess of the Flower Kingdom has vanished, oh no! You, the brave flower Zee Tee, ain’t having that and heads out on a quest to save the princess in this colourfull game and defeat the evil Ghulibas. Despite what I’ve said about not delving deeper into it’s theming, this relatively simple game actually has quite some fan theories out there, so it’s a good game for that as well.
The world of Eversion is pretty simple. Thousands of people have made the comparison to it looking and playing like a Super Mario game and well.. they’re not wrong, I can’t deny it. But Eversion has its own mechanic that gives the same levels a different coat of paint: Well, eversion. At certain points in a stage you can evert the world and travel to the same stage but in a parallel universe. It’s not like the stages suddenly become beautiful or memorable or anything, but it’s something.
The gameplay consists of walking and jumping.. and that’s basically it. There are enemies walking through the stage that don’t directly attack you, and you can jump to defeat them. However, the eversion part I’ve mentioned earlier isn’t just for giving the game a new design. Changing dimensions allows for a variety of benefits, like clouds being frozen so you can platform on them, or trees being cut-down so you can walk past them. This is essentially where the Puzzle aspect comes up, as you have to go through multiple dimensions to get to the end of a stage. You cannot warp to a different parallel universe at any time however; you have to go to a certain spot in the stage where the music starts to change and the lighting becomes a bit darker.
You don’t just use parallel dimensions to progress through a stage however, as every stage also has collectables in the form of Gems. It’s not uncommon that you have to travel between multiple dimensions to get certain gems, and backtracking is also necessary at times. It gives a bit more gameplay than just point A to point B. There are multiple obstacles Zee Tee has to traverse to get to his beloved princess, like bottomless pits and enemies. He does not have a life bar and instantly dies when hit by an enemy. Fortunately you won’t lose any of the gems you have collected up to that point, and there are checkpoints in stages so the penalty is low.
It’s time for the sad part of the review. I’m a positive gamer overall so it’s not like I’m a fan of saying this, but despite my earlier compliments, it’s undeniable that the gameplay is really basic. And that was also the reason back then that I gave this game a negative review. I do regret that and if you look at my Steam profile you can see I replaced it immediately, but I had to address it. Something as simple as a power-up would have made the gameplay so much better. Guess I can’t ask for too much and really, the gameplay does work, but it would be unfair to not mention it.
That said however, I can compliment the game for implementing multiple endings. This can be achieved by getting the collectable gems, or something more hidden that I won’t spoil. Aside from gems there are also collectable letters which spell out Eversion, though this is strictly for achievement purposes. The leaderboards is a nice implementation as well, and since it is not a very long game you can take your time to master it. You can easily finish this game in 30 minutes, and complete it in less than 2 hours. As this is more meant to be an experience, replayability is on the lower side.
The game’s graphics aren’t anything special, but can look appropriate to the atmosphere the more you hop into parallel dimensions. There is also the ability to switch between the graphics of the freeware version, which look more like pseudo 8-bit, while the Steam version gears more towards 16-bit. The music, like the graphics, are appropriate to the atmosphere. Of course, I picked the song from the first level because hey, spoilersss.
I was pleasantly surprised by revisiting Eversion. My memories of it weren’t too positive, but after playing it again and learning about the Lovecraftian inspiration, I gained a new admiration for this game. Gameplay works and the multiple parallel dimensions allow for the puzzle aspect to rise, and the multiple endings allow for different methods to play the game. That said however, it would be unfair to deny the simplicity of the gameplay, and the game being an experience allows for less replayability. My recommendation would be to play through it once, probably complete it as well since it is a short game anyways. And with that, here is my final verdict for Eversion:
The only way to play Eversion is on Steam. Probably if you search the internet well enough you can find the original freeware version as well, though don’t expect it to be from any legal sources. It plays fine with both controller and keyboard.