I expected to love Evertales [$0.99]. Its trailer is stylish and charming, it looks a tiny bit like Trine, and it's by Thunder Game Works, the folks who made the Trenches series, and Crescent Moon Games, the studio that brought us Pocket RPG, Aralon, Gears and other great games. We were optimistic in our previews. But here's the thing about expectations -- sometimes they leave you disappointed.

Despite its impressive pedigree, Evertales falls totally flat. It's short, and it's got a few kinks that still need working out. It's excessively straightforward. But far worse than any of that, it's just not very much fun.

The formula should work. You've got three heroes, each with his own set of abilities. Sort of. You have platforming, combat, and something that could resemble puzzle-solving if you squint hard enough. You've got upgradeable weapons and big boss fights. You've got great looking environments -- I'll give this game that much. But you haven't got much else.

The trouble starts with those three heroes and their abilities. They just aren't all that unique. The archer can shoot, but so can the mage and warrior if you buy their extra weapons. The mage can cast spells, which is a lot like shooting but much more useful. The archer can double jump, and the mage can float slowly to the ground. There will be areas where you need to use those abilities. The warrior can't do much, but he seems to hit pretty hard. You can switch between them, but for the vast majority of the game you won't have any reason to want to.

Then there's the levels. There are only twelve, and they aren't particularly long. It's actually more like six with a hard checkpoint in the midst of each. They aren't hard, though they're occasionally irritating. I ran into a few bugs, places where I fell forever, coins that were stuck, that sort of thing. But more frequently I encountered areas where I'd be one death in before I could see where I needed to go next, which is simply shoddy level design. Deaths don't mean much, though. You'll run past several checkpoints per level, and you lose nothing for dying. It might rob the game of some potential challenge, but at least it keeps the lousy parts from getting too frustrating.

At the end of every second level, you'll find a boss. It seems like the idea of these bosses is to provide an epic, puzzling fight, but jumping and hitting them works efficiently and universally, right down to the final boss.

Like me, you might think you'll find some replayability in the Game Center integration. You probably won't. Most of the achievements are for defeating the game's six bosses. The others are for collecting all the armor for each of the characters. You can do that by grinding for coins -- which just means replaying levels to collect the same coins in the same spots, not improving your performance or anything -- or you can just buy the IAP. Which you should probably do if you're really into getting achievements, since there's one for that too. Maybe it's just me, but achievements lose a bit of their luster when you literally need to purchase them.

When you beat the game, you unlock Survival mode, which will give you a leaderboard to climb. You get a tiny sliver of Evertales' least interesting level to stand on while you fight off waves of enemies. It doesn't seem like you can earn coins this way, so forget about working your way up the leaderboard while earning useful upgrades.

The controls are another issue. By default, they're awful. Movement is controlled with a virtual stick that hangs out wherever you place your thumb, and that's fine. But jumping and attacking are both controlled by swipes on the right side of the screen, and more often than not the game confuses which you intend. That's okay, because there's a traditional jump/attack button set up available. It probably should have been the default, but that's the least of this game's problems.

Aesthetically, Evertales is pretty good. It looks great, sounds good, and has some cute cosmetic upgrades for its heroes. Otherwise, it's bland and boring. I've always been pleasantly surprised by these studios in the past. Evertales was a surprise, but it wasn't pleasant. Whether you love it or hate it, though, share your thoughts in our discussion thread.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://twitter.com/Sephi_Toderas Paul Toderas

    Very imaginative. Why don't name it Thrime and be honest about it"?

    • Anonymous

      Yea, i agree with ya.
      Once i saw the screenshots, i realized it is a trine rip-off.

      I owned trine the ps3 vision, why should i bother to buy a rip-off trine for my ipad2?

    • Patrick Sullivan

      So what you're saying is that trine is the first platformer EVER to have multiple characters and slightly puzzly style?

  • http://twitter.com/back2this Sean Yuan

    2.5 stars? In the over three years that TA has been running, less than 5% of the games reviewed that got a rating have got a score equivalent or lower than that. However bad of an experience you had with Evertales, I'm positive it was not worse than over 95% of the other games that have been reviewed here.

    @back2this

    • http://twitter.com/equaloppdork Equalopportunitydork

      Really?  Because based on that trailer, this game looks awful.  If this had been a glowing review, I'd have questioned if they played the same game I see in the video. The animations look stiff and everything seems to move like they are trudging through molasses.  That's based on a video that is supposed to entice me into buying the game.

    • http://twitter.com/nrathaus Noam Rathaus

      After buying this game, as I like Crescent Moon games, I am sorry to say this one sucks

      Too much jumping around (is this supposed to be a platform game?) too much of the same kill slash, but in a very unimaginative way, in comparison Pocket RPG is enjoyable, this one isn't.

      The enemies don't make it enjoyable to kill them, they just stand there, come to you each at its turn and die in front of you. When more than one comes, the game slows down? (looks like a bug).

      I would give this 1 star out of 5.

      • Noah

        (is this supposed to be a platform game?)
        Yes. Yes, it is.

    • http://twitter.com/derektraver Derek Traver

      Dude... that's not how reviews work.

  • http://twitter.com/kzwen Zwen

    When I saw that it is only 2hrs, I put it out of my mind for this week's releases. And then seeing this review is gonna make me think real hard about getting it in future.

  • Miguel Herrero

    At least Trine was fun :) this seems to be a bad ripoff. I wouldn't mind if at least was fun, given that you can't play the original Trine on iOS.

  • Anonymous

    I don't know where people are getting 2 hours from. Anyone that isn't mentally challenged or 2 years old can beat this game in less than an hour. You'll be left with "really, that's it?" You may even go into denial that it's actually that short. The boss fights are watered down and offer no challenge. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IPTN3UHEOJGOF44LEHL2LPW6PQ phil

    Ok so the gameplay is fairly simple but in my opinion the graphics are great and for 69p (or less than a buck to you in the US) where can you go wrong for an hours entertainment!? i got more enjoyment from it that that can of coke i had at lunch that cost the same amount.

    • http://twitter.com/Rage_boi Vince

      Just because gourmet coffee served in a pretty cup is going for only 0.99 USD doesn't mean I can accept that is bland and still proclaim that it is worth the order.

      CM seems rather receptive to the current criticism and feedback directed at the game and I will be looking forward to the updates.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but every time someone says something like that, I have to assume they work for the company. If you used that logic for every game that gave you just a few minutes of enjoyment, you should then buy just about every game in the app store. But most people are looking to spend their money on apps that will last them longer than an hour.

  • matthew wood

    touch arcades reviewing system needs a fix, whats the point in having 5 stars if only three of them are ever being used. this may be an app but they don't need to mimic the flawed rating system on the app store.

    • Anonymous

      They have 5 stars, but 10 points. The problem with 10 point rating systems is that there are too many options, and they are subjective (only meaningful for the person assigning them). They should, therefore, be adapted for that purpose.
      1 - Did not like, Would not recommend
      2 - Not bad but not great - try at your own risk
      3 - Would recommend fans of the genre buy it
      4 - Would recommend everyone buy it

      There are no other ratings necessary. As a reader, you can glean all further useful information to decide how that rating fits you, by reading the review.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        The real problem is that ratings themselves aren't necessary, but the gaming industry as a whole seems to demand them. You shouldn't need an arbitrary number to tell you how good a game is after reading a review, but, here we are.

      • Willem Blankenburgh

        Eh...so you're consistently doing something that you don't agree with? Because the industry 'seems to demand' it? Doesn't that sound a bit fatalistic?

        I say: follow your own principles, keep writing your excellent reviews and get rid of those silly arbitrary stars.

        Of course you can't quantify a subjective experience. So don't.

      • http://twitter.com/aagold3 Aaron G

        I think you can glean a similar impression from the 5 star system used right now. The 1 star isn't really used unless the game doesn't merit a review, and TA doesn't have the time to go through all the app store trash to assign these. Cutting all that out, start at 2 and go to 5.

      • Noah

        I like Netfix's rating system...

        1 Star - Hated it
        2 Stars - Didn't Like it
        3 Stars - Liked it
        4 Stars - Really Liked it
        5 Stars - Loved it

        This would be a 2 Star rating game... the reviewer "Didn't Like it"

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4OOX62YE7D4R62R6JI2NIOSUYY Trevor

    The gameplay is snorefest. The graphics are good, but not great. They don't save this game at all. Cresent Moon was smart to release the game at 99 cents, because no one would buy it other wise. It's definitely worth 99 cent, but It's not going t last very long on my device. 

    Touch Arcade did a wonderful job of reviewing this game. In all honesty, its not that awesome. 2.5/5 is a fair rating for it. 

  • Nicole Hunter

    Why such a low rating?  I thought this game was imaginative.  Granted it's been done but I thought it was pretty fun.  You barely ever give ratings this low and I don't think this game deserves such a low rating.

    • Noah

      It was more of a 2 out of 5 stars game vs. a 2.5 stars out of a 5 stars game. IMHO.

      • http://twitter.com/back2this Sean Yuan

        Lol.

        @back2this

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FWL4NM32XA23SLJGHHT64XCRIY Alejandro

    You people don't get this game. Maybe it was presented to you diffirently, I thought it was an RPG at first, and felt i was going to be dissappointed, but when playing it, I vbecame nostalgic. Yes, its a platform game, much like TARZAN for the PSN, thaat´s why i like it.

    • Anonymous

      If I have to "get" a game to enjoy it, then the developers haven't done their job.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GHIIHTRJXIOZCAF2GESNKZH264 himanshu

    I think 2.5 a fair rating. The problem is that TA usually gives far too many stars to less deserving games. The review itself will call a game things like "repetitive", "could be better", etc and the stars given will be 3.5 or 4. In that context, 2.5 for Evertales from TA seems very low (as someone says, it puts the game in the lower 5 percentile, which Evertales certainly is not) So the problem is not the rating of Evertales... but of other games really.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry to say it, but I saw this one coming.  That gameplay video made this game look so boring and NOT fun.

  • http://twitter.com/einztrigger einztrigger

    I play this game just now...thankfully it is universal app so can be played on my iphone 4 and ipad 2...

    I've played pocket rpg before...and i think evertales is as good as pocket rpg...just watching the trailer alone does not do the game justice...
    beautiful graphics, fun games and epic boss battle...what's not to like about this game?2/5 star is ridiculous for an awesome games

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Evertales Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 2.5