Everhood is a dream adventure that openly quotes Undertale, with a story full of mystery and a decidedly original combat system.
Can an indie game become a cult? Absolutely yes, especially if his name is Undertale. Toby Fox’s work was seminal for the undergrowth of indie productions, capable of insinuating itself into the pop imaginary with his music, with his narration capable of attacking the playful routines we are used to and with a very powerful imagery, represented in the space of a few pixels (if you want to learn more about the qualities of the title, we suggest you read our review of Undertale).
You may be wondering why we opened the review of Everhood, by Chris Nordigren and Foreign Gnomes, citing a “sacred monster“of this caliber. Well, the game we are going to talk about owes a lot to Undertale, because it recovers some of the key points to make them its own, while still managing to appear original and endowed with a distinctive character. Also thanks to a peculiar gameplay, that mixes rhythm game dynamics with a potentially hardcore experience. But now let’s say no to chatter: an incredible world awaits us.
A dream tale
In the opening bars of Everhood, an unspecified entity asks us if we are willing to give up our humanity to become immortal. Whatever our answer, we’ll find ourselves in Red’s body, a wooden doll sadistically deprived of an arm. Imprisoned in our new wooden body, we will have to face a journey through fairy woods and crowded nightclubs to recover the stolen goods from the bad guy, along a path dotted with bizarre characters (such as the always cooled vampire Nosferatchu), goblins and wizards of various natures.
After a few hours of play, however, the adventure takes unexpected turns: exactly like Undertale, too Everhood distorts the sense of the story, asking us to make some choices that affect the ending of the plot, leading to different epilogues. Anticipating the main plot twist would be a great shame, and we therefore prefer to limit ourselves to further reiterating how the work of Foreign Gnomes is extremely close to that of Toby Fox on a conceptual level, although – in a certain sense – it also manages to distance itself from it. The adventure is in fact decidedly dreamlike, deliberately out of focus and hermetic, and even when – apparently – “provides the answers“He doesn’t do it in a completely clear way. To tell the truth, the narrative never reaches the levels of Undertale, and even if you get the best possible ending you never get a sense of full satisfaction. The story, although it is studded with interesting ruptures of the fourth wall, did not transmit the same power that characterizes Fox’s work; nevertheless, already the fact of being able to hold the comparison with Undertale is undeniably a plus. Net of these plot considerations, it is on the playful side that Everhood is decidedly more original and enjoyable.
Every fight in Everhood comes to life in a five-lane arena that openly remembers the interface of titles like Guitar Hero. The attacks of the different opponents will move along these “corridors“, and Red will not be able to do anything else – at least for the first part of the adventure – than try to avoid the incoming blows, dodging and jumping (even at the same time, thanks to a somersault).
Although “simple“on paper, this idea is reinvigorated from fight to fight with ever new playful gimmicks: from shots that place a barrier that is impossible to jump over, to effects that deliberately distort the image on the screen and increase the challenge rate. , considering the amount of colors and flashing lights, Everhood is a production not recommended for those suffering from epilepsy or is particularly photosensitive.
Speaking of difficulty, there are five different levels to choose from, and selecting a lower one does not in any way preclude the final epilogue, since this selector only modifies the protagonist’s health regeneration rate. For their part, the developers recommend the penultimate level of challenge, but already at the “normal” difficulty you will certainly find bread for your teeth.
Returning to the dynamics of the clashes, the opponents launch their attacks to the rhythm of the music, remembering once again Undertale and the famous fight with Sans on the notes of Megalovania. Indeed, the degree of complexity of the enemy patterns winks, also in this case, at the playful mixture built by Toby Fox, but everything takes a different turn with the continuation of the story. In fact, the ability to be able to send back the attacks to the sender, absorbing two hits of the same “color”, is enough to add a further playful substrate to the fight.
On the other hand, this aspect leads Everhood to impose on users a certain amount of backtracking to face again all the boss fights encountered up to that moment, and a second “forced” listening of the sound tracks present. A creative choice that underlines one of Everhood’s flaws, that is a soundtrack that sports few truly memorable or well-constructed songs: the conspicuous presence of “anonymous” electronics, occasionally supported by more articulated sounds and ranging in other genres, we personally a little disappointed, but in this case it is a judgment that falls within the sphere of subjectivity. However, for a title that places such an important emphasis on musicality, we would have expected more attention to the music sector.
Once again it is the playful component that reigns supreme, thanks also to some curious digressions: for example, the reinterpretation of a tennis match on a SNES, or a kart race that mentions the old cornerstones of the genre. These are small moments that diversify the experience, before the huge amount of questions about the continuation of the plot take over.
These are the mysteries of the game, the little truths that never shed a clarifying light on Red’s path, to keep curiosity high. A research path that passes through countless secrets, hidden epilogues and boss fights to be found by dialoguing with all the NPCs present.
Beyond the approximately seven hours required to reach the end credits, a certain epilogue will also unlock the New Game + mode, with further secrets and narrative outlets. In this sense, Everhood represents a small mine of discoveries to be revealed with different approaches, and although the level of complexity of Undertale’s “pacifist” run is not reached, the care taken by the developers in sketching a fascinating and dreamlike world is undoubted.
EverhoodPC Analyzed VersionEverhood owes a lot to Undertale, and while he deliberately winks at Toby Fox’s work, he tries to distance himself from him on the creative front. An attempt that fails entirely, especially on the side of writing and characters present, not always memorable. On the contrary, the idea of reinventing the combat system using rhythm game-like mechanics is a winning one, and each player will be able to find a satisfactory level of challenge for their skills without paying any narrative duty. Also on the sound front, according to the writer, there is no spark capable of getting a tune into the head, but it will be the curiosity to discover the secrets of the immortals to hold the bench for the whole game (and even beyond). In conclusion, we recommend Everhood to all Toby Fox fans who are waiting for the Deltarune project to finally be concluded.