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Review: Eversion

At a Glance

ESRB Rating: NR - Not Rated
My Rating: Ages 13 and up
Genre: Platformer / Horror
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2010
Review Published On: August 27th, 2016
Played on: Martha & Thaddeus

Available from:

Eversion's homepage, Humble Store, Steam

Save System:

Your progress is saved automatically. To be more specific, when you restart the game, you can start from any world that you've reached previously.

During play, you can pause the game by pressing P or ESC.

Summary of
Major Issues:

The cheerful fascade the game begins with is quickly dropped as you progress, turning the levels into a bloody, twisted hellscape.

Jump scares also become commonplace in later levels.


[view screenshot]
Up up and away!

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This scene gets really creepy

[view screenshot]
Everything looks so cheerful!

Game Overview

Despite the bright and colorful graphics, Eversion is a horror game. In fact, game begins by displaying a warning that nervous or easily frightened players should play something else instead. This warning should be taken somewhat seriously, as jump scares become common in later stages, and you're led to distrust what the game is showing you.

While this is pretty formulaic platformer, the gameplay revolves around a new concept called "everting". Basically, Eversion takes place in a multi-layered reality, and in order to progress, you'll frequently need to "evert" (or move) between these layers. The tricky part is that you can only evert when you're near a weak spot in the fabric of reality. These weak points aren't normally visible, but they can be found indirectly. Near a weak spot, the music and background slightly fades into the next layer, giving you a hint as to where you'll end up if you evert at that location.

Every layer is a slight change from the previous layer. Effectively, these layers form a progression from happy and good (the "highest" layer) to twisted and evil (the "lowest" layer). This means that the deeper in you travel, the more things will have changed, and often not for the better. However, these changes also open up new roads for you to explore, as some objects act like walls on one layer but can be walked through in others. For example, in one reality there may be a lush tree blocking your path, but in some alternate world, that tree will be a dead twig that you can walk past without issue.

A downside to warping through these different realities is that the simpler platforming mechanics become increasingly difficult. New monsters start appearing, and many of these creatures are not only invulnerable, but will also kill you if you touch them. If you're really going to save the princess, you're going to need to be a brave little flower and explore the darkest planes of reality.

Eversion isn't a long game, and it's definitely one that fans of spooky campfire stories should try at least once. The remastered version isn't terribly expensive, but if you're fine with the simpler graphics, there is a free version of the game available.

Points of Interest

Multiple endings
If you manage to complete the final level, the Princess will be waiting for you, just like how Mario would rescue Princess Peach at the end of the classic Super Mario games. But, exactly how the game ends depends on what twisted variant of reality you were in when you entered the Princess' chamber. In the Steam edition of the game, each ending will earn you a unique achievement, so you might want to spend some time searching out obscure evert locations before you finish the final level.
It's fun to be scared
Most of what makes this game's horror work is the unexpected suddenness of many of the changes. To be more specific, you'll sometimes evert unexpectedly, and things really go downhill fast when this happens. There are even some fake outs to make you worry about things that aren't there. Playing it again a little while after beating it can actually make you worry about jump scares that might be coming up.
Difficult and challenging
As things turn more nightmarish, they also become more difficult. Monsters move faster and some new dangers appear to thwart your progress. Fortunately, you have infinite lives, so dying just means starting the level over. Of course, you'll be doing that a lot.
Steam community features
The remastered version of the game is on Steam, and as such, it has achievements and Steam trading cards for you to earn. Some of the achievements hint at the game's less obvious content (such as the various endings) while one of them involves a little metagaming. One of the endings is also exclusive to the Steam version of the game, so if you've played the free version, you have a new secret to find.
The difficulty curve is too high for some
While things don't get insanely difficult or unfair, there are some points that require very precise timing. It doesn't help that in the later portions of the game, the monsters become very hard to dodge. There's a specific section near the middle of the game that's especially hard, but you'll eventually get around it with enough attempts.
It's fairly short
Depending on what you're doing, you can beat the game within an hour or two. Of course, going for the easy (and worst) ending won't take you long. Figuring out the correct eversions to get the best ending or making an attempt to earn the achievements will take considerably longer.

Concerns and Issues

This is a pretty dark game
Now, when I call this game "dark", I'm not referring to satanic images, the occult, or anything like that. Simply put, each time you go "down" a layer of reality, things become disquieting and evil. Younger children could probably get nightmares from some of the things seen in this game.

For example, take a look at the basic enemies. Like most platformers, you can defeat them by jumping on them, and at the same time, you'll be defeated if you touch them some other way. At the beginning of the game (ie, the highest level of reality), these creatures are cheerful little balls with feet, and they just fall off the level when defeated. In the lower layers of reality, they are angry one-eyed monsters with lots of sharp teeth. Jumping on them now results in a bloody splatter. There are scarier monsters lurking in the later levels as well.

The warping of reality even affects the game's interface, as the "READY!" message shown at the start of a level can also become corrupted, saying things like "GIVE UP" or "READY (to DIE!)".

Or it might not display at all.