Some games just go straight to the point. No setup, no forgiving intro, just a quick scene and you’re thrown into the deep end. Evertried is one of those games. Here you are placed in the role of a cute undead creature with a scythe that has to climb “The Tower”. See, in this world, lost souls who have not proven themselves worthy of going to heaven or hell can choose to challenge the horrors of The Tower for their eternal reward. It’s not easy at all, but your character was clearly a warrior of some sort in life, and that gives them a distinct advantage to tilt the odds in their favor.
The game takes place on an isometric 7×7 grid and focuses on a combat system that feels like a hybrid of turn-based and live action. Each floor has a handful of enemies to eliminate, and they only move when you do. To attack them, all you need to do is place your character next to them and take a step towards them, but you risk retaliation if you don’t plan this well enough. Since you can only take three hits in total and healing is hard to come by, it’s important that you plan a few moves ahead of time and try to turn the AI against itself. As you become more familiar with enemy patterns, you will learn how to better manipulate your enemies into triggering traps or opening up to your attack.
The live action part comes with the focus indicator at the top of the screen. Every time an enemy is hit, either by you or a trap, or dies, the gauge will fill up a bit more and if you can max it, it will level up. A higher caliber means that defeated enemies will drop more shards, which will then be used as currency to purchase upgrades and abilities from the shop that you occasionally visit. The problem, however, is that the gauge is slowly but steadily decreasing, lighting a fire below you to dispatch all of your enemies quickly so you don’t lose the gauge and possible shards as a result.
In practice, this makes Evertried a delightfully engaging experience, with one part of strategy and one part of a puzzle game. The focus gauge doesn’t decrease at a fast enough rate to make you feel discouraged, but that constant pressure does push you to think fast and stay on the offensive while chasing down enemies. Just when things seem to be getting stale, they throw you a new boss fight every 10 floors and then a new set of enemies and traps to deal with if you beat the boss. A typical Evertried run usually doesn’t take much longer than 10 to 15 minutes, making the experience feel very compact and fairly easy to slide in just one more try.
If we had to name one complaint, it’s that the main game in Evertried can feel a bit stale after prolonged sessions. Skills and cheating do mix up the way you play a bit, but ultimately, you’re still confined to pressing one of the four directions throughout the game, which becomes a bit similar given enough time. Still, we would give this one a recommendation; there is a lot of replayability, the concept of its playability is something we have not seen before, and (most importantly) it is fun.