Everhood is an rhythm based RPG from Foreign Gnomes, a European indie studio of just two people, they kindly sent us an advanced copy of the game to see what we, or in this case I thought. 

The game begins by presenting you with a choice to abandon your humanity, your asked if you’re willing to do so, Yes or No. Being the contrarian that I am I opted for no…well the game then returned me to the title screen which I’ll admit gave me a little chuckle.

Impressively when I restarted the game, it had remembered my initial choice and the dialogue presented differed to reflect this. 

It’s then we meet our player character, a red “doll” which kept making me think of dwarves for some reason, you begin with all your parts scattered about the place and a chap dressed in blue steals one of your arms and scarpers. Once reassembled, however incompletely you’re off in hot pursuit of this radius robbing rascal only to be stopped by a lute playing frog in what passes for the games tutorial and your first battle.

Calling the battles “combat sections” is a misnomer, in fact anything that evokes a sense of battle is setting you up for dissatisfaction. The challenge in Everhood comes down to musical sections or rhythm based dodging. Picture guitar hero but rather than hitting the notes, your aim is the exact opposite. Failure to get your red butt out the way of the music barrage results in you losing health. Lose all your health and naturally it’s game over. Your health will regenerate during the fight (there into with combat language again) and the difficulty level you pick will determine the rate at which it does so.

I know this because well, the game tells you. I have first hand experience of this because I lowered the difficulty a lot, all the way down to story mode (the easiest option). Everhood is punishingly difficult and given the games very meta and metaphysical vibes one could almost say it’s the “Git good” attitude distilled into game form. 

However aside from the odd moment of “getting in the groove” theres nothing interesting or enjoyable about dodging and it becomes rapidly apparent that dodging is all the game has to offer aside from its quirky charm. Long time readers will be aware that I’m a sucker for charm but Everhoods core gameplay is so exceedingly frustrating that all the charm of the Nosferatu chilling in a nightclub is null and void.

Everhood has some open world questing between bouts of epilepsy inducing dodging, once such quest involves finding a bin his lid, not the most noble of quests but very fitting for Everhood, a game in which sentient lamppost are your save points. There are also some music based puzzles which evoked a sense of the Zelda series in me. 

I enjoyed the visual style of Everhood, in a gaming landscape filled to the brim with developers trying to achieve photo realism it was nice to something colourful with a strong visual identity.

As well as a treat for my eyes Everhood for the most part was acoustically pleasing to, aside from the odd midi EDM track most of games soundtrack was fantastic, ranging from eerie atmospheric tunes while exploring the games world to funky rhythms during the games “combat” sections.

I just couldn’t get into the core gameplay of Everhood and it’s a real shame as I feel like there could be something special about Everhood but it’s just not for me and it certainly isn’t the dodging. Frustration is ultimately the feeling Everhood produced in me, not the frustration that drives us to become better at a game, the put it down and leave it alone kind of frustration. 

I’m sure Everhood will find its audience but unfortunately I won’t be among it. My frustration aside Everhood is clearly a passion project and a labour of love for it’s developers and while I won’t be singing Everhoods praises I shall be keeping an eye on what they release in the future.