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of Magic and Power
2.0 / 10
Ever-who of what and where? It wouldn’t be surprising if none of you have ever heard of this title. Developed by The Adventure Company, Everlight of Magic and Power is one of many lesser known titles that become obscure and unrecognized amidst the staggering number of games put forth by more recognizable companies and brand names. But sometimes, reviewing these niche titles can reveal a surprisingly fun and deep independent title that could eventually spread into a sleeper hit by word of mouth.
Everlight is not one of these games. It is, in fact, a game that should be avoided at all costs. The plague suddenly seems more inviting.
E:oMaP stars Melvin, a young teen that was likely dreamed up by the lead designer as “Harry Potter without glasses” and who apparently likes informing everyone about what style of shirt he wears. Melvin stops inside a Candle Shop as shelter from the pouring rain, where he meets Mr. Teeth (take a wild guess what his defining characteristic is), an elderly candle maker who has no problem
the fact that his candles are magical. After demonstrating his magical abilities in the form of a parlor trick you’ve seen hundreds of times in bars, Mr. Teeth offers to send Melvin to a far away land where he can learn the ways of sorcery, and conquer his innermost fears so he may become a skilled magician. After Melvin agrees with what I consider the very opposite of unbridled enthusiasm, he is then spirited away to a small village consisting of medieval style houses where he immediately meets with Fiona, his self proclaimed spiritual guide who fancies herself an elf (despite clearly looking like a fairy). After about half an hour of hand holding, you are free to control Melvin as he moves across the town, interacting with a motley crew of villagers who all seem to have some problem that requires solving, the worst being a curse that causes the villagers to completely change their personalities during the night time.
Only problem is, nobody is interested in Melvin offering to free them from their plight. After all, he’s just a mere boy, and according to them there are hundreds of would-be youths who claim to be heroes but ultimately never deliver on their promises. Just how many kids has Mr. Teeth suckered into teleporting to the village of unfriendly jackasses?
Make no mistake; there isn’t a single likeable character in Everlight. Main character Melvin has a quip about every person and thing he encounters, and when he isn’t making an incredibly unfunny joke about the situation, he responds with the same level of disinterest and boredom throughout the adventure. Perhaps he’s just naturally responding spite with spite, but there’s no real way to tell when the voice acting is incredibly stilted and monotonous (especially and painfully noticeable every time Fiona cracks a forced laugh).
But there are plenty of good games that shine past poor voice acting. Everlight isn’t one of those. Taking a cue from adventure titles such as Maniac Mansion and Escape from Monkey Island, Everlight requires players to move from screen to screen and randomly click on every book, plate, jar, and trash can to find an item or clue that can help them advance through the quest. Unlike those other games, however, Everlight’s solutions to appease the venomous townspeople lack any sort of logic or sense that players may quickly lose patience and resort to Fiona’s Notes, an option that offers hints on what to do next. But considering the vagueness and general obnoxiousness of these hints, an online FAQ becomes a less stressful investment. Too bad you can’t set the game to a windowed mode (even worse for those that are hearing impaired is the lack of dialog subtitles).
If there’s one consolidation about the gameplay, it’s that you only need to rely on left clicking the mouse for the entire game; Moving the mouse in the bottom screen brings up a real-time menu of the items you’ve collected, as well as a tab for viewing the town from a far away map that can also be used for quick traveling to the different locations (of which there are only a handful; Clearly the game’s length comes from the random wandering and clicking followed by the lengthy and painful dialogue), along with a tab to instantly switch from day to night.
It is the latter feature which will become necessary to solve certain puzzles, as the villagers take on a different persona at night due to the course, usually resulting in changes that are more bizarre, sinister, or as seen on the screenshots, utterly horrifying then their daily behaviors. This change into a more brazen, mature setting is especially odd considering that the gameplay and magical setting feels intended for a young audience. Even more disturbing is the way these objectives are solved; in one instance, Melvin has to find a way to keep a pair of elderly neighbors from arguing over a banana tree overlooking both their yards. Through a series of illogical item trading and NPC dialog, you are required to solve this dispute by causing a distraction for the old couple while pouring poison on the tree, killing it along with bringing the old folks into a bitter settlement. Even King David was probably bluffing when he offered to chop that baby in half.
As far as presentation goes, Everlight at least manages to seamlessly blend the 3D characters with the pre-rendered backgrounds, perhaps due to PC resolutions or because the backgrounds are too simple to stand out. The lighting, if you could call it that, is just a wave of bright lines that are exactly the same no matter what screen you’re in, indoors or out, and the music is typical renaissance fare (get it?). Unfortunately the options for tweaking or customizing this game are nonexistent; At least give us the chance to change the language back to French, so we can pretend we’re listening to actors that actually care about the roles.
No two ways about it, Everlight is an atrocious experience that deserves its niche status among more competent or even just so-so games that are a better investment. When the buck-toothed old man offers you an opportunity to experience magic and wonderment, don’t make the same mistake Melvin did, and just walk away (or better yet, run).