The Evercade is a retrogaming console with a difference. Unlike the multitude of other machines in an overcrowded market, the Evercade make use of physical cartridges. Each of which is packed full of fully licenced games. This helps to set it apart from other portables that either come preloaded with hundreds of unlicensed titles or relies on the end-user to source their own ROM files from some distinctly shady websites.
The console itself is solid, well built and feels comfortable in the hands. The D-Pad and each of the buttons are well positioned, responsive and feel good to use. The screen is a decent size, well lit and perfectly adequate for the types of games that you’ll be using the machine to play. For all intents and purposes, the Evercade genuinely feels like a portable game console as opposed to a cheap Chinese emulation machine.
A console is only as good as the games it plays though, and that’s where the Evercade hits a bit of a snag.
I grew up playing Atari 2600 and swiftly made my way through the 8 and 16 bit eras, so a lot of the titles on the five cartridges I currently own appealed to me. As soon as I powered up the Atari Collection #1 on Christmas morning I was quickly engrossed in the likes of Centipede, Asteroids and Adventure again. Likewise, the Namco Museum Collection #1 captured my attention for a good chunk of time with Dig Dug and Pac Man. The Piko Collection too was a no-brainer for me as I absolutely adore the SNES racer Top Gear. To be able to play these games – legally – on a dedicated console is incredibly satisfying.
But that satisfaction comes from the fact that I have fond memories of playing these particular games. To me they’re timeless classics. To those that didn’t grow up playing them they’re not likely to stir any real feelings of nostalgia or make anyone give up their beloved PlayStation. So as much as I love a handful of titles on the Atari Collection for example, the rest of them have zero appeal to me. Many of the included titles on each of the cartridges I own haven’t aged at all well and, despite some brief curiosity value, they’re unlikely to spend any time at all being played.
Despite these criticisms, I really like the Evercade. Blaze Entertainment have done a fantastic job recreating the feel of a classic handheld console, and there are plenty of decent titles available with the promise of more to come. But for me it’s more of a quick half hour time killer than a machine that I’m likely to spend hours glued to.