Everland: Unleash The Magic is an action RPG based around a magic-using main character who prefers to keep her distance and fight with a book of spells rather than hack and slash through her enemies. Shadows of the promise of this concept show through in the boss battles and the character progression screens, but the game itself made me nauseous and made my eyes hurt every time I played it. A combination of clumsy execution and technical limitations renders the game viscerally uncomfortable to play, and Everland’s gameplay doesn’t contain enough depth or functionality to make the discomfort worth overcoming.
Everland: Unleash The Magic’s gameplay takes you through linear levels, often dungeons, that are full of traps, enemies, and vertical space. You don’t stand much of a chance against all but the weakest enemies in a hand-to-hand fight, so you’re forced to turn to your spells most of the time. The spells have a variety of different functions like healing, magic shields, basic fireballs, and immobilizing tornados. You’ll need to switch between these spells frequently in the heat of battle, especially the defensive ones, because the fights are a challenge from the very beginning of the game.
If done correctly, the magic system would add a sense of challenge and require more resourcefulness than most action RPGs, but it runs into two major problems. The first problem is the camera. With no way to adjust it manually other than a first person mode that’s very difficult to use while moving, you’re left at the mercy of the game’s automatic camera, which rotates as you approach objects and rotates your controls along with it. This means that when you’re fighting in a hallway, fighting in a corner, or running from enemies, the camera cripples your ability to maneuver, and sometimes will end up swinging around erratically as you become surrounded by enemies who don’t have to deal with the camera like you do. This problem is made worse by your character’s tendency to get stuck on door frames, the liberal use of traps, the confusing level layouts, and the fact that running from enemies to get yourself in an advantageous position is the single most important element of the game’s combat.
The other major problem with the magic system is how it’s laid out on the screen. You can keep your favorite spells assigned to keys at the bottom of the screen, but pressing them assigns the spell you want to the Cast button rather than casting it, which means that you can only have one spell equipped at a time. This is a huge problem when you’re expected to be running, healing yourself, keeping up a shield, and casting offensive spells that require that you to be directly facing your enemy. There’s another button to face the nearest enemy, but you’re given very little time to juggle all these commands, and you’ll often need to do something complicated like heal while running that’s almost impossible because of how difficult it is to maneuver the character, deal with the camera, and press the necessary buttons while a werewolf is chasing you down.
The game’s graphics, sound, presentation, and general aesthetic are about as poorly done as its gameplay. The samey environments make it hard to remember what part of the level you’re actually in, and the main character looks stiff and doll-like. The music is a major contributor to the uncomfortable vibe, because it’s mixed louder than the sound effects and never stops going for the same “epic fantasy” vibe that doesn’t really match up with what you’re actually doing. The edge of the screen cuts off bits of dialogue, and there’s a bizarre combo counter with ironic messages like “Killer!” when you string a combo together that doesn’t match up with the rest of the game. It all comes together to make Everland: Unleash The Magic feel claustrophobic and ugly, and as a result I never got close to being able to suspend my disbelief while playing the game.
A game where you crawl through dungeons and beat your enemies with tactical use of specialized spells is new ground for action RPGs and has a lot of potential as a concept, so it’s too bad that Everland: Unleash The Magic is a badly botched attempt to be that game. While a tablet or even a gamepad might help to mitigate the headache, Everland: Unleash The Magic is still too far from functional to really recommend.
The promise of a 3D action RPG where you play as a resourceful magic-using character is almost immediately broken by a motion sickness-inducing camera, unintuitive controls, and frustrating combat.