indie heroes 2 evercade

Evercade’s Indie Heroes 2 Puts the Spotlight on Creativity Within Constraints

These days, the Evercade game library’s depth and variety are starting to rival many of the full libraries of the consoles the platform emulates. The latest cart, Indie Heroes 2, is a great example of that, showcasing creativity and variety from a slate of hobbyist developers. Want to know more? Hey, great! Conveniently we have more article to read if you just keep scrolling a little bit.

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The Evercade Indie Heroes Collection 2 cartridge compiles games that appeared on the Evercade VS as monthly bonuses. While that was a nice little digital treat, Evercade fans (and the games’ developers) probably appreciate the more permanent physical nature of a cartridge release. (Also, it’s entirely possible that this was the plan all along? In which case the Game of the Month thing seems like savvy marketing.)

Our favorite title in the bunch might be Lowtek Games’ Tapeworm Disco Puzzle. In this game, you’re extending and maneuvering a worm to collect various items. It felt a lot like Blazing Rangers without the time pressure. And in a compilation with nearly a dozen options for action? It was nice to catch our breath and think through solutions.

While all the games have ended up on the Evercade, they were built for a variety of retro platforms. This includes two Game Boy titles: Lunar Journey and Gelatinous: Humanity Lost. These especially test the creators’ ability to build within constraints, as already-limiting old console specs are about as simple as they can get on the venerable green-tinged brick. Lunar Journey is essentially a point-and-click adventure. In it, you find items to solve whimsical problems and let you progress on your mission to collect resources on the moon. Gelatinous is a platformer with some real Metroid II vibes, in terms of ability acquisition, level design and Game Boy-era “cinematic” presentation.

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On the other end of things, no included title pushes visuals as much as Eyra, The Crow Maiden. Which is weird, given the game’s origins! What was once an NES project also saw ports to 16-bit systems through crowdfunding stretch goals, and the Genesis build is what appears in this collection. We suppose this meant the focus really was on the visual differences. The result is a very saturated, detailed world for some very classic-feeling platforming. It’s interesting to see a game look like this but deliver more plodding, NES-style movement and attacks! It worked enough for us, though.

The game count gets a little fuzzy with the inclusion of the Cowlitz Gamers Adventure and Gruniożerca trilogies. These two “games” from developers Lukasz Kur and M-Tee each offer a variety of experiences within the same shared theme and world. We’re particularly fond of the second and third Gruniożerca games! These are two very different approaches to block traversal puzzles. You hop around as a guinea pig, placing and removing limited blocks in 2 and stepping on them a certain number of times in 3. The Cowlitz games are screen-based collection platformers, with the scale and co-op approach of the last two feeling quite Bubble Bobble-like.

It will surprise absolutely no one to learn that many people who love retro games enough to make one of their own are big fans of Zelda. Two games in the collection, Anguna: Scourge of the Goblin King and Reknum Souls Adventure, seek to iterate on those sorts of ideas. Anguna takes the dungeon format and adds stats and experience. Reknum has a full Hyrule-esque overworld, as well as some side-scrolling sequences. If you’re more into the exploration and mysteries part of Zelda? Reknum has you covered. Less talking, more slashing? Try Anguna.

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Nix: The Paradox Relic could be of interest, too, which we’d quickly describe as NES Metroid starring the Star Fox cast. Also included in the collection are Nessy the Robot, Beer Slinger, and Yeah Yeah Beebiss II.

As with other Evercade carts, Indie Heroes 2 includes a full-color manual explaining the games’ basics and developer origins. With a pack like this, that’s especially nice! Often, knowing the story behind an indie new-retro game makes playing a lot more fun. Also, the extra bit of credit for the people who did all the hard work? It’s probably appreciated.

The Evercade Indie Heroes Collection 2 cartridge launches January 31, 2023. It joins a library of dozens of compilations for the platform. Want a closer look at those? Check out our Evercade archive.


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Graham Russell
Graham Russell, editor-at-large, has been writing about games for various sites and publications since 2007. He’s a fan of streamlined strategy games, local multiplayer and upbeat aesthetics. He joined Siliconera in February 2020, and served as its Managing Editor until July 2022. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.