evercade 2024 cartridges goodboy galaxy

Latest Evercade Cartridges Span Decades of Nostalgia

Blaze Entertainment’s Evercade platform keeps on going, holding true (so far) to its promise to support its hardware releases with a library of cross-compatible cartridges. We’re taking a look at the most recent suite of carts, giving you the lowdown on what they offer and who should consider them.

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Indie Heroes Collection 3

Always a highlight of the library, the Indie Heroes Collection installments batch together recently-developed retro games that cameo as a downloaded Game of the Month on the systems in the preceding year. A weird inclusion this time: Bubble Seahorse Adventures, which runs natively and sets off all sorts of uncanny valley signals in our brains when we see it running on a platform for retro games. Native ports can work well on the platform, when done right (like Cathedral), but this one feels off.

One of our favorites is Bone Marrow, which takes a very mobile-like slide puzzle and puts a fantasy dungeon-crawling skin atop it. Also a joy is Big2Small. In that game, you use the D-pad to slide animals until they hit an obstacle, using them as aids for each other to guide them each to particular squares. Generally, this cartridge works to mitigate the Evercade’s biggest weakness, which is slower-paced, thoughtful games. And we approve wholeheartedly.

Fans of the single-player puzzles of ChuChu Rocket! should check out the similarly-named Chew Chew Mimic, and VS owners can have some fun with friends in Chibi Monster Br4wl. For a full list of inclusions, you can check out the official Evercade page.

The C64 Collection 3

We’ll admit to having less of a nostalgia for the Commodore 64, as American console-heads, but the love and attention that Blaze is giving to the platform is enviable. This third collection adds 13 more games, including ones as well-known as Boulder Dash and as obscure as… Break Dance? The latter’s a strange inclusion on the surface, but it’s one of the first attempts at rhythm gaming and has a Space Channel 5-like repeat-after-me structure.

The Commodore 64 doesn’t make for the most natural fit here — you’ll have to use a virtual keyboard sometimes — but it definitely could be worse. If you’re new to a game, though, we strongly recommend a thorough reading of its section of the manual to explain what’s going on and how to control it. More than consoles, these computer games assume you’ll do that and don’t bother explaining things on-screen.

Duke Nukem Collections 1 & 2

If you paid any attention at all to the Evercade platform before this article, you probably know about these two Duke Nukem compilations. Launched alongside a commemorative version of the VS, they pull together titles from the franchise’s long history. Collection 1 is built around Duke Nukem 1+2 Remastered, a native port for Evercade of the original side-scrollers, and also adds Duke Nukem 3D: Total Meltdown, the FPS’ PS1 port, for variety.

The second collection has some deeper cuts. Time to Kill and Land of the Babes are PlayStation games with a third-person perspective and a lot of nods to Tomb Raider. Duke Nukem Advance is more of a technological marvel than anything else, getting the full 3D FPS experience up and running on the Game Boy Advance. It remixes a lot of Duke 3D assets to do its own thing, and… just don’t play this one on the VS. Your fun with this in 2024 is inversely proportional to the screen size you play it on.

Demons of Asteborg / Astebros

We think the Evercade is at its best when it’s showcasing labors of love that wouldn’t usually otherwise carve out a spot on your shelf, and these indie two-packs do that well. Demons of Asteborg is a modern Sega Genesis action-adventure game, with exploration and platforming elements along the way. The animation is smooth and impressive, making for a game that makes you double-check whether it can actually run on original hardware. (Yep, it can!) Along with the gorgeous visuals comes a level of difficulty that is no joke. Perhaps understandably, it’s built for an audience that’s loved action games for decades and played the old ones so much that they needed something new.

Astebros, the included semi-sequel, ratchets down the barrier of entry a few notches, thankfully. It also brings in co-op and roguelike elements, and polishes some of the controls to feel more like its new-retro brethren. You can choose from three characters with different styles, and it’s an especially good time with an Evercade VS, a friend and some snacks. More than anything else in this lineup, this could lure in a pal who usually isn’t down to play older releases.

Goodboy Galaxy / Witch ‘n Wiz

Witch ‘n Wiz is an NES block-pushing puzzle game in the vein of Lolo or Sokoban. Your goal is to defeat all the monsters by moving to the same square. There’s lots of failure states, so there are two previous buttons dedicated to undoing and resetting the board. It’s very much a game about gravity; pushing blocks off platforms and destroying temporary supports is part of every solution, but you have to collect things in the right order.

Goodboy Galaxy, a newly-developed GBA platformer, stars a space-pup wandering about and retrieving gadgets and apps to unlock new abilities. The animation in the game nails a very GBA-specific brand of adorable. The environments are bright and colorful, if a bit utilitarian at the expense of world-building; you’ll find gameplay challenge, if not a believable biome. Also the dog is very good!

One cool thing about this release: it includes physical goodies! There are Goodboy Galaxy stickers and a hand-drawn guide map for Witch ‘n Wiz. We imagine this is the sort of thing that comes and goes based on Blaze’s profit margins for a given release, but we like seeing ‘em.

Evercade cartridges work on the Evercade EXP handheld, Evercade VS home system and even the budget-line Hyper Mega Tech! Super Pocket models. For more coverage of the platform, check out our archive.


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Author
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.