Monday, April 19, 2021

Evercade Retro Handheld Console Review: Handheld Gaming Joy

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It’s a good mix of classics and obscure games that ran on a wide variety of consoles, including the NES, SNES, Sega Genesis (Mega Drive), and Mattel Intellivision. You miss the feel and layout of the original controllers, but a firmware update now lets you remap buttons in some titles; I haven’t encountered any issues with the custom layouts.

There are a few old 8-bit Atari titles here that are probably best forgotten, but the organized approach encourages you to try out every game. Looking for familiar favorites is part of the fun, but there are several titles that I didn’t recognize. until the loading screen and the music sparked a dose of nostalgia.

I do not especially miss physical medium, but sliding the Evercade cartridges into place is undeniably satisfying. And I especially like that each game collection comes with its own case, artwork, and a little color booklet with a brief history of each game. Sometimes having an endless list of games, as you usually do with emulators, can cause you to skip unfamiliar titles or get stuck in choice paralysis. It’s easier to avoid when swapping cartridges with the Evercade.

My favorites are Galaga and Pac-Man– my kids spent hours trying to beat my best score. The vanished but not forgotten beat-’em-up genre is well represented with the Double Dragon series, Iron Commando, Splatterhouse 3, and the hilariously bad Two raw guys. And there is a lot of platforming fun with Jim earthworm, run with Checkered flagand adventure with the Vertiginous series.

Photography: Evercade

The biggest downside is the lack of multiplayer support, which is a shame when there are games like Clayfighter and Double Dragon II. The company could tackle this problem soon; he recently teased Evercade VS, a way to potentially play multiplayer games on the system, released April 23.

Does anyone want to watch you? Sharing the screen is tricky, because if you tilt the Evercade too much, the screen can be difficult to see. We had the most fun when I plugged it into the TV, but had to buy an HDMI to mini HDMI cable to do this (make sure you get a long one). The console then simply turns into a controller. Many games are surprisingly good on a 65-inch screen, but a few titles like Electro Cop cause headaches.

For all players

The Evercade is better than most retro mini consoles and supports a much more eclectic game collection. It’s polished, delivers a big screen experience, and is relatively affordable, even with the price of an HDMI cable and extra cartridges factored in. As my house has proven, there is fun here for players of all ages.

It’s not just nostalgia. Real care and attention has gone into the design, with love and respect for the retro games that show up.

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