Port roundup: Evergate, Anna’s Quest & 1976: Back to Midway

Time to highlight a trio of recently released games that were previously available on other system. Evergate just launched for the PlayStation 5, while Anna’s Quest and 1976: Back to Midway return on the PS4 and on PlayStation VR.

Evergate review (PS5)

Evergate launched on most systems late last year, with versions for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X and the Nintendo Switch already out there. It’s finally come to PlayStation as well, although initially only for Sony’s new next gen console. It’s a wonderful and hauntingly beautiful platformer, and a great addition to the library.

In Evergate, you play as a lost spirit called Ki, traversing your memories using an “Evergate” that lets you navigate the spirit world in your quest to try and be reborn in the physical world. Each completed stage unlocks more of your past memories, which also reveals the narrative of your past life and those you spent it with. Though well delivered with some beautiful animation, the writing isn’t spectacular and this is a game that places gameplay on the forefront.

Gameplay-wise, Evergate features a novel new mechanic where Ki gets to operate a beam of light that helps you activate triggers within each level. You can do this in the middle of a jump for hard to reach objects as well, and the game will go into slo-mo mode to allow for this. Ultimately you want to reach each level’s exit using these, but it’s often easier said than done. Your beam doesn’t just have to pass through the trigger object, it also has to hit a specially charged block or element in the process – careful aiming is of the essence.

evergate2

When you line up your beam, a special effect is triggered – launching you into the air, teleporting you or otherwise letting you traverse the level. Because triggers vanish after each use, this requires careful planning and in some cases a lot of restarts. Different triggers work in different ways, and there’s plenty of diversity throughout the campaign, which keeps things fresh. You can also find (hard to reach) upgrades in certain levels, but because they’re optional you can always decide to head back later rather than go for them straight away. Tight controls ensure that, although challenging, Evergate always feels fair, so frustration should be a rare occurrence.

Visually, Evergate feels like the closest we’ve gotten to getting an Ori game on the Playstation platform. Ki’s spirit world has been gorgeously realized and the soundtrack is wonderful – sometimes reminding you of being inside a fairytale-like dark ride at an amusement park with its dreamlike melodies. If you like puzzle platformers and didn’t pick this one up on another platform last year, then we heavily recommend Evergate.

Anna’s Quest review (PS4)

In the past year we’ve seen a number of older PC titles grace consoles, and that has included some of Daedalic’s classic adventure games. We received the Deponia trilogy back in 2019, but more recently we covered their two adventure games based on the The Dark Eye. Now, console players get to finally try Anna’s Quest, a gorgeous point and click adventure that was one of Daedalic’s last before the company went in a different direction.

Anna’s Quest was inspired by the classic fairytales, with Anna as a young girl who lives with her grandfather in a world that’s wonderfully realized with cartoon-like graphics – something that was pioneered by King’s Quest VII: The Princeless Bride back in 1994 but shined in full HD glory here. When Anna’s grandfather falls ill, she has to venture out and find a cure, leaving her protected life behind her.

anna's quest

The adventure that follows feels like a mashup of different fairytales and legends, full of witches, trolls and magicians. It’s a fairly straightforward narrative where you progress through scenes by finding and combining objects and talking to NPC characters, all of which are fully voiced and well realized. This is true from both the writing sense (taking inspiration from classic friends and foes in fairytales) and from an animation perspective, making Anna’s Quest a pleasure to both play and watch.

The gameplay itself is relatively unremarkable in comparison to the audiovisual presentation, with a narrative that progresses in a mostly linear fashion and the usual sequences of finding and combining inventory objects to progress. Aside from a few moments where you randomly try to click and combine items, or have to revisit an older problem when you finally find that missing item, Anna’s Quest lets you enjoy the story first and foremost. It definitely feels like a classic point and click adventure on the PC, but because of that it’s a lovely change of pace on the PlayStation 4.

1976: Back to Midway is now available on PSVR

We’ve covered 1976: Back to Midway before when it arrived on the Quest, and now Ivanovich Games has launched their port of the game for PlayStation VR users. Priced at $19.99 / €19.99, it’s identical to the Quest release in terms of content, and offers the same retro-inspired gameplay. That means you get classic arcade shooter action that is based on the Capcom classic 1942 and its sequels, as well as special immersion zones that take you into a first person perspective for a short period.

1976

Gamepad controls with a DualShock feel closer to the arcade experience than the Touch controllers did on the Oculus Quest, especially when playing the majority of the game in its ‘flat screen’ traditional arcade mode. The game performs well on PlayStation VR, and we thought it’s the best looking of all of the Ivanovich Games titles released thus far. If you like their ‘retro-VR’ approach, you should consider adding this one to your collection as well.

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