We all love a list, so every Tuesday we’re posting one, on a variety of retro-themed topics! Feel free to share your own favourites down below — and let us know what other lists you’d like to see on future Tuesdays!
We’re coming up on the end of the year, and so every gaming site under the sun is doing their “best of 2021” lists. So we thought we’d do our own little twist on that formula by taking a look at the complete library of Evercade games available as of the end of 2021, and picking out some of the best Evercade games.
Trouble is, across the 26 carts currently available for the Evercade as of the end of 2021, there are a lot of games to choose from. So we thought we’d split this feature into several parts, beginning this time around with the best Evercade games from the “red” (home console) series that actually released in 2021. That means games from cartridge number 15 (Jaleco Collection 1) up to cartridge number 22 (Bitmap Brothers Collection 1).
The next Evercade releases due to arrive are the Renovation Collection 1 and Gremlin Collection 1 cartridges, which will be joining us in March of 2022. So if you haven’t already got caught up with the rest of the Evercade’s substantial library, here are some great places to start — and, as always, this is far from an exhaustive list, so if you have your own favourites you want to share, please feel free to do so down in the comments!
Operation Logic Bomb
This game, found on the Jaleco Collection 1 cartridge, is a top-down shooter with a significant “adventure” aspect. In many ways, it feels like what would happen if you took a ’90s first-person shooter like Doom and depicted it from an overhead perspective.
There’s a strong sense of narrative progression, some really satisfying weapons to make use of, and some cool level design. This is definitely one you should make sure you spend some time with if you haven’t already.
The Ignition Factor
Another Jaleco Collection 1 title, The Ignition Factor is noteworthy simply for what an unusual game it is: we don’t see all that many firefighting games out there, likely because they’re challenging to get right.
The Ignition Factor certainly does get it right though, combining an action-adventure-style structure with exploration and puzzle elements to produce a challenging, memorable title — and one of the best Evercade games there is.
Top Racer 2
While for some players the strong emphasis on sports games found on the Piko Interactive 2 cartridge was a little disappointing, the inclusion of Kemco and Gremlin’s excellent vanishing point racer Top Racer 2 more than made up for it.
Based on Gremlin’s classic Lotus Turbo Challenge series, albeit without the licensed vehicles, Top Racer 2 is an absolute thrill ride for one or two players, offering a wealth of different tracks to challenge and plenty of longevity.
The Indie Heroes cart is filled with some of the best Evercade games, and Deadeus is a standout title. Unfolding as a narrative-centric horror adventure originally designed for the Game Boy, Deadeus features a fantastically unsettling narrative, well-designed visuals and a variety of possible conclusions to the story.
Be aware that pretty much everything you do in the game can have a consequence — and check out our guide if you’re stuck!
This superb puzzle-platformer is also part of the Indie Heroes cartridge, and it’s so delightfully addictive I suspect many players will happily romp through it in a single sitting — even with how challenging the later stages can be!
Featuring charming visuals, catchy music and some absolutely devious level design, Flea! is a fine example of what the best Evercade games are all about — satisfying, challenging action that you can have fun with either for a few minutes… or a few hours.
Worms Armageddon is a multiplayer classic with good reason — and its inclusion on the Worms Collection 1 cartridge for Evercade was very welcome indeed, particularly as it’s one of the only games where using the “wide” aspect ratio is actually desirable! Yes, indeed, it’s one of the few games from among the Evercade collection that actually has a full 16:9 mode.
As for the gameplay, it’s classic Worms turn-based action for between one and four players — and thanks to the “pass-and-play” nature of the game, you can even play it with friends using just the Evercade handheld. Gather around the TV with the VS for the true experience, though.
If you need an excuse to get everyone together around the TV this Christmas, Sensible Soccer, found on the Codemasters Collcection 1 cartridge, is probably your best bet. This classic sports title strikes that elusive balance between accessible arcade action and convincing soccer gameplay absolutely perfectly — so much so that you might even get the most resolute soccer-haters from among your family and friendship groups playing.
Sensible Soccer can be enjoyed on the Evercade handheld, but it’s one of the best Evercade games to enjoy on the TV through the VS system thanks to its multiplayer action. Be sure to customise all your player and team names for maximum fun.
Romeow and Julicat
Found on the Mega Cat Studios Collection 2 cartridge, Romeow and Julicat is a simple but enormously addictive puzzler that involves nothing more than trying to fit shapes onto a grid. Make a full line either horizontally or vertically and it disappears; get yourself into a position where you can’t place a piece and you have one opportunity to “bomb” the playfield before it’s all over!
Romeow and Julicat’s puzzling action makes it one of the best Evercade games to take on the go with the handheld, but its silly animations and colourful graphics make it a fun time on the VS, too.
This delightfully silly take on Qix, found on the Intellivision Collection 1 cartridge, is not only one of the best Evercade games to release in 2021, it’s also the first game to feature music by legendary composer George “The Fat Man” Sanger, who would go on to compose the scores for classics such as Wing Commander and The 7th Guest.
Thin Ice’s concept is simple — draw squares around the penguins to make them fall in the water — but its addictive nature will keep you coming back for more, providing ample proof that the Intellivision was more than capable of handling frantic arcade action as well as the more sedate, strategic affairs for which it primarily became known.
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
Even the most resolute sports-hater can probably get behind the idea of cyborgs punching one another in the nuts in the name of scoring points. Speedball 2 was a widely beloved game back when it was originally released, and it hasn’t lost any of its fun factor in its transition to the Bitmap Brothers Collection 1 cartridge for Evercade.
Play solo with the in-depth management mode, or take on a friend on the Evercade VS with the simultaneous multiplayer action — once you get over the initial learning curve with Speedball 2, there’s one of the best Evercade games to enjoy.
In the subsequent parts of this feature, we’ll look at the best games from the Evercade’s first year in the “Red” library, along with the greatest games from the new “Purple” library of arcade hits! In the meantime, let us know your favourites down in the comments!