Evercade Review

Evercade Review

Handheld hardware done well

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Opinions on

I've been wanting to try Evercade for a while and I finally got my hands on one so here are my thoughts on this new yet retro console.

Photo of the Evercade console
You may have to squint if you want to play Evercade on a sunny day

Games

Of course, the most important aspect about any console is its library of games and the Evercade certainly has a vast collection of compilations already from licensed publishers such as Atari, Namco, Data East, Interplay, Mega Cat Studios, Piko Interactive, Technōs, The Oliver Twins, Jaleco, and more. Each cartridge contains a number games that ranges anywhere from 2 to 20 and needless to say, the quality ranges quite a lot as well. One thing that disappointed me almost immediately is that these games are not ports of arcade games even though the name Evercade may lead you to believe that they are. Instead, these collections contain console games that were originally released on systems such as Atari 2600, NES, Sega Genesis, and Super Nintendo. With that being said, I'm impressed so far with the amount of surprisingly fun hidden gems in these compilations which helps alleviate some of the disappointment.

Now that you have a general idea of what sort of games are available for Evercade via its many compilations, I plan on eventually reviewing every single collection as they release so be sure to check back regularly for more Evercade game coverage.

Evercade Game Reviews

Hardware

As a handheld console, Evercade is one of the most comfortable portable systems that I've ever played. Holding it is akin to using a Super NES controller albeit less rounded and larger. Also, the buttons are all laid out nicely with the D-pad being particularly comfortable and the shoulder buttons make little mouse-clicking sounds which is a nifty touch. My only complaint is that I have big thumbs so I accidentally pressed the Start button a few times while playing which is inconveniently located to the bottom-right of the face buttons.

Another touch I appreciate is that the cartridges are designed to fit flush with the back of the console once inserted and they have the title on the back which makes it easy to see which game is in your console without sticking out like a sore thumb.

When it comes to ports, the Evercade has a standard headphone jack, a Micro-B USB port for charging and updating firmware, and a Mini (Type C) HDMI port to connect the console to a TV or monitor. I didn't even know there were different sizes of HDMI connectors so I had to purchase an adapter just so I could take screenshots and record footage which was kind of a bummer. Anyway, there's also a simple on/off switch and volume buttons although there is no onscreen volume indicator which would have been cool.

Evercade main game menu screenshot
The menus are utilitarian but they get the job done

The first thing that I noticed while navigating Evercade's menus is that the A and B buttons are swapped both literally and functionally when compared to the Nintendo Switch. Considering Switch is my primary portable console nowadays, I find it tricky to remember that the bottom face button is confirm and that the right one is cancel. Sometimes, I'd even tap B then wonder why a game isn't loading.

This quibble aside, there are essentially 3 menus: the main game menu that shows basic information and a couple images for each game as you flip through them, the main options menu which allows you to set up screen ratio and brightness, and an in-game menu that lets you load and save states and tinker with certain settings such as being able to map Sega Genesis game button layouts differently.

Emulation

So far, I haven't experienced any substantial emulation issues, especially after updating the firmware to version 1.3.1. In fact, I'm quite impressed with how the folks at Evercade are actually releasing firmware updates that not only help with the overall quality of every game but also contain game-specific patches in order to remedy any glitches or emulation issues. Seeing how active the Evercade community is and how attentive its team of developers appear to be, even if a game isn't emulated perfectly, you can probably count on a firmware update rectifying that at some point down the road. In other words, I'm rather confident in Evercade's emulation capabilities.

Photo of the Evercade Premium Pack
If you want an Evercade, the Premium Pack is the way to go

Overall, I'm mostly happy with what Evercade has to offer. With that in mind, I hope that arcade games will eventually come to the console and that firmware updates will continue to roll out to improve the overall experience. Have you tried the Evercade? What are your thoughts on this retro handheld console? Are there any collections that you'd recommend? Let's chat below!

Gameplay video playlist for Evercade Premium Pack thumbnail
Gameplay video playlist for Evercade Premium Pack 66:31
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