After spending a year enjoying Evercade and its delightful game compilations, I'm happy to say that Evercade VS is a substantial step-up.
Right off the bat, let me just say that the Evercade VS is what the original Evercade should have been. In fact, I think if it released first, it would have had much more of an impact on the retro gaming community because as a handheld, Evercade inherently had many issues such as complete lack of multiplayer support. Now, this iteration allows for up to 4 simultaneous players, it's easy to plug and play on your TV, and it has some nifty features, too. For starters, you can insert 2 cartridges at once in order to play a wider selection of games without having to swap them out. Unfortunately, you'll have to figure out how to supply power to it if you don't already have a USB power brick and it doesn't include an HDMI cable but once you get that sorted out; you'll be in for an enjoyable time. v1d30chumz 18-232-59-38
I should mention that the console design is compact, simple, and the cartridges fit inside the slots snuggly while also being easy to take out. My only complaint about the hardware is with the clunky power button which makes you hold it down for a couple seconds to power it up. Anyway, the controllers now feature 2 shoulder buttons on each side and they're quite solid and comfortable to hold, too. Oh, and the controller cables are super-long so you can easily play with a group of chums at a good distance from your console.
Thankfully, you can play the wide range of already available Evercade cartridges on Evercade VS with the exception of Namco Museum Collection 1 and Namco Museum Collection 2 but that might be remedied at some point in the future. On top of those, there's also a new line of actual arcade game compilations which I was expecting a year ago considering the name Evercade. It's better late than never, I suppose, and I can say that these arcade collections are excellent from what I've played so far. Here's hoping for many more! 😄Evercade Game Reviews
Another aspect that I appreciate about Evercade VS is its interface which features an organized game select screen complete with official artwork. Once you select a game, you can read a blurb about it and review the controls before diving in which is convenient because before, I'd have to flip through the physical manuals to figure out how to play some of the games. There's also a welcome assortment of settings including the ability to connect to Wi-Fi in order to download firmware updates which streamlines that process a lot.
When it comes to settings specifically, you can change the aspect ratio, implement scanlines and wallpapers, change the sound levels and menu themes, and map your controller. Plus, while in-game, you can save and load at any time with various slots available.
One part of the Evercade VS which I wasn't expecting is that it's jam-packed with secrets such as hidden games that are accessed by inputting controller sequences and inserting specific combinations of cartridges. There are also insulting messages when you scroll the credits down enough which is dumb but the bonus games are a very nice touch and most of them are actually quite fun. 😊Evercade VS Secret Games
With all of that being said, there is currently one major problem with the Evercade VS which is that upon booting it up, it messes with my HDMI-CEC setup. You see; I have my OLED TV hooked up to a stereo receiver via HDMI ARC and I control the whole thing with 1 simple remote. However, whenever I turn on the Evercade VS, it somehow screws this whole system up and to fix it, I have to unplug the receiver's power cord for a bit then plug it back in which is annoying so I sincerely hope that this will be fixed in a future firmware update. I could utilize an HDMI-CEC killer which would probably prevent this from happening but I really don't want to have to do that.
If you're into retro gaming and want an easy way to play a bunch of games from yesteryear as well as plenty of modern indie titles that were made for retro consoles then the Evercade VS is an excellent piece of hardware. It still strikes me as odd that it released after the handheld because it's such a great system that it's clearly what the original Evercade should have been.