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Evernight - PC - Review

The first campaign came to a less-than-glorious ending. Imagine sharpened poles littering the landscape with bodies impaled upon them. That was all that was left of the kingdom.

But there will be other days, other campaigns to be fought and won or lost.

That is part of the charm of Evernight, an on-line strategy game from VR1. Evernight is capable of playing of either a Macintosh- or PC-based system, inside either Internet Explorer or Netscape browsers. It is turn-based, with players having to make moves during a day, and then all moves are actualized at night (early morning) as the game “ticks.” The next day you will see what your moves have cost or gained you.

The actual game is sort of like Risk, with the element of magic thrown in and some specialized rules pertaining to use of magic, building and attacking.

Graphically the game is simplistic. The game board is rendered as a flat, two-dimensional segmented map, with areas of control represented by various colors. Fortresses and temples appear as silhouetted structures against the map board. Should you cast a spell at the temple, and conjure up a special ally (like a dragon) that is superimposed over the structure.

Except for the cries of outrage and self-mockery from game players, there is no sound. Controls are accessed through buttons in sidebars along the game board. There is a tutorial for players not as familiar with the special rules, but if you find the right level game, you can jump in and go with little training.

So what is there to really recommend the game? It’s the actual playing wherein lies the charm. A game doesn’t begin until it is full. That means quite a number of other humans, all out to accomplish the same thing – rule the world. How do you do that? Conquer neighboring countries, gain treasure, build up your forces (lessers), employ magic (but only after gaining enough fury), and form alliances of convenience with neighbors. In an alliance, the idea is to gang up on the rest of the world (you communicate through in-game e-mail), and then battle it out when your alliance is all that’s left.

Of course the downside is that the e-mail system is often overlooked, and you may form an alliance with someone, who in turn has formed an alliance with several others, only to find yourself under attack from the surrogate alliance members because they don’t know about the alliance. Now, in all fairness, the alliance may have been communicated, but since no actual terms were discussed with others, they were free to attack when lulled into a position of false security.

The human element is definitely what makes this program sing. There is intrigue, strategy, some backstabbing (though not if a pact is in writing, a player can be severely ostracized for something like that), and unexpected consequences. Miss a couple of ticks and you are in deep trouble.  (Ticks in the review game were at 2 a.m. Monday through Friday mornings.) Commit yourself to a game, and you had better schedule 5-10 minutes each weekday to make your moves. Some games can last more than a month, so be prepared for some time commitment.

The game only allows one account per player, so you can’t have more than one character in a game, though you can compete in several different games simultaneously.

There is a cost for playing the game, and you can download the software from the site. There are games for any skill level.

Evernight is a solid strategy game. It succeeds because of those playing it. Those involved, at least in the review game, were intense, polite and helpful. No, they won’t give you a break, but they will share information.  No, Evernight won’t charm you with its graphics, but it will worm its way into your brain.

 

Install: Easy.
This is a quick download from the Internet site.

Gameplay: 7
It is turn-based strategy that is slow because it ‘ticks’ once a night. However that gives you all day to think about your moves. This is a cerebral exercise, not a game of quick reflexes.

Graphics: 6
Ok, they are not the best, but they do provide the elements that propel the game along nicely. And the player interface is nicely designed.

Sound: N/A
There is no sound in this game.

Difficulty: 8.5
The player interface and game rules are not that tough to understand, it is the variety of skills brought by the other players that make this challenging.

Concept: 7.5
This may seem like a simple game, but only because it is well designed.

Multiplayer: 9.5
This is the strength of the game. Because it is browser based, anyone with a connection to the Internet can play it.

Overall: 8
Evernight is exactly the kind of game the pure strategist online game player will find enjoyable. The conquest is number based, but it all comes down to alliances, territory gained and how you deploy units. Sitting back and waiting for the enemy to attack is a poor strategy, but then so is attacking without a plan.
 

Great

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