Evenicle is a role playing game where the protagonist isn’t actually Eve. The protagonist of this story is an earnest rule-abiding knight named Asterisk. While Aster will sound different from his Rance counterpart, mainly based on the fact that he’s law-abiding, both characters are motivated by women. Aster’s actions are motivated by him wanting to fuck more women, legally, which takes him on a quest to get more wives by growing as a knight.
With the exception of knights, a person in Mother Eve’s world can have a sole partner. Breaking this rule makes the person an outlaw who’s lost Eve’s blessing. That’s the motivation behind Aster’s quest as a knight. Which, honestly, gave a good incentive as I was wondering about who I will marry next as I advanced through the game. The act of gaining access to more wives could be thought of as something akin to being blocked from progressing to a different room until you beat some monsters. Simply put, you grow up as a knight to fuck more women. Getting more wives being a reward is a simple result of the rules of Mother Eve’s world. The value of the reward comes from it being impossible otherwise. This is nothing new to eroge in general, as you have to progress through the story to get to the point where you can have your partner’s virginity, unless otherwise.
Earlier this year, I read a moege titled Fureraba where I stopped reading the moment I got to sleep with the girl I was interested in. That was a direct result of me reaching my goal and since I had everything I wanted; that was it for me. Moreover, this wasn’t being helped by there being no point in going forward. The point at which a story ends is important and Evenicle, thankfully, avoided the dreaded “it should’ve ended long ago” statement. Evenicle keeps giving you goals other than marrying, and keeps showing you women who you will look forward to marrying. Essentially, Evenicle avoids stagnation through rules that make whatever you do rewarding.
Generally speaking, you fight monsters in JRPGs to level up, and you level up to become stronger, thus making your progress through the story easier. This imposed rule is what makes fighting monsters worthwhile. For a while just getting stronger with each level will be enough to keep the player engaged, keeping the battle system quality secondary thereby allowing for it to be introduced properly before it’s needed. Similarly, giving the players manageable goals where they feel rewarded for accomplishing them, will give the plot a larger room to develop without having to start from act 2 to keep engagement.
The previous explanation is important in understanding how Evenicle was designed. The rules of Mother Eve’s world were built to make the mundane rewarding and to make everything valuable. For example, if you were to meet a girl in every chapter where they join your party, it will just be mundane. While I understand that, to many, getting to travel with a cute girl is anything but mundane, it won’t feel special after the second or third joins your party. On the other hand, in the same way where adding a limit on your party members forces you to consider who to take with you, having a limit on partners makes the thing special as getting more is suddenly an achievement.
Therefore, limitations are crucial to a game. You can’t be rewarded for something easy with something available in excess. The reverse is also true as you shouldn’t be rewarded with something significant for something easy. in fact, you should never be rewarded with something that feels worthless.
Evenicle is built around limitations or rules if you will, and those limitations – and gameplay systems- are all part of the universe and apply to all making them fair. This relates to a post I want to write on RPG systems where I will be comparing Evenicle to a few other RPGs in a rant style post, please look forward to that.
Anyhow, this whole incentive and reward business relates to Evenicle’s writing in world-building and story-telling.
To begin with, keeping the reader busy, as alluded to before, will give more time for the story to build itself. This means that the action doesn’t need to be grand, for a while at least, and you don’t have to show the scale of the conflict from the get go. You can build them slowly, where they will feel real. I wouldn’t say that Evenicle is lacking in action in the first chapters, by the way, but it definitely uses the time provided through the characters having their own personal motivations as means of avoiding ” Aster O’chosen one the time has cometh for you to save the world” to get you invested in the world and to build it enough for you to want to keep it. That didn’t stop me from rooting for the main villain, but that’s far from being an execution problem and is a story for another time (I want to win smh). Moreover, I wouldn’t call the adventure of Evenicle a “save the world adventure” honestly. Evenicle is story of warfare, where you understand all the possible forms of war that don’t involve two armies marching against one another.
Aside from Evenicle’s discussion of the multiple forms of propaganda, it does include a few interesting tidbits on money and controlling people’s destinies. which were, along with the game’s main theme, brilliantly executed. All of this worked because the game took its time to explain the world and all the concepts that relate to that, using the small tasks and rewards to keep you invested. Speaking of good things, let’s get back to the wives.
Sadly, the wives weren’t good. The character writing in Evenicle is really simple. It’s nothing special. It’s not bad, but there’s nothing deep or interesting about the cast and it just makes all of them easily forgettable, aside from the greatest protag Aster. Your favorite wife boils down to stereotype preference. I like Riche just because I like ojousamas in general. They had to be simple characters for a few things to work but I can’t help but want more.
I actually want to avoid talking about the things I didn’t like about Evenicle, and some of the dialogue was so brilliant it would be unfair to talk about the lows of that.
Evenicle is a game that’s well-made. There are points where the game reaches the peak of good design and has points where it just falls flat all over its face in terms of dialogue. To most, those do not eliminate one another, but it still feels like Evenicle could’ve been more or better. That being said, Evenicle is everything I wanted it to be and I enjoyed every single second playing through it.