Instead of niching to handhelds, they have now moved into the world of home consoles allowing the retro gaming scene to be even more inclusive in a world when modern games are coming out left right and centre.
The Evercade VS starts at £89.99 and will officially release towards December/January. But lucky for us the Evercade team have nicely sent over an early review unit to test and more importantly show the Retro Dodo readers.
So, let’s jump into the review!
Evercade VS Specifications
- 1.5Ghz quad-core processor.
- 512MB DRAM.
- 4GB internal storage.
- 4x USB ports for controllers (up to four players supported) with support for third party controllers.
- HDMI output with 1080p resolution (cable not provided)
- Updated UI with resolution options (4:3, Pixel Perfect, Full Screen)
- Library and visual save states.
- Built in WiFi for easy updates and future network enabled features.
- Dual Cartridge slot for expanded library.
- 5V micro USB power (cable provided, power adapter not included)
First off, I have to shine light on the fact that the team have done an incredible job on the retail packaging. It’s exciting, filled with colours and has a very pleasant unboxing experience which you can see from our video in this article.
It comes layered so every time you pull something out, there’s something else waiting to surprise you underneath.
We have the premium pack which also includes two games cartridges, one being the Dataeast Arcade 1 Collection, and the other being the Technos Arcade 1 collection, both featuring some of the best retro games of all time.
Also in the box you’ll find the console itself, two controllers and a Micro USB to USB connector for power (not USB-C which is disappointing). Unfortunately, you won’t get a HDMI cable either, so you’ll have to buy one yourself, or use one lying around the house.
So, let’s take a look at the console itself. Upon first holding this thing I did notice how light it was and it uses similar plastic to the original Evercade, which as you know from our review I didn’t really like as it feels quite flimsy and cheap, but that said it’s probably why Blaze Entertainment can price this product so affordably.
If they were to use high quality plastic throughout their whole product, it’s likely we’d see a hefty price bump.
The design of the console itself is very sleek. It’s a slim device, with a grill on top for aesthetic purposes, a chunky on/off button which feels absolutely incredible when pressed, and towards the front you’ll find the large dual cartridge slot that hides under a flap to keep the Evercade VS looking modern and streamlined.
When opened you will see the two cartridge slots which slide into a red base. Like the previous Evercade this cartridge slot has no feedback, or click noise when you insert a game, which in all honesty is a little disappointing.
Instead of it slotting in like the retro cartridges of the past, these seem to scrape in with no noise, and then has this soft, dull, silent slide when it’s finally in. I wish that it made some kind of noise or had nostalgic feedback like the good ol’ days.
But anyway, the dual cartridge slot is perfect for you to load two games, this saves you time, and it will show all of your games in the library, even if you have just one cartridge inserted.
When you turn it on, you will notice that the console has a light bar that goes across the face off the device, this lights up multicoloured when loading up, and then sits at a strong, branded red that looks awesome when playing at night. This adds a nice modern touch to the device and gives it some nice character too.
Below that is your four USB controller ports, this obviously attaches to your Evercade VS controller and it also allows you to connect other USB controllers. But be warned, you may have some mapping issues on other USB controllers, this could be patched out in the future, but as of now there’s still some minor issues.
Then finally on the back you have your reset button, HDMI out and your Micro-USB port for charging.
Overall the console itself looks really trendy. The white gives it that modern, clean look and with the addition of the branding, logos, and awesome clunky on/off switch it sits nicely in any modern or retro games room.
Now moving over to the controllers. The controllers have a very long 2m red USB cable that’s enough to reach your couch if playing in a large living room.
It has this boxy retro aesthetic to it, and they’ve added light grey detailing to the controller to again, give it a nostalgic look. It reminds me of the Evercade handheld.
All of the buttons are placed nicely on the face of the controller, and for someone who has large hands, everything just fits.
The DPAD is very chunky, but it’s actually one of my favourite features of the Evercade VS. Because of the thickness, it allows me to be incredibly precise even if it means there’s a lot of travel on my thumb.
On top you will find your four shoulder buttons which protrude out of the back of the controller to give your hands a better grip. These shoulder buttons are okay, they have very little feedback and feel a little stale, but it’s nice that they made the back ones a bit larger to increase comfortability.
Now that I think of it I probably would have likely to see them be flared, or slightly angled at the back, there’s no real point in having really small shoulder buttons, bigger is better in my opinion, but that’s just a personal taste.
The modern console design, teamed with an awesome looking controller allows the Evercade VS to be a very attractive console when placed next to many others that has been released over the years, and due to it’s small size it can fit in large gaming rooms or even on your desk tucked away.
Blaze have done a good job, there’s definitely places that need some more love when it comes to design, but again for £89.99, it’s hard to be strict with this console.
When you boot up the console, and manage to stop looking at the beautiful mutlicoloured lights on the front, you will be greeted with the dashboard, and if you have your two cartridges inserted you’ll see your library of games sitting there, waiting to be played with.
The first thing I did was I jumped into the settings and was impressed with the amount of customisation you can do to your menus and games. For example, you can change aspect ratio, you can add scan lines to your games, and even customize the bezels too.
The Evercade VS does have WiFi which is exclusively used to update your console on the go, but unfortunately won’t allow you to play online with friends, yet.
The menu system is easy to use, and user interface itself kinda leads you into your library, allowing you to focus on what games you have in your collection and what you want to play.
When you press on a game, it will load up a menu that offers information about the game, for example when it was made, who by, a look at the box art and information on how to play the game alongside controls.
This simple layout makes it easier for newcomers to understand too, so if you’re buying this for someone who has no experience with retro games, they’ll have a blast siving through the library and learning about them before they play.
And that’s what I really love about these Evercade products is that they make retro gaming simple, and fun allowing all ages to enjoy them, from young children to us old folk who have been playing these games for many ,many years.
The gaming experience itself is flawless, and for someone who has played around with a lot of emulators in my time, this feels really natural as if i’ve gone back 20 or 30 years and somehow managed to have a giant HD TV to play on.
The Evercade VS outputs it into native 1080p resolutions and the quad core 1.5ghz processor inside allows this emulation to be as close to the real thing as possible.
Throughout our review process we didn’t experience one crash, and we’ve played it for many, many days, I didn’t even notice any issues with audio or frame rate drops either!
I know the Evercade’s giant 260 game library doesn’t require huge processing power and some of the best Evercade games are absolute bangers but it’s still impressive to know that it’s a console to rely on, and knowing from the second you turn it on, you’re going to have no problems at all with gameplay quality.
If you press the menu option in game it will open up the menu, this lets you save, load games, change controls and change up the display settings mid game too.
The save/load options are a great addition to retro games, as previously it was near impossible to save where you last were, but this feature saves the exact frame you left off. This again, makes it more enjoyable for newcomers, allowing them to take as many or as little lives as possible when playing through their favourite games.
It’s just a simple, easy to use uer interface that makes it a real pleasure to boot up.
Overall, the Evercade VS is a great way to play your retro games in cartridge format, and that alone brings the possibility of trading cartridges with your friends, having a more physical approach in such a fast pacd digital world, and it even allows you to read the manuals!
I haven’t seen a game with proper reading manuals in years!
I really like the Evercade VS, it’s doing great things for the retro community and because of the price tag, I can be a bit more lenient with the build quality of the product too.
Evercade has a lot more games coming out in the near future and you can if you have the handheld, it’s easy to use the cartridge on both console and handheld format.
The only thing to consider is that Evercade may never get the official licenses for larger Nintendo and SEGA games from the past, so even though there’s a large selection, it may not have the games you want to play, but I can assure you you’ll find something you love within their library.
It’s an affordable, legitimate way to get back into retro gaming, and because they’ve made it so easy and fluid to use, it opens itself up to all ages, for an affordable price and that I can get behind.