Amid Evil is the latest game in a recent trend of recreating those shooters from the 90s and while many have failed to figure how to recreate a game from that era while maintaining some modern advances, others have succeeded. Amid Evil deliciously succeeds in recapturing the spirit of those classic shooters.
Fantasy isn’t usually a setting most shooters but developers Indefatigable aren’t one to be dissuaded. The first level of the game starts you off, axe in hand, overlooking a mysterious temple as sword wielding goons immediately rush out the temple to poke some holes in you. Amid Evil sets its tone immediately and when you think you’ve seen everything the game has to offer the next episode hits you with another surprise.
Amid Evil is dripping in personality, with each stage looking wildly its own while still keeping to an overall aesthetic. From the Lovecraftian castles of the second episode to the trippy architecture of the recently released episode “The Arcane Expanse”, there’s always something exciting and new to see in this game. Besides doing this visually, there are little tidbits of lore to read spread around each level that just add to the ambience. Unfortunately, the font, and color of the font in particular, clash horribly with the game’s levels that sometimes make the words you’re reading a bit difficult to read and hard on the eyes. Some sort of faded black background around the text when it appears would definitely help make this stuff easier to read. Another annoyance is how sometimes when you look at a lore inscription, the words won’t even pop up on-screen until you’ve practically shoved your nose right on the wall. Inscriptions on a high up arch in particular are difficult to read as you move around trying to find the exact spot the game wants you to be to read it.
Combat in Amid Evil is deliciously crunchy with weapons all having these super satisfying flourishes to them. Enemies as well explode into these wonderfully gory chunks when defeated and everything just has a very heavy metal vibe to it. Committing 100% to the aesthetic, you’ve even got weapons with names like AXE OF THE BLACK LABYRINTH or the CELESTIAL CLAW which is your rocket launcher stand-in but instead of rockets YOU SUMMON PLANETS AND THROW THEM AT PEOPLE. It’s all honestly super fucking rad and doing things like dealing extra damage to a defeated enemy with the electric trident called Voltride, causing them to explode, absolutely never gets old. Added on top of this is a meter you can charge with the souls of defeated enemies that once topped off will allow you to enter “soul mode” where your weapons unleash a new alternative fire mode such as the axe becoming a whirling dance of carnage.
What’s perhaps my favorite aspect of the game is how not only does each episode feature a suite of levels that look wholly unique, but they all also contain a cast of enemies that are not only visually unique to each episode, but also function differently from enemies in other episodes. You’re never sure how each new enemy is going to behave until they’re mercilessly rushing you and that constant freshness is something you don’t see very often in the genre.
Being still in early access it’s not surprising to see bugs, but when a game is relatively bug free through your time playing it, when those bugs do happen to appear it makes them stand out more. A few times I’ve had enemy models freeze in place, such as a golem frozen kneeling over to pick up a rock, but “invisibly” they were still going through their regular animations lobbing attacks my way and moving around. Perhaps the most glaring bug I encountered was an audio glitch that caused a sort of feedback from a busted speaker sound to originate from a point in the level, that got louder the closer I got to it.
Amid Evil is definitely a game to check out if you’ve been looking for another retro throwback that knows how to do it right. The game still has one episode left before its final release and normally I’d say wait for the official release of an early game to get it, but honestly what’s currently here with all six episodes is definitely worth the price of admission.