Title – Eville
Platforms – Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PC (PS Platforms Later)
Release Date – October 11th, 2022
Developer – VestGames
Publisher – Versus Evil
MSRP – $14.99 (Day 1 on Game Pass)
ESRB – E for Everyone
Disclaimer – This product is being reviewed on the Xbox Series X. A review copy was provided by Versus Evil for the purpose of this review. Gaming Instincts is an Amazon Affiliate and does gain financial benefits if you choose to purchase this product on this page.
Eville is a brand new title from a new indie developer, VestGames, who decided to dive into what I’d like to personally call the “Super Sus,” otherwise known as the social deduction genre. Most people are familiar with Among Us, the first game that blew up in popularity and made you hate your friends forever. For those who don’t know, in social deduction games, the objective is to work with other players in your crew and find out who the impostor is. If the crewmates work well together and find the culprit, they win the game, or if the impostor kills enough people without being caught, they will claim victory instead. As you can imagine, there is a lot of lying, suspicion, and manipulation. Eville follows a similar premise, however, the gameplay mechanics are far more complex. The question is – just how different is Eville compared to other “Super Sus” games, and, most importantly, is it fun? Let’s join the other villagers or, perhaps, conspirators and find out. Welcome to our review of Eville.
The Gameplay and What’s Being Sus Is All About
Eville takes place in a peaceful medieval village where the conspirators are trying to murder innocent villagers and take the town for themselves. Each player is assigned a unique role as the game starts, but the kicker is no one knows who got assigned what. Another player could be pretending to be a cutesy honey bunny while killing people in their sleep. Or someone who seems suspicious can turn out to be a friend who’s on your side. There are many roles players can be assigned, including Citizen, Trapper, Guard, Mayor, Seer, Ghost Whisperer, Detective, Barbarian, Thief, Slanderer, and Smuggler.
What sets Eville apart from other titles in the genre are its mechanics. The game has quests, vendors, and even crafting mechanics that complement the core design. A typical match in Eville is divided into a day and night phase. During the day, players must complete quests to gain money to buy either craft potions or keys that can lock your doors, which prevents you from being killed at night. When the night phase starts, all the villagers go to bed, but the conspirators will try to break in and kill you. This is where the fun begins. As a villager, you will do everything in your power during the day to avoid getting killed at night. Meanwhile, the murderer might go on a quest spree to collect enough money and materials to craft a deadly poison. Each player has a house that is assigned to them, and you can tell who belongs to which house by the color coding on the mini-map.
During my review session with the Versus Evil publishing team, I got to play as a Seer, Trapper, Guard, and Barbarian. While I didn’t get to experience all the mechanics due to the limited play session, I can say that I did enjoy what I played. What I liked about Eville the most is how each role is unique and can benefit the party in several ways. For example, a Seer can place wards around the map. I placed a ward at each player’s house, so I could see if that person is being broken into or not. The wards won’t give away the killer’s identity, but they will tell me who is innocent. If the conspirator comes into the ward’s vision, I can use my other ability to blind them for a limited time. Blinding the enemy player will buy you more time in the night and possibly prevent someone from getting killed.
In another match, I got assigned the Barbarian, who’s considered the most brutal of all the conspirators. The barbarian can kill people both at night and during the day. However, you cannot kill someone as soon as the game starts. You can only start killing on the first night and the following days. You can also use your shout, which slows down your nearby victim. During my review session, I was doing quite well when it came to murdering people, but sadly I decided to do something stupid and use my axe in broad daylight on two people standing next to each other. I thought they would both die, but only one of them got killed, and obviously, that didn’t go too well for me.
Out of all the roles that I got to play, I found the Barbarian the most fun. Being the murderer and seeing if you can get away with it tends to be the best role in these types of games. The Trapper, who’s considered an innocent villager, can place several traps such as snares and spikes. The snare traps will completely immobilize the killer if they step on it during the night, which will prevent them from murdering anyone. Additionally, the spike trap will kill any player that steps on it during the night. If the game goes through many day and night phases, both the killer and villagers go out at night together, so even an innocent person can accidentally get killed by their friends. While these traps may seem powerful, you can only use two of each type throughout the entire match. Overall, I found the Trapper to be the most boring role. Placing traps just wasn’t fun for me, but I don’t think it’s the game’s fault. It’s just not the type of character I enjoy.
Last but not least, I got to experience the Guard, and out of all the villagers, the Guard was quite fun. He can place a protective barrier in an area of their choosing. In my case, I placed it next to my house, right at the entrance. If a conspirator crosses the protected area during the night, you will wake up and go outside and fight them to the death in a one v one. It was funny watching the conspirator freak out and panic. The Guard can make quick work of the murderer if played correctly, and the match can end up being shorter than it usually is. An average match in Eville is roughly 15 to 20 minutes, which is a decent amount of time. Not too short and not too long if you ask me.
As far as the quests go, they are super simple. You will see a few arrows under your character pointing in different directions. Following one of the arrows will lead you to a quest. The quests usually consist of gathering materials or crafting something. They are very short and do not take a lot of time to complete. The hardest thing to learn in Eville will be the map layout and where everything is located. The vendors are always in the same spots, so knowing which way to go is vital. In the first few matches, I had to keep checking the world map repeatedly to see if I was going the right way, but after a few games, I got a lot more comfortable and spent less time looking at the map and more time plotting my murder, which felt great.
Crafting is also quite basic. You can craft several items, such as deadly potions to poison others or antidotes if you were the one poisoned. You can even craft a protective potion and put it in your cauldron to protect yourself from getting poisoned that night. Players may also buy lock keys from the smith vendor that lock their doors and prevent anyone from entering their house for one night. If you are not feeling safe, then the best option is to finish several quests and get enough money to buy a couple of keys.
Now I know you might be asking me – but what about the other roles? Are they fun or boring? Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try the rest of the roles, due to the limited play session time. But I’ve had a ton of fun with what I played and enjoyed my time with the game. I think Eville is an interesting game, and it has the potential to be an entertaining title for people who enjoy socializing with others and trolling their friends. With the gameplay stuff out of the way, it’s time I discuss the visuals, audio, and monetization.
The Visuals and Audio
The setting is straight out of a fairy tale, and few games try to capture the fairy tale theme. Eville is a whimsical-looking game that heavily relies on a cartoony and colorful art style. If you are looking for something that’s completely next-gen, you won’t find it here, but to be fair, the game doesn’t need it. I enjoyed the art, however, there were some strange flickering issues and a bit of texture pop-in, but nothing too major. The game runs at 4K at 60FPS on the Xbox Series X, according to the team over at VestGames.
If I had to criticize anything, then it would be the animations. Some of them felt a little stiff and not very smooth. Particularly, the running animation in Eville is not the best thing to look at. It looks like your character has something shoved up their butt when they are running. Picking up items from the ground looks a tad stiff as well. Considering this is an indie game that’s probably on a tighter budget than your typical triple-A studio, I guess it’s okay to not expect the highest quality in every department. In all honesty, the animations are just a small gripe and are not the end of the world, but I have to be transparent here so that when VestGames make their next game, they know what to work on and improve. Overall, it has decent visuals, and a nice art style but nothing overly impressive or drop-dead gorgeous.
The audio in the game is fine. I did not encounter any weird audio bugs or strange clipping. Voice coms worked well, which is important for a game like this. The soundtrack is cozy and fitting for a game that tries to portray itself as a fairy tale. To be quite honest, it would be difficult to mess up audio in a game like this. Audio is much more important in other genres, such as FPS games or horror survival, where the music and ambiance play a massive role in immersing the player.
The Monetization Is A Bit Sus
This is probably the only part that has me confused about Eville. Eville retails for $14.99, which is not a lot of money. However, the game does act as a live service with a season/battle pass type of system where you level up and unlock cosmetics and crown coins to spend in the cosmetic store. The cosmetics themselves come in several items, such as Avatars, Stickers, Emotes, Accessories, and more. The first season has 55 levels and will last until January 10th, 2023.
For the game to be successful and live longer, the community has to like the game enough to support it. Asking for $14.99 upfront while also having a season pass is a bit strange to me. Either have the retail game for $14.99 or make it free to play. By having a $14.99 paywall, you are already locking out potential customers who might have liked the game if they would have tried it in the first place. Yes, this game is also available on Game Pass day one, but what if you don’t have Game Pass? Then you’ll be forced to fork out the $14.99 to play with your friends.
I am not sure exactly what the thought process was for the monetization of Eville. If the game is good enough and is free to play, then people will naturally support it, stay invested, and, most importantly, start spending money on it. If the game has an entry fee on top of a season pass fee, then it has much lower relevancy and will rely heavily on word of mouth to stay relevant in today’s extremely brutal and competitive live service market. With the gameplay, visuals, audio, and monetization out of the way, it is time to give Eville our final verdict.
After many play sessions and tons of hours in Among Us, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a game like Eville. There are not many social deduction games out there, as they are a bit more niche and not as mainstream compared to an FPS game or 3rd person action title like God of War. Social deduction games rely heavily on the people you play with. If you have a good crew of friends, then you are most likely going to have a blast. If the crew is boring, overly toxic, or just not as energetic, then it won’t be as fun. What impressed me the most about Eville is how risky the game is, regarding mechanics.
Having seven villagers that have unique roles alongside the four different murderers adds complexity and depth. The game offers a variety of play styles and interesting mechanics that intertwine to make the gameplay more unique with every match you play. Huge kudos to VestGames for trying out something creative. There is always something to do in the game whether it’s questing and collecting money, gathering materials to craft potions, or plotting your next murder.
The gameplay loop is satisfying, which in return, makes Eville addicting to play. As previously mentioned – my only gripes are stiff animations and the monetization model of this game. I think its great that its available on Game Pass day one, but what’s not so great is that this is a live service game that still has a $14.99 fee on top of an Eville Pass that you’d have to purchase separately if you want to take advantage of your hard-earned exp/levels for the cool cosmetics.
Either way, I think this game has a lot of potential, but I wish it did not have any barrier to entry. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing Eville, and with that being said it will receive a final verdict of 8 out of 10.