Hot off the heels of the hugely successful Evercade handheld comes the Evercade VS console – a home console designed for use on the TV for up to four players. And yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.
Designed to be hooked up to a TV via HDMI, the Evercade VS console is a home console in a similar vein to the SNES and Genesis minis, although as with the Evercade handheld, the VS console works a little differently thanks to officially licensed game cartridges.
In fact, and this is a really cool design choice, the Evercade VS has space for two carts, meaning you can load multiple games onto the system at once depending on your collection.
On the power side of things, the Evercade VS console packs a 1.5Ghz quad-core processor backed by 512MB of DRAM and features 4GB of internal storage. That last part is interesting as the company behind the Evercade, Blaze, has said the Evercade VS will feature wi-fi compatibility, allowing users to download over-the-air updates and fixes.
Blaze does note that online play won’t be a feature. That said, the door does remain open.
The console itself outputs at 1080p, with the new UI offering original 4:3, Pixel Perfect, and Full Screen modes depending on how you want to play. There are also different filters that can be applied and a new visual library along with selectable save states.
On the compatibility front, all your previous games will work with the exception of the Namco Museum collection due to licensing issues.
Speaking on the success of the Evercade consoles, managing director of Blaze, Andrew Byatt, had the following to say:
“This is a hugely exciting time for the Evercade, with new carts, new hardware, and improved software becoming available. When we began this project we believed that a physical-only console would work in an increasingly digital world and the reaction has been amazing.Today we move this to the next level.”
Simply put, the Evercade VS is a retro gamer’s dream. It’s not only affordable, it offers up the chance to side-step the world of ROMs and play games as they were intended.
The main Evcade VS device itself is surprisingly lightweight but feels premium in a way many other retro consoles don’t. Flaps lift up easily, carts slot into place without any hassle, and a simple power on and off button controls the system. It feels like a halfway house between mini consoles like Nintendo and SEGA have put out and what you’d expect from Sony and Microsoft. It’s slightly longer than a mini console, but a fraction of the size of a PS4 or Xbox One (and a gnat compared with the PS5).
The main deluxe pack comes with two controllers, though there are slots for up to four players. The main hook here is versus. This is a device designed to be played with friends or family. I’ve been playing Sensible Soccer with my kid and being able to bring them into the world of yesteryear has been a blast.
The controllers themselves are USB, and while they are a little chunky, they manage to nail the retro aesthetic with a modern twist. They’re rectangular, but not in the same way a NES controller digs into your hand. The rounded corners help the controllers to fit snug in the hand.
On the UI side of things, the Evercade VS does an excellent job of keeping the console fast. As each cartridge provides multiple games, pushing in a cart results in multiple games being displayed on-screen. What’s clever is that this never feels overwhelming, and the choice of what to play isn’t obscured by a needlessly intrusive UI. You see your game collection and click and play. It’s that simple.
There are also a host of different settings, including screen size and scanlines, for those who wish to replicate a more authentic feel or, like me, throw caution to the wind and full-screen everything.
The Evercade VS is an easy sell. The console itself is exactly what you’d expect from Blaze – authentic high-quality – but what it all comes down to is the games. If you’ve had a look at the available Evercade games and thought how much you’d like to either replay them in a more modern setting or play them with your kids, the Evercade VS is very easy to recommend. You won’t find a better, 100 percent legal, retro console out there.
How Much Will The Evercade VS Cost?
At launch, the Evercade VS starter is set to cost £89.99/$99.99/€99.99. I still have no idea how Evercade manages to put out such a killer premium product at the lower end of the price scale but hey, let’s not question it too much.
What Comes in the Starter Pack?
The starter pack comes with the Evercade VS console, one game cart – Technos – and one controller.
There will be other packs available at launch including a premium pack with two game carts – Technos and Data East – and two controllers, as well as one with a special edition color scheme.
When Is the Evercade VS Out?
The Evercade VS currently has an estimated release date of January 2022. The reason for the “estimated” is presumably due to the world being a little weird right now. Getting tech parts isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.
How Will the Evercade VS Affect the Evercade Handheld?
If you’ve already got the Evercade handheld, don’t fret. Your favorite console isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’ll be getting an update at some point in the next year to bring the UI more in line with the Evercade VS.
You can also use the handheld as an extra controller, so if you’ve got kids you want to beat on old-school games, you’ll soon be able to.
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