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Evercade EXP Review: A Retro Mini Console With a Twist

There had been a ton of retro gaming mini consoles a number of years in the past, a development which light away shortly after the worldwide pandemic began. Remember the NES Classic, the Sega Genesis Mini, and even the Turbografx 16 Mini? There are nonetheless methods to play retro video games: tons of them, in reality. The Nintendo Switch has a bunch. There are compilations just like the stellar Atari 50. There are gaming handhelds that play older sport cartridges. And then there’s the Evercade EXP.

The second-gen model of the Evercade is a handheld particularly made to play ready-made cartridge compilations of retro video games. The Evercade EXP also can plug instantly into TVs utilizing an HDMI mini cable, successfully changing into a mini console. 

But my favourite factor concerning the EXP is the way it flips right into a vertical mode to play vertical-orientation, or “TATE,” arcade video games. It handles that in a manner that is really easy, it is bizarre that extra handhelds do not do that. (The Nintendo Switch permits for TATE sport modes, nevertheless it depends upon every particular person sport’s help.)

The Evercade EXP is chunky. It’s near the dimensions of a PlayStation Vita (do not forget that one?), nevertheless it’s smaller than a Nintendo Switch Lite. It might be jacket-pocketed, perhaps. The handheld comes studded with many of the buttons that 8- and 16-bit video games want: 4 buttons on one facet, two on the opposite subsequent to a d-pad that every one work collectively in vertical mode. There are twin shoulder button-triggers on either side.

The back of the Evercade EXP handheld and its cartridge slot, with two cartridges near it

The Evercade EXP makes use of cartridges which have sport compilations. Some video games are additionally preinstalled.

Scott Stein/CNET

Unlike a ton of small handhelds that can be modded to run emulations, the Evercade EXP is strictly designed to play the system’s personal cartridges. There are a number of dozen that the Evercade EXP has to select from, costing about $25 per multigame cartridge. There are collections of classics from Namco, Atari, Data East, Interplay and much more obscure sources. There are loads of lacking firms, although: Konami is a no-show, and do not count on Sega (or, clearly, Nintendo). But there are shocking compilations of Atari Lynx (I lastly acquired to play Blue Lightning!), Commodore 64, Intellivision and Amiga video games, and Evercade splits its cartridge collections up between console-based and arcade-based classics.

The $150 Evercade EXP does throw in some tempting extras. The system has 18 Capcom arcade and console video games in-built, and it is an ideal combine. You get Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Strider, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting and Mega Man video games. There’s additionally an included compilation arcade cartridge of video games from traditional sport writer Irem with six different video games together with R-Type, In The Hunt and Moon Patrol. The arcade video games really feel nice, and the vertical TATE modes when out there open up much more display screen area on the 4.3-inch display screen. There are additionally 5 extra indie video games on the system, which could be unlocked with hidden codes.

Capcom game titles shown off on the screen of the Evercade EXP handheld

There are 18 preinstalled Capcom video games, and 5 extra hidden indie video games to unlock.

Scott Stein/CNET

Theoretically, the Evercade EXP may obtain new video games through Wi-Fi, however that function does not appear enabled but. The handheld’s software program has been up to date because the authentic Evercade, and the show, whereas nonetheless being a considerably low-res IPS LCD display screen (800×480 pixels), is completely effective for all of the video games it performs. The system expenses through USB-C, and lasts sufficient hours for me to play till I get bored and do one thing else (about 4 hours). There’s additionally a headphone jack.

I do not assume there’s sufficient gaming time in my life for the Evercade EXP to steal consideration away from the Nintendo Switch (or the Panic Playdate), however I recognize how this handheld gives up so many misplaced treasures on the go. It’s kind of a philosophical different to the Analogue Pocket, an ideal handheld that is extra purely targeted on taking part in authentic Game Boy video games and replicating older {hardware} platforms. The Evercade EXP is an effective sufficient arcade bundle for anybody who actually loves vertical shoot em ups, although. And hey, will extra gaming handhelds please help vertical TATE mode on the press of a button just like the Evercade EXP does? Thank you!

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