Evercade VS Game of the Month #6: Eyra, The Crow Maiden
The Game of the Month feature, exclusive to Evercade VS, offers a series of downloadable indie games between April and December of 2022, with each being available to play for free for a whole month. With September’s update to the Evercade VS, the sixth in the series, Eyra, The Crow Maiden, is now available, providing some super-slick, beautifully colourful 16-bit platform action for you to enjoy!
As always, don’t forget that all of the Game of the Month games will be available in physical form on the Indie Heroes Collection 2 cartridge, releasing in late 2022 — so don’t worry if you miss your chance to play! Do please note, however, that any save games from the Game of the Month version of Eyra, The Crow Maiden will not transfer over to the Indie Heroes Collection 2 cartridge.
Eyra, The Crow Maiden is a side-scrolling platform action game that was originally designed for a popular 8-bit home console. The project was crowdfunded, but the campaign was so well supported, smashing comfortably through its modest goal, that 16-bit ports became a practical possibility — and, indeed, it’s one of those 16-bit ports that you have before you now.
Eyra, The Crow Maiden draws inspiration from a variety of sources that will likely be obvious to anyone who grew up with ’80s and early ’90s video games and movies. Specifically, the setting of the game is inspired by works such as the classic Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja and Tarzan, while the mechanical side of things takes care to learn the lessons taught by classic platform action titles such as Rastan Saga, Cadash, Blades of Vengeance and Jill of the Jungle.
Despite wearing its “source material” on its sleeve, however, Eyra, The Crow Maiden is very much its own distinct thing that will quickly draw you in with its smooth, slick gameplay and beautiful presentation. It’s unmistakably a 16-bit game, but one which benefits from how enthusiast developers have really learned how to make these platforms sing over the course of the last few decades.
In Eyra, The Crow Maiden, you take on the role of the eponymous heroine, who is a warrior priestess in a world where the majority of the human race lives in tribal societies based in temples. The evil Infernal Marauder has captured all the male warriors from Eyra’s temple, and so it’s up to her — and her trusty crow familiar — to set off on a dangerous journey and rescue all these bare-chested hunks from the terrible fate that the Infernal Marauder has in store for them.
Gameplay in Eyra, The Crow Maiden is simple to understand but hard to master. Eyra starts at the left side of each stage and must make her way to the right. Rescuing the barbarian warriors along the way is an optional objective, but recommended; although many of them are held captive in hard-to-reach locations, part of the fun of the game is figuring out exactly how to get to them safely!
Controlling Eyra is simple. The D-pad allows her to walk left and right, while the X button allows her to jump. The A button causes Eyra to attack with her current weapon, while the B button gets Eyra to call upon the assistance of her crow familiar for a ranged attack — though note that, being a rather spoiled animal, the crow will only do your bidding if you provide it with some food.
Various power-ups and collectibles can be acquired by destroying the crow icons around the level. Coins provide points, meat allows Eyra to heal damage, bags contain crow food and weapons allow Eyra to upgrade her striking power and attack range with a scimitar and axe — though note that taking damage will often cause Eyra to lose her weapon.
Pay attention to how Eyra swings her weapon when you press the A button to attack; with the more powerful weapons in particular, you will notice that the arc of Eyra’s weapon actually goes both behind and above her, meaning that sometimes you can hit hard-to-reach enemies with a well-timed, well-positioned swing from somewhere other than directly in front of them. This can be very helpful when dealing with foes who have awkward attack and movement patterns.
Eyra can take a few hits before dying, but note that if you run out of health or fall down a pit, you’ll be set right back to the start of the stage you’re on! And yes, you can get a Game Over if you run out of lives — though you can continue if you so desire, use the Evercade Save feature to pick up where you left off later, or do it old-school with the game’s password system.
It’s a tricky game, so don’t be shy about taking advantage of these features on your first couple of runthroughs! When you’re ready for the ultimate challenge, see if you can beat the whole thing in a single credit without running out of lives or using save states! If you want to keep yourself honest, don’t forget about the Evercade’s Competition Mode, which disables the Save and Load options and puts a special icon on the screen for screenshots and video footage to prove that you’re really showing your skills!
Eyra, The Crow Maiden is a great platformer sure to appeal to those who grew up with the distinctively western style of platformers that were particularly popular on classic 16-bit home computer platforms. It’s a game that rewards playing at a relatively sedate and deliberate pace rather than attempting to rush through — so take your time and enjoy the beautiful vistas and catchy soundtrack as you help Eyra on her journey!
To get started with Eyra, The Crow Maiden and the Game of the Month feature, connect your Evercade VS to a Wi-Fi network through the Network menu in Settings, then update your system’s firmware through the System menu.
When you’re updated to version 2.1.6 or later, you’re ready to go — select the star icon on the left of the screen and get ready to enjoy Eyra, The Crow Maiden!
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