Six of the best Evercade cartridges

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As you all know, we love the Evercade retro gaming platform here at Rice Digital, and the library of games available for it is ever-expanding. So with that in mind, I thought it was high time we did a nice list of our favourite cartridges for the system — with a particular focus on those that will appeal to Rice Digital’s audience of those who love Japanese and Asian popular media.

The Evercade is available in handheld and console “VS” form, and you can nab various bundles (plus the carts themselves) from our pals at Funstock. If you’re feeling particularly flush with cash, the 2nd Anniversary Bundle will get you a whopping 28 carts full of games, plus the handheld and VS console!

And don’t forget the exciting new-look Evercade handheld, the Evercade EXP, is coming later this year, with preorders opening in early September. Find out more about that here.

And with that preamble over and done with, let’s get to the gaming!

Namco Museum Collection 1

Best Evercade cartridges: Star Luster
Star Luster

It’s a tough call between the two Namco Museum Collection cartridges for Evercade, but number 1 just clinches it for me for one main reason: Star Luster. This is an absolutely fantastic space sim originally released for the Famicom — with the Evercade version marking one of its first western releases. Heavily modelled on Atari’s classic Star Raiders but with some Famicom polish, Star Luster is a fun and challenging game that will keep you coming back for more.

And the rest of the collection is no slouch, either, including classics like Galaxian, Dig-Dug, Xevious and Pac-Man as well as stunning 16-bit strategy title Metal Marines and the first ever localised release of platformer Mappy Kids.

Only downside is due to Namco’s inexplicably Byzantine licensing restrictions, the Namco Museum Collection cartridges for Evercade will only work on Evercade handhelds (including the EXP), not the VS — though it is worth noting that you can still connect Evercade handhelds to your TV. Not only that, but the limited nature of the license means that these carts won’t be available forever — so snap ’em up now if you fancy playing them.

Pick up a copy here while you still can!

Piko Interactive Collection 1

Best Evercade cartridges: Drakkhen

One of the best value cartridges for Evercade, offering a whopping 20 games on a single cart, the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge is bursting at the seams with weird and wonderful games — including both properties that Piko has rescued from copyright oblivion and titles that only ever made it to the prototype stage back in the day.

Particular highlights for fans of Asian games in this collection include Kemco-Seika’s SNES port of super-weird French RPG Drakkhen, its excellent follow-up Dragon View, plus the former bootleg titles Brave Battle Saga, Canon and Water Margin, which are a traditional RPG, strategy RPG and beat ’em up respectively. Plus Top Racer (formerly Top Gear), one of the best 16-bit racers of all time, is on this cart. You can’t lose.

Pick up a copy here.

Indie Heroes Collection 1

Best Evercade cartridges: Deadeus

While the games on this cart aren’t Asian in origin, many of them are heavily inspired by the traditions of Japanese game design, and as such are well worth your time and attention. This cartridge also shows Evercade’s commitment to supporting “modern retro” indie developers working on new games for classic platforms, and is an affordable means of owning a physical copy of some truly excellent games.

Particular highlights of the collection include Game Boy horror adventure Deadeus, which manages to take the Pokémon aesthetic and create one of the most disturbing games ever made; precision platformer Flea!, which features one of the best soundtracks you’ll ever hear on the NES; Quest Arrest, which is a foul-mouthed Game Boy Colour detective RPG; and Super Homebrew War, which is a simple but enormously entertaining 8-bit multiplayer battle royale for up to four players.

Pick up a copy here.

Renovation Collection 1

Best Evercade cartridges: Valis

The Renovation Collection 1 cartridge for Evercade is the ideal solution for those who feel like they’ve been priced out of the retro collecting game in recent years, since it contains a collection of widely beloved but enormously expensive and hard to find Mega Drive games. It’s absolutely one of the very best carts on Evercade, not just for fans of Asian gaming, but in general.

You’ve got classic anime-style platformers Valis, Valis III and El Viento. You’ve got batshit bonkers action RPG Exile. You’ve got the very traditional CRPG-style Traysia. You’ve got isometric Gauntlet-alike Arcus Odyssey. There’s the spectacular shooters Gaiares and Sol-Deace, tactical blasters Granada and Final Zone, plus the unusual pinball game Dino Land. And, uh, Beast Wrestler, but they can’t all be winners.

Pick up a copy here.

Gaelco Arcade 1

Best Evercade cartridges: World Rally

The two Gaelco Arcade collections for Evercade represent the first time many of these technically stunning Spanish arcade games have come home — and it’s honestly hard to understand why it took these games so long to make it into our living rooms, given their consistently high quality. Still, they’re here now, so we might as well enjoy them!

Gaelco’s games may originate in Spain, but they all have heavy Japanese influences about them, both in terms of mechanics and presentation. Particular highlights from this collection include high-speed isometric racer World Rally, run-and-gun platformer Biomechanical Toy and cabal shooter Alligator Hunt. Bring a friend, load up on credits and enjoy some of the best arcade action there is.

Pick up a copy here.

Jaleco Arcade 1

Best Evercade cartridges: Avenging Spirit
Avenging Spirit

While Jaleco may not be the biggest name in gaming, this cart is commonly agreed to be one of the absolute best available for Evercade right now. It features a brilliant selection of arcade classics including the weighty beat ’em up 64th Street: A Detective Story; cutesy platformers Rod Land and Avenging Spirit (plus the less cutesy The Astyanax); and stunning shoot ’em ups E.D.F. Earth Defense Force, Saint Dragon, P-47 The Phantom Fighter and Cybattler.

If you love arcade action, the Jaleco Arcade 1 collection for Evercade is one you’re going to keep coming back to time and time again. It’s a personal favourite of mine — not just for Rod Land — and one that I often turn to during quieter periods!

Pick up a copy here.

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Pete Davison
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