Developer Neofid Studios has gained an impressive reputation when it comes to pushing the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis to its limits. Demons of Asteborg (2021) and Astebros (2023) have both been released on the 16-bit system to a warm critical reception and now they're available in this double-pack on the Evercade.
Demons of Asteborg plays like a mix between a light-RPG platformer and Ghouls 'n Ghosts; you control the heroic Gareth (and other characters) as he tries to stop the evil Zadimus from wiping out humanity. Gareth has a wide range of moves at his disposal, including a wall jump, dodge roll and downward attack, and can visit various shops dotted throughout the game to gain helpful items and spells. You'll certainly need to boost Gareth's skills if you want a chance at tackling the game's many devious and well-designed bosses. While the visuals could perhaps be a little more colourful, the music and animation are both top-notch.
Astebros was released a few years after Demons of Asteborg, and definitely feels like a more polished title. It's a roguelite platformer which presents you with randomly generated dungeons and three playable characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It's a deeper and arguably more involved experience than Demons of Asteborg, with an almost limitless replayability thanks to the way the levels are generated. It also looks and sounds fantastic, given it's designed for hardware that is now 35 years old. You can even rope in a second player, which increases the game's appeal.
Unlike the recently-released Full Void, these two games aren't running natively on the Evercade hardware, but are instead operating under emulation. That means you're getting the same experience you'd get if you were playing the original Mega Drive iterations, right down to the scratchy sound effects and vocal samples. Those of you who grew up with the console will embrace these limitations, but there may be some people who find the lo-fi nature of the audio experience a little puzzling.
If you're a fan of action platformers with a fantasy element, then this double pack is a no-brainer. Sure, it doesn't contain as many games as some of the other Evercade packs, but you're still getting decent value for money, especially when you look at how much these titles cost on digital stores like the Switch eShop and Steam.