One of the best things about the Evercade is that the collections – even when they’re from companies who have constantly re-released their back catalogue games over the years – will often feature hidden gems or games you perhaps never thought you’d be able to play ‘officially’ again.

The Piko Interactive Collection 1 is the latter; stuffed full of titles that were never blockbusters, but were generally fondly remembered by those who got to play them. The one exception as a game you won’t have played back in the 8 or 16-bit eras is Dorke and Ymp – though it was made 25 years ago, it was never actually released back then.

Dorke and Ymp

This collection is full of great games though, it must be said. It’s probably the best value of all the first ten Evercade cartridges in terms of the number of genres that are represented and the relative depth (and length) of the games it contains. Though it’s become a bit of a cliché for me to say that Evercade collections are a mixed bag – with the hit/miss ratio sometimes being fairly narrow in determining whether or not any given cartridge is worth a purchase – I can absolutely recommend the Piko Interactive Collection 1 as unmissable. Most of the games included stand up even now, without having to rely on the lure of nostalgia to sway you either.

It’s not 100% perfect in my opinion, though others may enjoy the titles I wasn’t so keen on.

Power Punch II did nothing for me, for example – it’s left feeling like a rip-off of Punch Out!, which was a game I wasn’t much of a fan of anyway. It seems that this was a universally panned game back in its day too, so I’m perhaps not alone in being unable to glean much enjoyment from it.

The Humans is a sort of Lemmings-style platform puzzler with cavepeople as its protagonists. Though initially appealing and pretty nice from a visual standpoint, it’s so incredibly slow paced that it does become pretty annoying.

Way of the Exploding Fist was a critical and commercial success upon release in the mid-80s, but can’t help feeling too dated to be very enjoyable these days. Nostalgia may save this one for you though!

Brave Battle Saga

RPGs are well represented on this collection – and there’s even great variety just in this particular genre. Brave Battle Saga – which was a true knock-off of other games, featuring sprites literally lifted from different titles – is actually a much better game than you may be expecting. Drakkhen and its sequel Dragon View are both impressively open games with neat faux-3D overworld exploration. Chinese mythology based Canon is another hidden RPG gem and isometric Western RPG, though pretty punishing, is a game that really benefits from using save states on the Evercade.

There’s also a good selection of platformers, though they can be split into sub-categoried such as run-and-gun as well as more traditional, cutesy, character led games. 8-Eyes, Jim Power, Power Piggs of the Dark Ages, Radical Rex, Switchblade and Tinhead are all well worth playing; none are bad games by any means.

A few beat ’em ups also made the cut: both Iron Commando and Water Margin are excellent examples of the genre.

Top Racer

Shoot ’em up Magical Girl, action adventure Nightshade and 16-bit racing game Top Racer – aka Top Gear – are the final games included, with Top Gear being one of the finest games on the cartridge in my opinion.

So there you have it; probably the first true must have game in the numerical order of the Evercade – and one that doesn’t overly rely on nostalgia for its appeal. There’s several obscure titles here that absolutely deserve more exposure and even the better known titles are less frequently available than the most familiar games on, say, the Namco and Atari collections.

It’s this kind of collection that really demonstrates the value and convenience of the Evercade, whether you play on the original handheld or on your TV via the Evercade VS. Great stuff.

You can purchase the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge from Amazon here.

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