As announced in June, the Evercade EXP is releasing on the 24th of November this year, with pre-orders set to open tomorrow (6th September 2022). An upgrade – and replacement for – the current handheld Evercade console, which is being discontinued, the Evercade EXP had been announced with a wealth of great new features, including an improved screen, built in Wi-Fi to streamline and simplify the software/firmware updating process, USB-C charging and even a ‘TATE’ mode so that games which were vertically displayed in the arcades can finally be played in the correct, original orientation.

What we didn’t know until last week is that, excitingly, the console will be pre-loaded with 18 classic Capcom games. In true Evercade style, this collection isn’t necessarily comprehensive, but it feels curated – featuring a mix of genres as well as familiar titles alongside more obscure games. Evercade collections always seem to strike the right balance in that respect – and this first ever collection of Capcom games – not to mention the first time that games are available digitally on an Evercade console, if you don’t count the time-limited Evercade Games of the Month for the VS.

Could the addition of built-in Wi-Fi mean that games may be made available digitally as well as on physical cartridges? Though this would seem to go against the usual interest of the audience of retro collectors that the Evercade is targeted at, you’d have to think that if the only option of providing either certain titles or games from specific companies is to provide the games digitally, that it would be better to have access to them regardless of whether they’re in cartridge form or not.

In any case, that’s just speculation for now; let’s take a look at the list of games included on the Evercade EXP right out of the box. The games and versions included are:

● 1942 (Arcade version)

● 1943 (Arcade version)

● 1944 : The Loop Master (Arcade version)

● Bionic Commando (Arcade version)

● Captain Commando (Arcade version)

● Commando (Arcade version)

● Final Fight (Arcade version)

● Forgotten Worlds (Arcade version)

● Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (Arcade version)

● Legendary Wings (Arcade version)

● MERCS (Arcade version)

● Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting (Arcade version)

● Strider (Arcade version)

● Vulgus (Arcade version)

● Mega Man (8-bit)

● Mega Man 2 (8-bit)

● Mega Man X (16-bit)

● Breath of Fire (16-bit)

As you can see, there’s a really good mixture of familiar names alongside games that might not be so immediately recognisable; big hitters and brands alongside less well known titles that deserve a chance in the spotlight.

Which of course they’ll get when the Evercade EXP launches in November. Though the price has of course risen quite a bit in comparison to the original Evercade’s almost shockingly low RRP, the bump in features and quality – including the built-in games and a pack-in cartridge of arcade classics too, with the Irem Arcade Collection 1 being in the box – more than makes up for that.

An awful lot of retro-focused handhelds of varying levels of quality (and dubious legality) are available these days. So retro gamers have plenty of options to play classic games on the go – but the Evercade consoles remain a very attractive prospect for gamers who want to play their games without issues of legality or even compatibility in the mix.

Each Evercade console’s emulation is superb and has never once been an issue for me – but along with its simple interface, user-friendly features and the fact that it really is plug and play with no fiddly setup required, it’s actually been my go-to console for retro gaming over the last few years.

The Evercade EXP is a console I’ll be pre-ordering to have on day one; given how much use I get out of my current Evercade consoles, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Pre-orders for the Evercade EXP will open on September 6th 2022 at a price of £129.99/$149.99/€149.99 from all Evercade stockists and will release on November 24th 2022.

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