Evergate surprised me. It looked at first to be slightly derivative of Ori and the Blind Forest, and I became interested in it because of those similarities, not in spite of them. In actuality, its common traits with Ori are superficial, and its strong focus on the puzzle part of the puzzle-platformer genre makes for a rich and wholly distinct experience.
You play as Ki, a small wisp occupying the afterlife and awaiting reincarnation by journeying through the Evergate. When a crisis threatens to undo the entire afterlife itself, Ki assists by going through the Evergate to relive key memories throughout time and solve the mystery behind the looming disaster. If that concept sounds heady, it is. The game doesn’t give you much exposition to start, so you spend the first few hours piecing together the mythology at play. Characters freely throw out terms without explanation, and it’s on you to catch up.
The main gameplay hook bears a strong resemblance to one of the main platforming mechanics in the Ori games. In those, the “Bash” move lets you spring off objects in mid-air, shooting in a particular direction. Evergate uses the same basic concept, but plumbs the depths of it as a deep well of puzzle mechanics. The entire game is built around a series of nodes with different effects, as long as you have a clear line of sight to an ethereal white object or grounding. As you progress further, finding these sightlines and discovering the order of nodes to hit becomes increasingly complex–and often acrobatic, as you use a time-slowing mechanic to line up your shot in mid-air.