I have never heard anyone name Secret of Evermore as one of their favorite square games. Secret of Mana, sure. Chrono Trigger, yep. Final Fantasy, of course. Given that I’ve only played for a few hours, I’m probably not qualified to comment but what is really interesting is that this seems to be one of the first games that Square designed explicitly for consumption in the States. In a way, that makes it the spiritual ancestor to Kingdom Hearts. A simplified system, a stronger focus on action rather than turn-based systems, a concerted attempt to make use of American pop culture rather than Japanese.
This ends up leading to some weird stuff. The first town in Evermore is called Podunk, which was also the first town in Mother, which leads me to believe there’s a Japanese word that uniquely translates to it. Google says it translates to 田舎町, which is Inakamachi. Having one unambiguous translation is a pretty good sign. There’s a very strong emphasis on B-movies in the game, apparently each of the worlds and monsters are all modelled from a rich tradition of b-movie references to which I have no reference.
So I realize that most of this review is basically saying that I should play for like 20 more hours before writing it, but here is a reason this game is amazing.