Reverie Review

Growing up in Australia, you’d think I’d know more about New Zealand and it’s culture as it’s just a stones throw away and while I’ve experienced some stories during my time, I’ve never played a game inspired by Maori legends, so that alone was a draw for me even before writing this review. The second draw for me with Reverie was the fact that it’s a 16bit action adventure with gameplay very clearly inspired by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and an art style very reminiscent of Earthbound and the Mother series in general. Both games I grew up with and both games of appropriate notoriety. Reverie (not to be confused with a game with the same name on Steam) is developed by Rainbite, a small and relatively new indie development studio from Auckland, New Zealand and published by EastAsiaSoft. Before I get stuck in, it’s clear a lot of love went into this game.

The intro opens with your mother telling you the old legend of the origins of Toromi Island and the spirits haunting it to this day. Toromi Island is where your grandparents live in a town called Harikoa where you mother drops you off for a summer visit. Upon arriving and being greeted by your grandfather, you’re given the opportunity to explore for a bit before being tasked with exploring the tutorial dungeon in your grandparents basement. With a trusty cricket bat in hand, your adventure begins quite quickly and it’s very easy to pick up and understand. Once you’ve collected a few more items you start to feel a lot more versatile and it starts to become clear that all the classic action adventure tropes are there, albeit in different forms. Instead of a boomerang and a bow, you end up with a yoyo and a nerf gun to blast targets with darts instead and all humor aside, it’s all programmed quite well. The hit boxes are nice and the game mechanics are smooth, so while a part of me was thinking that this was just a Zelda clone, I found myself getting lost in the fun and atmosphere of it; especially with the roll button. A Link to the Past needed a roll button..

With the tutorial out of the way, you’re given vague instructions and essentially left to explore and in doing so you find that there are various collectables in the form of hidden feathers from New Zealand’s many beautiful native birds, as well as various minigames like Air Hockey and even an arcade space shooter. Nothing really feels forced or shoehorned in either, as it all just seems to mesh together well lending to cohesive experience. Reverie, while not a particularly long game does offer a fun and unique experience and really it depends on a player’s puzzle solving, memory and battle skills for how long the game really is. The boss fights themselves are oddly familiar for anyone with experience in the top down action adventure genre with many tropes showing their face, but its done so in a challenging and fun way alongside some very new and unique experiences. While some of the boss fights themselves are similar in design to many tropes over the years, the fights themselves aren’t exactly easy which is a gripe many have with action adventure games. Don’t expect to hit a boss 3 times and for it to roll over and die. You’ll need to put in a bit more effort then that.

If you’d played this before you ever played a classic top down Zelda game, you’d likely relate Zelda to this rather than the other way around, but obvious similarities are still prevalent. The game itself features 6 unique dungeons and much like the cliches of the action adventure genre, you pick up various items to help you through puzzles on your quest, though I have to say some of the items in this game are quite unique and the way the items are used and implemented is well done, fun and amusing. Some of the items actually give you access to different environments and allow you to open up all new avenues for exploration, so while there is some backtracking here and there, it doesn’t feel forced or annoying. It’s quite enjoyable combing over some areas to try, using new items to access hidden or previously out of reach collectables or see if anything has changed in previously explored areas due to game progression.

Aside from the simple but well implemented and overall pleasant graphics, the sound and music in general is quite well done and really suits the environment in a complimentary manner. I don’t know if it will be flying off the shelves in OST form like Undertale’s OST, an OST is available for purchase. Still, the music is far from bad and quite catchy. Why I say that though, is because Reverie as a whole is a really relaxing sort of experience, so outside of boss fights there isn’t much of a sense of urgency and as a result doesn’t have a need for any epic music or fanfare and instead is quite comfortable with pleasant background music. While that can be taken as a negative point, I’d still give the music a thumbs up. It’s well composed and I’m sure whoever wrote it had a great time doing so and it really shows.

Being the sort of game it is, Reverie is a great pick up and play sort of game and while it has easy to learn controls, great gameplay across the board and a nice heap of collectables, it’s not a AAA 80 hour+ adventure. It is relatively short but is still a fair few hours of fun and puzzle solving. That said, I’d say length is the biggest negative point here but is it really that negative when the biggest gripe I have is that I wanted to keep playing it? Wanting more leaves demand for a sequel and if I’m being honest, the game itself isn’t overloaded which means it’s easy to pick back up and play all over again, which is the sort of replayability I appreciate in games of this genre. If they drag too long and become a time sink, I’m personally far less likely to play them again rather than if it’s a pleasant little adventure.

Reverie is available on Playstation 4 and PS Vita, but is coming to Nintendo Switch soon. I personally played on both PS4 and PS Vita but I feel like this is the perfect sort of game the PS Vita needed more of and would call it a must have for Vita owners and Action Adventure fans. There are collectors additions available and some more coming soon, both of which I’ll detail at the end of this review.

So what do I think of Reverie overall? It’s a great game and I’d recommend it to old school Zelda/Mother/Earthbound fans and action adventure fans in general as well as Australians/New Zealanders or those interested in the culture as there are certainly some in jokes. It’s a great pick up and play for handheld and a fun console experience and certainly worth it’s pricetag. It’s a great little game, Rainbite did well. This developer is worth watching.

Now for those (pictured above) Collectors Editions:

PS4/PS Vita Version

Limited to just 3000pcs per platform, a physical Limited Edition will be available exclusively at online retailer Play-Asia.com. The Reverie Limited Edition contains the following items:

  • A physical copy of the game (region free)
  • An original soundtrack CD
  • A sticker booklet
  • A full-color printed manual
  • A Reverie world map
  • An individually numbered collector’s certificate
  • A collector’s box (with a beautifully embossed logo)

Nintendo Switch Version

Limited to just 3000pcs per platform, a physical Limited Edition will be available exclusively at online retailer Play-Asia.com. The Reverie Limited Edition contains the following items:

  • Reverie Collector’s Box
  • Reverie Game (region free)
  • Reverie Game Manual
  • Reverie Original Soundtrack
  • Reverie Numbered Certificate
  • Reverie Yo-yo

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

  • 8/10
    Gameplay - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Graphics - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Sound - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Replay Value - 8/10
0/10
User Review
0/10 (0 votes)
0/10
Comments Rating 0/10 (0 reviews)
Overall
8/10

Summary

Reverie is a great game and I’d recommend it to old school Zelda/Mother/Earthbound fans and action adventure fans in general.

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