Reverie: Sweet As Edition
Reviewed by Josh Brant
Developed By: Rainbite
Published By: Rainbite
Category: Action, Adventure
Release Date: February 7, 2019
I’ve been interested in developer Rainbite’s action-adventure title Reverie since it was first announced; I was intrigued by its PS Vita exclusivity and now, thankfully, it’s out on the Nintendo Switch as the Sweet As Edition, adding a dungeon, new difficulty mode. Earthbound is near and dear to many gamers’ hearts, and with seeing gameplay of Reverie and its familiar graphics, the comparisons are undeniable. At the time of its announcement, there was also no shying away from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past comparisons in regards to the gameplay. The blending of these two games worked perfectly for Reverie, and it’s all the more endearing and fun to play because of this.
The story revolved around Tai, with things starting off with him visiting his grandparents on the island of Toromi, but ends up being caught up in the mysterious activities happening on the island. Malevolent spirits are haunting the residents and it’s up to Tai to try and find the source of the evil and put an end to it. Tai will meet and talk to the island’s inhabitants and help a few along the way. I was immediately engaged with the story and it was charming talking to the many residents as they oftentimes had nice jokes and pop culture references.
Sticking with the narration, Rainbite has found a way of molding a fresh story around the age-old theme of sibling rivalry. A few hints are dropped throughout the game about friction between Tai and his brothers, echoing the legend and their restless spirits. It’s a theme children, and grown-up siblings, will be able to identify with instantly, and it’s worth rejoicing when a PG-rated title can appeal to both adults and youngsters alike. It also helps that Reverie doesn’t stray too far from its inspirations and wisely sticks to a simple and clean style, both narratively and visually.
When controlling Tai, the gameplay is very similar to A Link to the Past; you have an open world to explore, dungeons to conquer, and new equipment to find that lets you unlock new areas. You can attack enemies with your old cricket bat, shovel, dart-gun, or yo-yo and even without using more traditional weapons. Combat is competent, but far from remarkable as most enemies can just be stunned and beaten into submission. Also, while it has some seriously clever and funny usable items, regularly having to swap between them in the pause menu quickly became a chore. However, I have no real qualms with the gameplay as it’s easy to get the hang of and plays just like the action-adventure titles of the SNES era.
Gameplay offers variety through requiring different techniques to defeat certain types of enemies. For example, you use a shovel to turn a turtle over on its back, or you you attack worms by hitting their tails. The only criticism I have of the enemies, and Reverie in general, is that it was a little too easy, and I also don’t care for the knock-back from enemies when striking with your cricket bat. Each dungeon has a boss and I managed to beat almost all of them on my first try. I didn’t play through all of the Nightmare difficulty, but it added a much needed harder difficulty for those who felt the regular mode was too easy.
In every dungeon there are also puzzles to solve and some of them had me legitimately scratching my head. All the puzzles are not overly complicated, and many of them just require using your equipment in the exact right way. You’ve always got the tools that you need for any situation, and I was impressed by how well designed Reverie is. The Metroidvania aspects of the title are not indulgent and backtracking is kept to a minimum, making for a more seamless experience.
The map isn’t that big, and even the dungeons don’t take long to conquer, but most of my time playing Reverie was fun and rewarding. I didn’t feel any stressful urgency to complete tasks, and it was just a breath of fresh air playing a unique retro title like this. It was just enjoying walking around the map finding collectable feathers, and there were even some mini-games to play in the arcade and surrounding areas.
Graphically, Reverie is charming in every sense of the word with a refreshing pixel art style that was bright and colorful. Even though the map isn’t particularly big, every area has its own style with a mountain area, spooky graveyard, beach, and forest areas. The music is great too, with the main theme of the town being stuck in my head for a few days after playing.
Overall, Reverie: Sweet As Edition is a superb blend of style. It is short and may be too easy for more experienced players, but the fun, charm, and well-designed gameplay make up for it. While the adventure may be a tad too short and, Reverie is a great experience for the Nintendo Switch.