Sometimes I play a video game and it’s made perfectly clear from the get-go what inspired it. That was definitely the case with Reverie: Sweet As Edition, the action-RPG from the Kiwi team at Rainbite that wears its Earthbound and The Legend of Zelda inspirations like a big badge of honour. Whilst a sense of familiarity will be felt whilst playing though, it still manages to have its own unique and charming vibe that helps it stand out as another enjoyable experience for the Nintendo Switch.
Reverie: Sweet As Edition puts you in the shoes of Tai, a young lad who takes a summer vacation to a fictional island in New Zealand known as Toromi Island to visit his grandparents, but ends up taking part in a little adventure as he looks to rid the island of a mysterious curse. This means venturing through dungeons, beating up some bad guys, and solving a myriad of puzzles as Tai finds out what exactly is going on.
The game certainly embraces the weird and wonderful in its kooky little world, with plenty of strange sights to see and scenarios to find yourself in as you head out on your adventure. It’s partly inspired by New Zealand legends too, with the tale of ‘Maui and the Giant Fish’ acting as a basis for the origin of the island itself – it’s all good fun and it’s nice to see the developers embracing their homeland as a pivotal part of the experience.
It’s in the gameplay that you’ll find where The Legend of Zelda inspired Reverie: Sweet As Edition, with the dungeon-exploration, combat, and puzzle-solving feeling like it could have come straight out of the SNES classic ‘A Link to the Past’. That’s a compliment, of course, and the comparison should act as a good representation of the high regard I actually hold Reverie: Sweet As Edition in.
There are six dungeons to complete in total, with each one bombarding the players with enemies to vanquish and puzzles to solve. You’ve got a decent arsenal of weapons at your disposal, with the player able to wipe out foes up close with their baseball bat, shoot at them with a dart gun, or even launch a yo-yo out as a means to take each enemy down. What, you didn’t expect to use a sword and shield, did you? Each weapon is fun to use and are also utilised in solving some of the game’s environmental-based puzzles too, whilst your ever-growing inventory ensures you’ve always got something new to play around with as you make your way through to the end of each dungeon. Each dungeon homes a boss battle too, so there’s always an exciting (and surprisingly creative) showdown to look forward to after making your way through to exit – they’re enjoyable to take on and certainly embrace the game’s kookiness in a variety of fun ways.
That being said, there’s no denying that some dungeons were more enjoyable to complete than others. It’s not that Reverie: Sweet As Edition feels like it runs out of ideas or even that it stops being fun, but there’s some complacency as you progress through the game with some puzzles feeling predictable in design and some areas a little bland. I also had one puzzle glitch out on me which forced a restart of the dungeon, which was a little bit frustrating.
Outside of the dungeons and battling, there’s a pleasant world to explore in Reverie: Sweet As Edition. Toromi Island itself is full of pleasant characters to meet and neat quests to complete, whilst some hidden collectible feathers and the stamps (which act as achievements) give you plenty of things to work towards. There are fun mini-games to play around with too, so there’s definitely room for relaxation during Tai’s ‘vacation’ – it’s all very jolly in design.
It’s in the game’s visuals where it feels like Earthbound, with the world and its characters looking like they could’ve come straight out of Nintendo’s famed RPG series. It blends together a modern setting with a touch of the surreal and it makes for some interesting sights in-game, whilst the whole visual style itself never failed to charm throughout too. Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t expect the most detailed visuals that you’d have seen in a retro-inspired RPG, but it still managed to feel pretty throughout the entirety of the roughly five-hour adventure.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita