Oh no! The princess has been kidnapped. Never fear, Tom is on the job! Wait, he fell into some spikes. Don’t worry, his cousin Lumpy will take over. What? He shattered all his bones in a fall? Don’t worry, someone else will turn up. Adventure never sleeps.
Reventure is a pixel art puzzle platformer which borrows as much from Groundhog Day and Final Destination as it does Mario Bros and Castlevania. It sounds like a mish-mash of concepts, but oddly it is all combined into quite a cohesive game by developer and publisher Pixelatto (Website, Facebook, Twitter).
Players are given charge of a succession of heroes. Each hero may look different, and have a unique name, but they all control the same. Being a platformer at its core, the standard suite of move left and right, as well as jump, is utilised.
As they navigate the world, though, players can collect items. This can be a straight forward as a sword or shield, to more exotic items like a grappling hook or a teddy bear. Every item has a use, sometimes not a fantastically beneficial one (nuclear warhead, I’m looking at you), but one which plays back into the central conceit of the game.
What is this conceit? Why, to adventure. Again, and again.
The players mission is simple, to rescue the princess. But the hero’s tale can end many ways. 100 ways, in fact. One ending may see the hero battle against the menacing Dark Lord. Another may see them walk out their front door and trip on a rock, landing face first.
More often than not the endings are unpleasant, and result in the demise of the hero. Luckily there is always a cousin, a hobo, or a cat, to take the place of the new champion. Or sometimes the hero survives, dropped back at the start of the adventure freshly impaled or rid of all bones.
Play happens in one big, seamless world. At the heart is the hero’s house, around which stretch towering mountains, deep caves and more. Everything isn’t as it seems, though. Secret passages litter the landscape, as well as areas that require certain items to access. Very often there are secrets within secrets, and multiple ways in and out of areas.
There is also a hint system, which consists of cryptic clues found on scrolls. These can help to direct the player’s efforts; if they can decipher them. Alternatively players can find a particular item that will lead them in the right direction for each hint, though it takes up a valuable item spot.
To be honest I am utterly impressed with Reventure. It’s a simple idea which delivers a vastly replayable experience, and seems to neatly encapsulate the idea of a modern interpretation of retro gameplay and aesthetics.
The controls and movement are simple, yet elegantly handled. Players only need direction and two buttons. Complexity comes from what items the hero carries, and how these effect the player’s interactions within the world.
Each ending is interesting, and a puzzle in unto itself. Very often an ending can be discovered, and then tweaked by reattempting it with slightly different items. Usually to equally disastrous and hilarious results. But these provide strong “Ah ha!” moments which prompt further experimentation and exploration.
Audio and visuals are obviously retro inspired. But because of smooth area transitions, distinct sounds and some quite atmospheric lighting effects Reventure offers a lot of variety. Even though it only draws on the same handful of sprite elements.
Reventure is so well crafted that there isn’t really anything wrong with it. The menu can be a little unintuitive, since it lacks direction on how to go back to the start or even quit. But this is fairly easy to figure out, given the game only uses two buttons. Apart from this the game almost glows from being a well made and tested product.
If platformers, puzzle games or Metoidvanias are of any interest to you then Reventure will give you a lot to love. So far it has soaked up six hours, just over 50 endings discovered, and I hardly noticed the time fly by. I was just that engrossed, and having so much fun. Best of all, the game is extremely reasonably priced. Add it to your collection as soon as you can. You won’t regret it.
Reventure is developed and published by Pixelatto. It is available through Steam now.