I’ll start by saying that Reverie: Sweet As Edition is an absolute delight. The five-six hours I spent with the game had me transfixed with a beaming smile on my face. The developer, Rainbite, have created a game that magically whisked me back to being an 8-year-old, on an adventure of exploring the great outdoors with a stick in hand pretending I was fighting off all manner of nasty creatures. This is enhanced by the fact Reverie plays just like a couple of games I was playing back when I was that age by paying homage to past 16-bit action/RPG games; The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past in its combat and gameplay mechanics and Earthbound with it’s vibrant art style and aesthetics.
It would be unfair to call Reverie: Sweet As Edition just another clone of these games, as it has so much more to offer, which is aided by its modern day setting. Too often a lot of retro action/RPG games take on a fantasy or science fiction setting so it was refreshing that Reverie is set on a fictional island just off New Zealand in the present day. I think it’s quite possibly the first time I’ve played a game that is set in New Zealand and I was eager to see if the Kiwi bird would make an appearance and I’m very happy to report that later in the game, or with a little bit of exploration, you can track them down!
Reverie: Sweet As Edition has you take on the role of a young boy called Tai who visits his grandparents for a holiday on Toromi Island. Little does he know that the island is being haunted by the spirits of four brothers causing havoc to the natives. Tai seemingly stumbles on finding one of the spirits in his grandparent’s basement and from there goes on a quest to free them all and bring peace back to the Island. The story is inspired by the folklore tale of sibling rivalry called Maui and the Giant Fish and it’s a satisfying and fresh story, which is easy to relate to if you grew up in a household with competitive brothers and sisters. Narration as a whole in Reverie: Sweet As Edition is rather excellent, especially when chatting to the inhabitants of the island as they are often quite amusing and throw in the odd pop culture reference.
So how does Tai go about defeating the spirits haunting the island? Surely it’s with a trusty wooden sword and a bow and arrow like most games in this genre, right?! Wrong! The modern day setting brings a superb array of unique items and weapons. Tai makes good use of his cricket bat to pulverise the local fauna and, much like A Link to the Past, new items and abilities are unlocked in conquering the game’s dungeons which then allows you to unlock new areas across the Island.
Replacing the bow and arrow, and working in much the same way, is clearly the weapon all kids love – the nerf gun! And who didn’t have a yo-yo as a child? Boom it’s in the game and acts as the best way of hitting those switches that are just out of reach and is very useful in stunning enemies too. You do come across more traditional items such as a shovel which is used for moving rocks that are blocking your path. However, there is one absolutely hilarious item you get just over midway into the game which had me in stitches and is so imaginative. All I will say is that it’s called ‘Stephen’.
Combat is basic, you either whack or shoot an enemy into submission and you can roll to avoid getting hit, there is no shield to block attacks. There is a good variety of enemies which all require different techniques to defeat, such as having to use the shovel to flip a turtle on its back in order to attack it, as its shell protects it from regular attacks from your bat. My only gripe with combat and the gameplay as a whole is that it’s too easy and lacks challenge. With the game arriving on the Nintendo Switch in the ‘Sweet As Edition’, it does thankfully give you the opportunity to play on the ‘Nightmare’ difficulty mode once you have completed the game. This definitely ramps up the challenge but it’s a shame this mode can’t be accessed from the very beginning.
Another slight annoyance I had with Reverie: Sweet As Edition is that you often have to swap between items in the menu as you can only equip two items at the same time along with your bat. More often than not as you’re progressing through the dungeons, you’ll need more than the two items you have equipped to solve the puzzles to proceed. For example, when you get the ability to swim once you have found a pair of swimming goggles (god forbid you dare risk swimming without a pair) you have to have these equipped in one of your slots, which is a tad annoying. The ‘Sweet As Edition’ does introduce an item wheel simply by pressing ZL which makes changing weapons and items a little quicker, however, this was never shown to me and I literally only learnt it existed about halfway through the game. My fault entirely for not properly looking at the controls in the main menu but another reference to it could have been useful.
Reverie: Sweet As Edition’s dungeons, of which there are 6 in total (though one of them is a challenge dungeon unlocked once the credits roll) are the real heart of the game and each one is unique in utilising a specific tool to conquer them. Thankfully though, they all are the perfect length and don’t require much backtracking, thus don’t overstay their welcome and become tedious at all. A lot of the dungeons feel like they have been dreamt up from a child’s wild imagination ranging from the scary basement of your grandparents’ house to a giant sandcastle that you built yourself. Each dungeon brings about a host of puzzles to solve and while the first 3 or 4 are pretty simple the remaining ones are much more complex and had me scratching my head a few times wondering which of my tools would be best used to overcome the tricky situations.
Of course, the aim is to get to the end of the dungeon to face the boss that has been processed by one of the spirits. These encounters do vary from dungeon to dungeon and no one boss battle is exactly the same, which I liked. Again, they tend to be pretty simple and once you have worked out the best method you just rinse and repeat a few times for quick success.
Traversing the Island is a joy thanks to the wonderfully vibrant pixelated art style where each area of the map has its own theme including sandy beaches, dense woodlands, a spooky graveyard and a volcanic mountain area. Again, much like the dungeons, the map feels so concise and purposeful. There’s an opportunity to explore off the beaten track to find collectables of which Reverie: Sweet As Edition tasks you with finding in total 20 feathers. Some of these feathers are found through doing very short quests from the residents or taking part in mini games such as in the main town’s arcade or playing air hockey with a microwave (how very random?!).
Also, the developers have included a really neat touch to address the Nintendo Switch’s lack of a trophy or achievements system. They have decided to create a built-in achievement system called Stamps, where there are 36 to unlock in total. I would love more developers creating or porting games to the console to include something like this as it really does give you the incentive to spend longer with the game to get to full completion.
I had a blast playing Reverie: Sweet As Edition. It’s a superb nostalgia trip which oozes charm and feels so right being on a Nintendo console. It honestly feels like it could have been created or endorsed by Nintendo themselves, it just has that magical feel and high quality to it. Some experienced players might be put off by its easy difficulty, but Reverie’s unique style and charisma makes it well worth experiencing as it’s a whole lot of fun that can be enjoyed by all.
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Reverie: Sweet As Edition£11.99
- - Simple combat with some very imaginative weapons and items
- - Vibrant, varied environments oozing with charm
- - Creative dungeons and puzzles
- - A short and sweet nostalgia trip with plenty of heart
- - A little on the ‘too easy’ side
- - Regularly having to swap items is a chore