Sit back, relax, and take in the clean ocean breeze as you settle into one of the coziest indie titles available now for the Nintendo Switch. Reverie was already making its bold, beautiful rounds on the PS Vita, and now it will find a wider audience in its much more successful Switch home in the Reverie: Sweet As Edition. This is a top-down, action/adventure Earthbound/Zelda-like, but most specifically The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past-like, that doesn’t just borrow from its influences. This game full on steals elements from those beloved titles in the best way. Last time I checked, Earthbound and A Link to the Past are not available for play/purchase on the Switch, so if you have the itch to get your colorfully wonderful 16-bit SNES-era puzzle-solving groove on, Reverie has got you covered.
Oh, and did I mention it takes place in New Zealand? Because the game never lets you forget!
Reverie takes place in a fictional island off the coast of New Zealand but then can’t stop talking about New Zealand for the rest of the game! It loves where it’s from. The first weapon you get is a cricket bat. There are kiwis (both bird and fruit) everywhere! This is a proud video game. It’s proud to have two wonderful parents in Earthbound and A Link to the Past. It’s proud to represent 16-bit pixel art well. It’s proud to throw puzzles at you with wild abandon to difficulty spikes that present themselves out of nowhere. Finally, it’s proud to showcase a version of New Zealand that developer Rainbite calls home. All of these aspects came together to charm the living heck out of me.
Like any great Zelda-clone, this game deals with varying environments that both shift the tone and feel of exploration upon entering or exiting them. For example, the “sand area” looks obviously different from the “ghost area”, which looks different from the “volcano area”, etc. The puzzles in each of these dungeons are vastly different than the puzzles in a previous area. One can only imagine that this was very difficult to achieve with such a limited amount of space/resources to work with. The whole map is about half the size of the map in A Link to the Past but keeps each dungeon unique. This presents a game that is both interesting to look at and interesting to traverse.
Some of the puzzles towards the end spike in difficulty to such a degree that it shocked me. I verbally uttered “Wow” a lot leading up to the final boss. I was still able to solve everything without looking it up, but I will say certain puzzles didn’t feel fair. Like, tell me I can hit my pet rock with my cricket bat, please! I could have shaved off an hour of gameplay, bringing my overall time to about 6 hours rather than my final 8 before I saw the credits.
Does this game have replayability? I am not so sure you will want to jump right back in after finishing Reverie. There is one post-credits quest and some collectibles to find around the map. The post-game stuff boils down to a boss-a-thon, and as for the collectibles…well…I actually found all of those throughout the game without even trying. Sure, I opted to play and beat the mini-games along the way, but it was kind of disappointing to realize exactly how short this experience was. I was not expecting a full-on Nintendo first-party level campaign, which was helpful because at the end of the day this is an indie title with limited scope and resources.
Developer: Rainbite Limited
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also PS Vita)
Release Date: 7th February 2019