Occasionally here at Player2.net.au, we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for a blockbusting amount of time (5ish hours) and report back to you, the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Reverie
PS Vita (PS4 Soon)
Just when you thought that the days of games coming to the Playstation Vita were over, and then all of a sudden along comes the team at Rainbite with Reverie. Rainbite, a New Zealand based developer (Check out our interview with the team here) have found themselves inspired by Super Nintendo era games such as Earthbound and The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past and the product is a game that is heavily informed by those titles but also does some subtle things to stand apart from its predecessors.
Being such a small country, with a small stamp on the overall gaming landscape, New Zealand is fairly under-represented in the overall scene, but for there’s much we can learn about the country, it’s people and their sense of humour from Reverie. Instead of assuming the role of a Link or Ness, and those with a clear destiny to save the world, you fill the boots of Tai, a young boy who travels to a fictitious island off the coast of New Zealand to visit his grandparents. On the journey over Tai (and the player) is introduced to the story of Maui, a demigod who, with his magical fishing hook, raised Toromi Island, causing conflict amongst him and his brothers. As someone who wasn’t especially familiar with this story, outside of Disney’s take on it in Moana, I was immediately interested, so it was unfortunate that the game doesn’t capitalise on this strong opening, squandering a number of opportunities to emphatically flesh the story out further.
As well as its aesthetic influence, we see more traces of Earthbound in Tai’s character design, from his attire to the cricket bat he carries with him as a weapon (much like Ness’ baseball bat). Combat is a fairly simplistic affair, playing out similarly to classic Zelda entries; top-down, action-centric, with a few select alternate tools to use in combat or puzzles as you explore the winding dungeons of Toromi Island. While the dungeons themselves are fairly cliche in their inspiration, the strategies you need to take consider to overcome the many hurdles within each dungeon are quite varied. No room feels the same, no puzzle feels familiar and rarely do you need to use the same approach or combination of tools to avoid the threats of each dungeon. Some late-game dungeons are seriously mind-bending with some still leaving me scratching my head as to how I managed it, but despite a small lack of balance in these dungeons, they’re still enjoyable to slug through regardless.
The world is teeming with personality, and those living on Toromi Island provide plenty of fun and games for you to experience. They will send you on some quite entertaining and engaging side-quests, and while some of these are undoubtedly some references that only NZ locals will understand, and several others that have an impact no matter your place of birth.
Reverie is one of those games that owes much of what it achieves to what came before it, however, Rainbite has also done a fantastic job at leveraging its personality to differentiate itself from the pack. There are certainly some missed opportunities with the imbalance of the latter half dungeons and NPCs that don’t have all that much to say once you’ve spoken to them the once, but all-in-all, Reverie is a fantastic experience that you ought to check out. Though the Vita is most certainly on its last legs, Rainbite I thank you, for doing your bit to send it off in a strong way.