Title: Reverie: Sweet As Edition
Developer: Rainbite Ltd
Release Date: June 28, 2023
Reviewed On: PS5
Publisher: Eastasiasoft Limited
Genre: Action, Adventure
Many indie games mix and match titles in an attempt to create something unique. Which I mean, great! But that sort of combining can create some mixed results, and unfortunately, Reverie: Sweet As Edition is on the bad side of that mixture, as a poor adventure game that barely does anything to stand out.
Reverie: Sweet As Edition is a remaster of the original Reverie game that was originally released on PlayStation 4 and the Vita. In this story, you play as Tai, a young kid who goes on a vacation to Toromi Island. But unfortunately, the island is suffering from a plague of evil spirits that refuse to know peace. And who else is better than a kid to help solve an island’s problems right? I mean, if Pokémon did it, then anything is possible.
Jokes aside, there are five dungeons in Toromi Island in total, with a sixth that opens up after beating the game. At a glance, these dungeons take a lot of design inspiration from many games, but mostly from Zelda. So the usual deal: Traverse through rooms, kill enemies, and solve some puzzles to get to the big boss room at the end. The puzzles are quite original in design, but in practice, they’re often very simple.
For the most part however, you’ll likely have to use the special item you get inside it, but here comes one of the major issues…you can only equip items to R1 or Triangle and nothing else. This means that you’ll have to swap between items pretty frequently, depending on the puzzle at hand, though thankfully, pressing L2 will bring up an Item Wheel that allows you quickly swap out your items.
Speaking of the Item Wheel feature, there are a number of features added to this port of Reverie, which is why it is called the Sweet As edition. One of those additions include a new minigame where you shoot projectiles at enemies and earn points, and the ability to run the game at 120 FPS thanks to the added processing power. Still, the added content in the Sweet As edition doesn’t add a grand amount of hours to the gameplay, but I suppose that if you take the consideration its price and its petite size, I guess it sort of makes sense.
I would be amiss to not mention the elephant in the room, and that is that Reverie: Sweet As Edition feels extremely out of place on the PlayStation 5. Compared to playing on the Vita’s relatively small screen, playing this on a TV doesn’t really bring the “GBA Zelda” charm that it’s supposed to bring. Furthermore, the soundtrack is…mostly forgettable, and the enemy variety you encounter is just really small, with recolors of the same enemy type appearing before you know it.
At the end of each dungeon, you have a boss, which, similar to other puzzles, will utilize certain items. But they’re incredibly easy to figure out, and even if you die, you’ll probably just find out how to beat them without even taking damage. And the final boss? He’s super easy. Far easier than the dungeon itself, in my opinion. The bosses’ design do look inspired on folklore, but I wouldn’t peg them as “New Zealand”, to be fair.
Following the credits, there sadly wasn’t any New Game+, which limits any replayability. Furthermore, the “sixth secret dungeon” is nothing more than an enemy gauntlet with your reward being an amulet that doubles your money count. Which…to be honest, given that I managed to effortlessly obtain the maximum amount of currency you can hold, which is 200, it’s only there if you want to challenge yourself.
When it comes to the graphics, Reverie: Sweet As Edition’s 16-bit is cute and sort of reminds me of the Earthbound series, specifically Mother 3, especially since your initial weapon is your father’s old baseball bat. Still, the plot is absolutely non-existent, and though the game says it’s inspired by New Zealand, truthfully, with how little dialogue there is, I don’t feel like I learned anything about New Zealand’s culture or its atmosphere.
That being said, there is other stuff to do besides the dungeons, such as feather collecting and two minigames to play. These are spread all across the map, and completing your album earns you a trophy and lets your grandmother stitch special clothing for you. There are also the minigames I’ve mentioned earlier. You can play a small shmup on the arcade or play Pong with a microwave, with either of those activities earning you a feather if you get a high score.
Reverie: Sweet As Edition is a cute 16-bit game. While its presentation has everything you’d want from a retro-inspired adventure, its systems sadly don’t hold up. The entire experience is over before you know it, with the credits rolling to an unfulfilling conclusion. Regardless, the price is right for this release, but I can’t help but urge you to play something else.
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