Other than the many hours of Beat Hazard logged on my ancient iPod Touch, I can’t say I’m well-versed in twin-stick shooters. The genre blew up in popularity during the early days of mobile gaming, but most of them eventually disappeared from App Stores over the years. Still, their popularity persists in titles like Enter the Gungeon, Geometry Wars 3, and even NieR: Automata, all of which are technically entirely different genres. Today, however, I’m taking a look at Revita, a brand-new Early Access title that throws a little bit of Hollow Knight into the typical twin-stick shooter gameplay, delivering a roguelike side-scrolling adventure that hooked me from the very first run.
Revita is a procedurally-generated, tower-climbing room shooter featuring challenging combat, an intriguing risk-reward progression system, and a boatload of atmosphere. The action moves between high-stakes combat areas and a moody subway station hub that you’ll have to help fix to reach the top of the tower.
The loop of getting coins during runs to upgrade your base is nothing new, but the mystery of where you are and who this guy from the beginning was had me invested in progress. There’s also the added plot of why this stranger claims to be siphoning off your life force the more you enter the tower.
Jumping into a run at the tower, Revita demonstrates early on that the player will need quick reflexes to dodge enemies, projectiles, and traps through intense glass-cannon gameplay. Your health bar is extremely small, and while you can get some of it back by killing enemies, that process is painstakingly slow. You’ll have to be even more careful as you become bolder, particularly once you unlock the first upgrade that enhances your regeneration if you kill enemies more quickly.
This combines with the many opportunities for players to sacrifice some of their precious health for a blessing from the goddess, a potential boon in future fights, or to rescue the trapped soul of a resident of the subway station. The game quickly establishes a sense of how much you stand to gain or lose each time you’re asked to give up even a single heart of your life bar.
What I would like to see from Revita in its full release is more variety in the combat at an earlier stage; even though I became almost instantly addicted to failing and starting over with an idea of what I did wrong, the first few rooms do get somewhat monotonous. I also think it needs a bit more of a generous warm-up for each run – perhaps a free heart or two at the first safe zone you encounter – because one of the most frustrating things that can happen is taking a cheap hit in the first room and realizing that your run is probably already screwed.
TAll that being said, Revita is already shaping up to be an excellent title that rewards players willing to put in the work to ascend the tower, and I’m excited to see what comes in the final release.
Revita is out now in Steam Early Access.
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