Tevi: A Brilliant Fusion of Bullet Hell and Metroidvania
It’s weird to think that a game released so close to the end of 2023 could be a contender for Game of the Year, but developer Crespirit doesn’t seem to mind with the release of the much anticipated Tevi. Following the highly addictive Metroidvania Rabi-Ribi, Tevi acts as a brilliant display of the bullet hell and Metroidvania genres being melded together to create one of the most impressive gaming experiences I have had in quite some time. So before I even get into this review, just know that this is simply a brilliant video game.
Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit in Tevi’s Nonlinear World
Tevi stars a bunny-eared adventurer named Tevi who is investigating mysterious artifacts known as Astral Gears. What they do and the power they contain, no one really knows, but they are highly sought after. In her attempt to infiltrate a bandit hideout, she encounters Celia, who has her own plans for the Astral Gear but decides to use Tevi to gather them up for her. However, her ulterior motive is semi-foiled when a demon boy named Sable just decides to join up with them because he gets lost sometimes. Their relationship grows across the 40-hour adventure and develops in ways I didn’t expect. Although some moments remain light-hearted, such as interactions with Tevi’s rabbit-loving father, there are themes of prejudice and power struggles happening behind the scenes that impact Tevi’s adventure.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Tevi is simply a brilliant video game, melding bullet hell and Metroidvania genres to create an impressive gaming experience.[/perfectpullquote]
Tevi’s Gameplay: A Perfect Mix of Challenge and Customization
One of the standout features of the narrative is how it flows in a nonlinear manner. At any given time, Tevi has several quests that she can investigate, each marked on the map. However, the order that you take on these quests is mostly up to you. While some are blocked off by necessary skills, you’re mostly free to explore and go wherever you’d like. This sense of freedom bleeds into the rollout of the narrative as the worldview expands. Tevi must rise to the occasion and take on some incredibly powerful foes. The true enemy isn’t revealed until much later, but this quest to simply find a few Astral Gears turns into something far grander than I could have imagined.
The gameplay is multifaceted, with plenty of quality-of-life features that will make any Settings nerd drool. On the surface, this is bullet-hell Metroidvania, but there’s more to this adventure than dodging bullets and finding new abilities. There’s an added layer of RPG elements that allow Tevi to level up, customize load out using Sigils, crafting, and even improve combo skills by taking down enemies. There’s a sense of synergy found within exploration that makes it hard to put the controller down. Even with the high degree of challenge, this is a game that will have you saying, “Okay, maybe just 30 more minutes.”
Crespirit’s Masterpiece: Tevi Delivers an Immersive Metroidvania Experience
When it comes to the Metroidvania elements, the map is made up of a bunch of squares full of branching paths and secret areas. It’s pretty standard here, but this is a huge map. Thankfully, the customization systems can be found to enhance exploration with ways to increase Tevi’s speed and then later to add height to her jumps and even a way to dodge. However, this is all rolled out at a pretty slow pace, allowing the player to master combos and ways to utilize the upgrades instead of them being piled onto the player in a matter of an hour. I should also mention that there are a lot of moments where you’ll tell yourself to come back to an area that requires a specific skill, and yes, there are several markers to use that can be placed to remind you.
Sigils are found around the map and provide Tevi with a few buffs. These are also very detailed and will likely be easier to understand after you’ve played for a few hours. However, do things like give Tevi HP for reaching a certain combo length or Stun an enemy for longer, so reading and understanding them is needed. Further, you’ll need EP to equip them, so you may not be able to equip all the Sigils you have. Just keep that in mind.
Materials can also be found in the environment or dropped by enemies. These are used to craft and improve Tevi’s loadout and other equipment. The level of customization is insane here, as this is likely where many player’s playthroughs will differ. You likely won’t have enough materials for everything you want, so you’ll need to think wisely about how you spend them, but anything you upgrade will benefit Tevi’s survivability.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The nonlinear narrative in Tevi is a breath of fresh air, allowing players the freedom to explore and uncover a grander story than expected.[/perfectpullquote]
The bullet-hell elements are mostly found in the boss battles. Each boss has an astounding number of attack patterns and a special ability. At any given moment, bullets and lasers will fill the screen, requiring you to dodge or take damage. I’ve played a lot of bullet-hell games in my day, and I gotta say, I love Tevi’s hitbox. While the intensity of the fights gets a little more insane on higher difficulties, I believe playing on Normal or even Normal+ offers a decent layer of challenge but doesn’t overdo it. Still, you can change the difficulty at any time at Tevi’s house. Anyway, the bosses are amazing, and if you die, you can restart at a checkpoint right before the battle.
While there are healing items, I wouldn’t rely on them because you have to craft or buy them, and that just seemed like too much effort to me. So, I rarely had items, but I still got through bosses after a few tries. I will say the lead-up to the ending has some of my favorite bullet-hell boss fights that felt like I was playing some fan Touhou Project game. When it comes to normal enemies, the challenge is also found here, as you’re required to avoid a group of enemy attacks, but it’s much more of a straightforward action experience.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Developer Crespirit has crafted a captivating adventure with stunning visuals and refined gameplay mechanics, making Tevi a must-play title in the Metroidvania genre.[/perfectpullquote]
I had an awesome time exploring the vast world of Tevi. Its various levels and themes are each gorgeous in their own way, and I can gush about the sprite work for hours. During dialogue, CGs are also used to showcase the character’s illustrated versions, and they are all adorable. Every element of gameplay has been refined to cater to the player and provide an experience that can be fine-tuned in some way. It’s an adventure that any can take on, and it’s one you won’t want to end.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Tevi’s gameplay offers a perfect blend of bullet-hell intensity, RPG elements, and customization that keeps you coming back for ‘just 30 more minutes.[/perfectpullquote]
Tevi stands as a testament to the creative brilliance of developer Crespirit. It seamlessly blends the bullet-hell and Metroidvania genres into a captivating and immersive gaming experience. With its non-linear narrative, intricate gameplay mechanics, and stunning visuals, Tevi is a must-play title that deserves recognition within the genre. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or new to Metroidvanias, Tevi offers an adventure that will keep you hooked till the credits.
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