Revita: The Expected Rebirth! (pc, switch)

Right now, Roguelite and Roguelike fans are in heaven. It must be said that recent releases have been able to offer a certain innovation: denser and better-lit scenarios, even more dynamic gameplay or even fewer and fewer “punitive” deaths. Today we are interested in a Roguelite / Roguelike that is just part of the list of these recent successes: Revita.

This game was created by BenStar (aka Benjamin Kiefer). This big fan and enthusiast of Roguelite/Roguelike started out as an independent developer with a clear dominance for pixel art. He has a few softs to his name, but of different genres we think of Fuel, a “Shmup” in the vein of Asteroid, the rhythm game Feed The Beat, or the artistic axis of the web game Tiny Dadpa. And, of course, Revita, whose development began six years ago.

A small parenthesis, note that as Revita therefore saw its development begin in 2016, it was officially announced in October 2020, before going through a lengthy Early Access from March 2021. The possibility for the developer to show his first works, before modifying various aspects with updates, even today. Let’s close this digression, now let’s talk about this mysterious and gripping story, with heavy themes of suicide, mental health and bereavement.

the taste of discovery

The adventure begins when we (via a very well designed tutorial) help a young boy climb the floors of the bell tower. We don’t know anything about him, who he is or where he comes from, he has amnesia. Arriving at the top of this clock tower, he encounters a strange creature who says words to him that are just as strange: “each time you die, there is a little less of you and a little more of me”.

After these words, a fierce battle takes place between these two creatures, then the boy dies, but curiously enough, we find him just as quickly in a subway station. Tears in his eyes, and in search of his lost memories, he sets out again to attack this multi-storey tower, going from metro station to station…

What is this mysterious world? Why does this young boy have the “ability” to be reborn after death, as we’ve already seen in movies like Edge of Tomorrow or even Boss Level? And who is this strange character on top of this tower? Questions that will find their answer little by little, especially through dialogues with NPCs, and this after each death. This is how, like some titles of the genre, and derivatives (like Hades for example), or those that use the “cryptic” aspect, Revita encourages us to interact as much as possible to discover all facets of its history. All in all a very fast adventure.

Addictive gameplay

We then quickly get caught up in the game of linking runs – and voluntarily losing them – to unravel all the possible secrets, and there really are a lot of them.

Revita is therefore a game that combines Platform, Dual Stick Shooter and Roguelite with a 2D scrolling vision. These facets and the very easily accessible gameplay immediately remind us of games like Neon Abyss. If the process is close by with a jump function, an aiming system, shots with a rifle, as well as a dash for the bases, it is also so because of its evolution in different and different stages, but stop, the similarity usually ends there, because Revita has also an identity of its own.

Starting with the randomly shaped rooms on each run, where Neon Abyss had procedurally generated juxtaposed rooms, and “elevator” style floors to climb with a boss at the end of each environment.

The goal couldn’t be simpler: you have to go to each floor, defeat all the opponents in it, and this in every possible way. We therefore make sure to observe carefully all the opponents in the room, such as “slugs/caterpillars” advancing very quickly, flying opponents, blobs making jumps towards us, and/or even traps like poison, or even spikes that are more difficult detectable from time to time.

The games and the grip are great fun, and provide an excellent feel. There may only be a few commands, but it’s really enough, especially since the title also hides some surprises, such as a possible health regeneration linked to a “soul meter”.

After fully cleaning a room, a passageway to a new floor is opened, and sometimes even some other rooms can become “adjacent”, the latter giving access to “secret” rooms.

Risks, gains, innovation

These also contain a seller of relics, an opening of chests or a possible offering to, for example, a “statue”. Be careful during these interactions though, if you can obtain objects and relics with active, passive effects or even certain curses, you must make a trade at the cost of your own life, be it half a heart, a whole heart. heart or more. The effects of these relics / objects are many, each run, as in Neon Abyss, is associated with a dose of luck, but also benefits from a regular and very welcome renewal so as not to feel fatigue.

Among the effects, for example, one can access 20% extra damage, family members lend a hand, triple shots in exchange for a rate of fire and greatly reduced damage, etc. or more nasty penalties and even handicaps that even add our bonuses at the end of a environment for example. We then have to think carefully about what we want to do by more or less assessing the future risks.

Are we going to keep a few health points in reserve for the rest of the crossing from the current location, to access new relics, or even improve them with a blacksmith? Or take the risk of accumulating the effects of the relics at a very high price? Knowing that some relics are also obtained in a more traditional way, that is, sometimes after cleaning a room, and this without resorting to the sacrifice of PVs.

And we haven’t even told you about the Temple of Remembrances that serves as the HUB. Without saying too much to leave you with some discoveries, there are several NPCs present, and others will go to this place after offering you help, to help you in return. An element that we advise you not to neglect!

In addition, Revita benefits from a nice palette of accessibility options such as enemy damage, the graphics palette, the font or even general speed acceleration for example, a nice introduction to the subject for beginners who can easily learn about the genre. In the end, we’ll only regret a few minor bugs, such as certain empty dialog boxes, or opponent’s chara design that looks a bit too similar, even if they’re varied nonetheless.

A neat sound and visual display

From a visual standpoint, as with its previous productions, BenStar has chosen to use pixel art rendering in its purest form. But do not believe that the title is a pixelated mess, on the contrary, we feel the mastery with the choice of shadow, light and the association of color tones. It is clear that the artistic direction of the different environments and the Temple of Remembrance is very beautiful. Same observation for transitions in “kinematics”.

Let’s end with the sound aspect, the different themes of the game are very varied and catchy, reminiscent of the SNES and Megadrive games of the good old days, and we even enjoy a melancholic and sad song, a success! Finally, we mention that the texts are written in French.

Tested on switch

Without revolutionizing the genre’s formula, because it’s not for that, Revita is nevertheless a small diamond in the rough. Cut into six years of development by its creator BenStar, we feel the various inspirations, as well as the elements that make the software a standalone work with a personality of its own. For example, the story and themes will make you want to keep exploring in full, the gameplay mechanics are very addictive, fun and the risk/reward system makes for some reflection, all with accessibility options. In addition, his pixel art visual palette and music are very catchy. If you like the genre, or want to discover it, we really recommend diving into Revita!

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