The game title the protagonist is standing tall with a smile on his face

Reverie: Sweet as Edition Review

Game: Reverie: Sweet as Edition
Genre: Action, Adventure
System: Steam (Windows & Linux) (Also available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PS4 and PS Vita)
Developer|Publisher: Rainbite Ltd | Eastasiasoft
Controller Support: Yes
Price: UK £10.99 | US $12.99 | EU € 12,99
Release Date: June 28th, 2023

Review code provided with many thanks to EastasiaSoft. 

A New Zealand Story

Reverie: Sweet as Edition is a top-down adventure that takes heavy inspiration from a popular Nintendo title where you play as a fella with a green tunic. Or sometimes blue depending on how recent you’re looking. You may think this title has been released already, which were my thoughts when I was offered to review it. But no, this is one of the very rare cases where the PC seems to be the last one to the party. With the increase in popularity of the Steam Deck, this feels like a very good fit for that system, though just as enjoyable on the desktop. No matter how you want to play the game, Reverie is a solid adventure but doesn’t take many risks with its formula. 

Tai is standing in a forest surrounded by cute little Kiwis
Take in the local wildlife.

The game takes place on Toromi Island. A fictional land off the coast of New Zealand. You play as a young boy, Tai, who has been sent to the island to stay with his grandparents. After all, parents need a break sometimes. But this doesn’t end up being the easy-going holiday Tai expects. Turns out there are some cursed spirits on the island whose anger is causing a few issues with the island’s local wildlife and, in some cases, inanimate objects (which we’ll come to later). It’s up to Tai to grab his cricket bat and set off on an adventure to calm these spirits, restore peace, and hopefully find a little time to relax. This is a holiday, after all. There’s something incredibly wholesome about Reverie.

The story is simple yet utterly charming, with a distinct New Zealand flavour. The game’s main collectable even has you collecting feathers from known New Zealand birds. It all feels quite homely and, of course, family-friendly. The game’s graphics have a simple sprite design that feels reminiscent of the Game Boy Advance era. Lots of bright, vibrant colours with a chiptune-like soundtrack. It’s not a game that will test your PC to its limits which may be pleasing to those wanting to try this on a simple laptop. If people still game on those. 

Swap Sword for Cricket Bat

The gameplay resembles older Zelda titles such as Link’s Awakening. The game plays from a top-down view. You explore the map seeking out dungeons filled with enemies and light puzzles. Unlock an item that will help you access new areas around the map and defeat the main boss. You can explore the map between dungeons, talk to NPCs, and engage in a few light mini-games while trying to collect feathers. My favourite moment here is playing a Pong-like mini-game with a microwave (yes, you heard that right). The game has many little moments that scored a chuckle out of me.

Exploring the island is nice, but there isn’t much to do outside the dungeons. What’s cute about the experience is items you expect from a fantasy setting are swapped out for everyday things you find around the house. Your sword is a cricket bat, your bow and arrow is a dart gun, and you pick up pizza slices instead of hearts to replenish health. Even the enemies have a more homely feel to them. You’re fighting bees, weasels and blob monsters. Okay, that last one is a standard fantasy affair. My favourite by far is the angry washing machine which acts as one of the game’s early boss fights. Controls are easy to pick up. Items can be mapped to three buttons on the controller with an easily accessible menu to switch them out. You can even use a roll move to zip around the map a bit quicker. 

Tain is fighting a washing machine in a epic boss fight
The deadliest of bosses

Reverie ticks all the boxes, but it doesn’t take many risks with the formula. Explore six dungeons, look for collectables if you choose, and then call it a day. I didn’t really experience anything new to make the gameplay stand out. Just a formula seen before with a nice New Zealand flavour to it. And you know what? That will probably be totally fine for most gamers looking for a nice short, and sweet experience. I didn’t experience any notable bugs or glitches.

The difficulty never really excels beyond moderate, with the combat being generally quite manageable for enemies and bosses. If you do die, you just restart at the beginning of the dungeon with your items intact. Even if you get a little lost, it has a handy map to point you in the right direction for the next goal. If you do need more of a challenge, a harder difficulty is unlocked upon completion of the game, which shouldn’t take more than 6 hours or a few gaming nights. Summer feels like a good time to release this, as it feels like an ideal pick for a holiday game.

Tai is playing a unique version of the game Pong against a microwave
I never thought I would play Pong with a microwave

Conclusion: A Nice Holiday Game

While Reverie: Sweet as Edition doesn’t reinvent the genre formula. The child-like innocence to its design is what sets it apart and makes it something well worth playing through if you’re looking for an adventure that won’t push you too much in terms of challenge.

It feels like a title where the developers made the video game equivalent of you pretending to play Zelda as a child if you can get your head around that description. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t seem to get much exposure due to a small marketing budget, so hopefully, this review will at least make more people aware of its presence. If you’re looking for a great Summer holiday game with moderate challenge and a feel-good experience, then be sure to pick this one up on PC or any other available platform. 

Final Verdict: I Like it 

I like it

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