If there is one way for a game to grab my attention, making it a rouge-lite, pixel art shooter is a surefire way. From developer BenStar and published by Dear Villagers comes Revita. A game that very much looks like my cup of tea.
“In this fast paced twin-stick roguelite platformer, you play as an unnamed child ascending an ominous clocktower in pursuit of their lost memories. Harvest and sacrifice souls to grow your power in order to challenge procedural encounter rooms and intimidating bosses!”
Revita has already seen a PC and Switch release in 2022, but the game has more recently been launched on the other consoles and I’ve been playing the Xbox version for this review. Featuring the classic ‘easy to play, hard to master’ type gameplay, Revita is a game that will feel instantly recognisable the second you pick up the controller. After a short and very basic tutorial, you are left to make your way up a periodically generated clocktower.
The twin-stick action is easy to slip into and you’ll be taking out a variety of enemies with ease. When taken out, said enemies will leave their souls for you to collect. These souls not only top up your health, they also work as a risk/reward mechanic. See, the currency to buy upgrades here is your health. So, you kill enemies to top up your health, but have to ‘spend’ your health if you want to get further in the game. Different upgrades will cost different amounts of health and it is up to you just how much you are willing to sacrifice. Do you give up all but the last bit of your health for the best upgrades and massively increase the risk of dying, or do you go for a ‘slow but steady’ approach and only spend small amounts of your health for lesser upgrades?
There is a real gamble here and the upgrades are brilliantly designed to tempt you to give up your health. But, you really need to conserve for the big boss fight ahead. This is amplified because, while the clocktower you need to climb is periodically generated, the basic structure remains constant. You get 15 (random) rooms to clear and the boss fight. So you know exactly when you’ll need to ready yourself for a tough battle, but that risk/reward mechanic really plays on your mind as you try to balance your health against the fact that you need to upgrade to survive.
Then there is the story. I’m not going to offer up any spoilers here but there is a warning screen before you play, covering how the game deals with some pretty deep and dark themes such as grief, depression, loss, and even suicide. Revita really gets very, very deep at times and the ‘cute’ 16-bit pixel art hides a far darker and more meaningful title.
Priced at about £15 and is available to buy right now for PC and all the consoles. Revita offers up a simple enough game and one that comes across as a bit too ‘basic’ at the start. Yet, the more you play, the more there is to unravel. There are a load of secrets, weapons, upgrades and more to unlock, even fishing. The risk/reward currency idea really does force you to make some tough decisions. The story goes into some extremely serious depth too. Plus, there is a tough but fair challenge and the main action is a joy to play. One of the best and most amazing shooters I have played this year.