Date: May 11, 2021
While it can be tough to judge a game that isn’t finished yet, you can now pay 15 bucks to buy Revita on Steam, so it seems only fair to ponder whether it’s worth the price of admission. I recently made my way through all of the levels currently in the game, and I think it’s safe to say that roguelite fans should pick this one up. While it doesn’t have any ground-breaking ideas, it’s a tight, fun experience that I’m eager to revisit once the game leaves Early Access (although I might have to try just one more time to beat the whole thing without getting hit while I wait for version 1.0).
The first thing I noticed in Revita, and arguably the most important thing in any roguelite, was that the controls just felt good. My cute little pixel-hero was responsive, and I never once felt like I was battling my keyboard to stay alive or kill the equally cute monsters than inhabit Revita’s clocktower. This is especially important considering that despite your main weapon being a gun, you have to get pretty close to enemies to take them down. Combined with the fact that the all-important souls that enemies drop expire after a short time, you’re faced with the tough decision of slowly taking down the enemies one at a time or else trying to jump and dash around the level snagging the souls before they disappear.
Things become even more touch-and-go if you’ve spent a few of your precious hearts (the game’s health points) to unlock a chest or buy something from the shops you occasionally find. Other roguelites have choices that involve trading health for power, but rarely have they felt this impactful: some powerful early relics require that you give up 3 of your 4 hearts to obtain them. I enjoyed runs where I spent a lot of hearts early the most, as they tended to be the most exciting — being a glass cannon leads to tense moments, as you narrowly avoid death time and time again while making short work of the level’s baddies.
As with any good roguelite, the random drops you can obtain in a run can dramatically alter how your character attacks, moves, or otherwise functions. I haven’t had a chance to discover them all yet, but there seems to be a nice mix of standard stuff (like gaining 4% accuracy each time you clear a room without taking damage) and weirder things that can help or hurt you (like having your bullets be affected by gravity). The game also tracks how high you’ve gotten in the clocktower, and will sometimes give you tougher boss rooms to keep things interesting while you’re facing the floor 1 boss for the 20th time.
The art and music are one of the game’s selling points, and it’s no wonder that the lead developer considers himself an artist first and programmer second. The music is on point, the levels look great, and the non-combat areas give a nice melancholy vibe that’s reminiscent of Hollow Knight’s cute-yet-dreary charm. There’s also plenty of weird NPCs to discover as you make your way up the clocktower.
I was also impressed with Revita’s accessibility options. You change how much damage enemies do or increase and decrease the game’s run speed, among a host of other sliders and options to alter the game’s difficulty. More subtle things like screen flashing and foreground art were also modifiable, and there’s even a slider for aim assist.
Revita isn’t without its flaws, however. Most enemies don’t do a good job forcing you to move, and so the best strategy tends to be standing in one place blasting away until you have to jump over or dash through a few enemy bullets. While you can jump off of walls, and up and down platforms, I rarely felt the need to do so while clearing the regular rooms, unless I was desperate to grab souls. The boss levels were an exception, and are where the game truly shines. To defeat the second and third boss, I found myself using the game’s verticality and dash frequently, and those fights tended to be a lot more exciting than the path to get to them.
It’s possible that the later stages will introduce tougher and more aggressive enemies, forcing the player to dip, duck and dive a bit more than the early levels require. I spoke with lead developer BenStar, who said that the game’s current 15-30ish minute run time will be more like 45-60 minutes when the game is completed. Given that as of writing there are 3 levels, it seems safe to assume that the total amount of levels should double in the leadup to release, and that those levels will push the player to do more to survive. You can of course increase the difficulty in different ways with each successful run, as is standard in the genre.
All in all, I was impressed with Revita. It managed to make me want to play it again even after beating the (for now) final boss, which is something that I’m ashamed to admit I rarely do with roguelites. I enjoyed my time in the clocktower, and I look forward to revisiting Revita when it leaves early access. You can check out the official site for more info on the game, and hear from the creator himself in our interview with Revita developer BenStar!