Review – Reverie

Reverie is a game that captivates you from the moment you step into its world. A game that plays like a 2D Zelda, looks like Earthbound, set in New Zealand and full of retro gaming references and quirky jokes. It’s enough to make me smile, even though it’s not exactly the most polished indie out there.


A washing machine as a boss. Eat your heart out, Zelda!

The premise for Reverie is actually quite good. Think of it as a reminder of how creative your imagination was when you were a kid. You take control of a young New Zealander kid who needs to save the island he’s visiting from some evil entities, all based around a Maori tale called The Fish of Maui. If you’re wondering if I knew about this tale prior to playing Reverie, I didn’t. I was talking to a Kiwi friend of mine about this game and its premise when she suddenly told me about this tale, and everything clicked. I assume that makes the game even more appealing for a New Zealander, as well as the fact a cricket bat is your “sword,” everybody greets you in Maori, there’s a rugby field right next to your house, and so on…


I bet this is hilarious for New Zealanders, but I don’t get it

Atmosphere-wise, this game is fantastic. The small map you have at your disposal is fun to explore and impressively packed with stuff to do besides the main (and short) campaign. The world is filled with kiwis walking around (by that I mean the actual birds), arcade parlors with functioning arcade machines, funny people with funny one-liners, and so on. It’s all very Earthbound-ish if you ask me, from the visuals to the sense of humor. Maybe a bit too Earthbound-ish, as the game looks and feels too much like its source of influence at times.


It’s coarse and rough and irritating. And it gets everywhere…

Gameplay-wise, as previously mentioned, this is basically a simplified version of A Link to the Past. The dungeon design is very similar, the items you can get inside said dungeons are reskinned versions of series staples like the bow and hookshot, you get a health extension at the end of each boss battle, boss keys are necessary in order to reach the main bad guy’s room, loads upon loads of block puzzles, and much more. It gets the job done for the most part, especially due to the fact you’re basically playing a reskinned Zelda in which you fight giant washing machines as bosses, but there are a few flaws.

For starters, the combat isn’t exactly very good. It’s hard to explain, but the way you swing your cricket bat at your foes’ faces isn’t exactly fluid. It feels stiff, unlike Link’s sword. The main issue, however, is the amount of buttons you can assign items to: two. That shouldn’t exactly be an issue, as A Link to the Past only allowed you to assign one item at the time, but the problem is that Reverie features some complex puzzles that occasionally involve three or even four items, forcing you to constantly pause, change the item assignments, unpause, rinse and repeat. You can get used to it, without a doubt, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying.


Ka Mate!

Reverie is an adorable little Zelda clone with a very unique setting and quirky sense of humor. It’s far from being perfect, with some annoying gameplay issues and occasionally unoriginal art style, but it’s still very enjoyable, especially if you’re a fan of A Link to the Past. Exploring a small sprite-based version of New Zealand might be a slightly flawed experience, and not a very long one, but it’s still very fun nonetheless, better enjoyed on a Vita than on a PS4. Luckily, you can download the game on both systems while paying for it only once.

Graphics: 7.0

Reverie‘s visuals boast the same charm as games like Earthbound. In fact, it looks too much like Earthbound.

Gameplay: 6.5

The game tries to copy the well-known gameplay style from 2D Zelda titles, without being as fluid. It needed an extra item slot or two, given the amount of items you use at the same time.

Sound: 7.5

The soundtrack is comprised of some nice 16-bit tunes, but there are some glitches here and there. The sound effects are average at best.

Fun Factor: 8.0

A nice Zelda clone with a quirky sense of humor and a unique setting. It’s not exactly challenging or long, but it’s filled with charm and secrets to unveil.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Reviewed on PS4.
Also available on: PS Vita