Reventure has everything I love to see in an indie game: a unique concept, well executed, and with a fun sense of humor. Despite being a bit turned off by the over-pixelation, the game was a blast to play and kept me wanting to try new things.
Reventure has a fairly simple premise, story-wise. An evil overlord has kidnapped the Princess and the King has asked you to retrieve her. In terms of a base story, it does not get much more simple than that.
What makes Reventure interesting is that you’re never told how to rescue the Princess. You are just given freedom to move around and explore the two-dimensional world. Through your exploration you will find new items, shortcuts, traps, and areas to explore.
One fun aspect of Reventure is that each item you collect weighs you down slightly. Early on you have to make the decision whether to grab the shield or jump to an overhanging platform which you will not be able to reach if carrying the shield. By affecting your jumping, Reventure turns every item into a decision. I need the sword to fight off the minions, but if I grab the sword, I won’t be able to reach the platform I just passed. What should I do?
Also, you will die. A lot. This is not to say that the game is difficult. Most enemies that appear can be killed with one swing of the sword. Instead, Reventure is a game built around the concept of death as both the means to the end and the end. Your goal is to not just learn through your experiences and deaths, but to seek out and experience the 100 endings offered by the game.
Each ending includes a short explanation about how you died, failed, succeeded, or were otherwise detained. You then get a little plaque commemorating your ending and are set free to try again, this time with a different combination of items or a different plan altogether.
Reventure’s main conceit, its 100 endings, is also its main draw. Every time you reach an ending, you feel empowered to try again with something new. Unlike other games where death can lead to intense frustration and an increase in your skill (I’m looking at you Dark Souls), Reventure actually makes you feel good for each ending you receive. Each ending is an achievement and feels worth obtaining. In that way, the game is similar to The Stanley Parable.
There is also something to be said for providing the right amount of humor in the game. Given how much time is spent watching your character fail, it is a credit to Reventure’s writing team that each ending feels amusing. Each time some new action ended the game, I found myself more amused than annoyed.
My one nitpick with Reventure is the pixel graphics. While the style is interesting, it is often hard to tell what one clump of pixels is supposed to be. Especially early on in the game, I found myself staring a bit too hard at the screen to try to make out what my character was supposed to look like. Fortunately, the pixelation does not seem to have negative effects on the gameplay and each item that can be affected by your actions is designed to be clearly distinguishable.
Overall, I would highly recommend Reventure for fans of exploration and light comedy. It is not an incredibly difficult game and it is not extremely action oriented, but if you enjoy trying new things and finding new secrets in games, then Reventure will be a great use of a few hours. In two hours, I have been able to reach roughly 25 of the 100 endings and I am itching to go back and try one more thing.