Last March, developer BenStar released Revita in Steam’s Early Access program to gather fan feedback as the team worked hard on a game they loved. BenStar’s focus on the final product is evident throughout this lovely indie game. Revita bills itself as a twin-stick rogue-lite platformer with mechanics inspired by 2011’s groundbreaking Bound of Isaac. Now, in its full 1.0 release, Revita proves itself to be a fascinating game, with crisp controls, an addictive game loop, and a great soundtrack. The game may contain some learning curve, but it should please many fans of rogue-like games.
Revita begins with players controlling an amnesiac child who wakes up in a mysterious subway station. The story is presented in an unseen way, requiring the player to understand various parts of the world to understand what happened to the boy. The main goal of the player is to reach the top of the final clock tower through a series of smaller towers, each containing multiple floors with a themed twisted boss at the top. Along the way, players encounter a variety of NPCs who will assist them on their journey, each unlocking new mechanics and game progression systems.
Beautiful sprites and colorful battle arenas are scattered throughout Revita’s visual experience. Despite reusing a lot of geometry across its multiple towers, the game manages to never look terribly dull in its backgrounds. Enemy designs are diverse and unique, and players can quickly memorize enemy moves just by glancing at the screen. A beautiful soundtrack that fills the world of Revita captures the melancholic mood of the Memoria Station hub area, while also adding unforgettable jingles to the fast-paced floors where the battles take place. The game also has a neat customizable element; [Layers can put hats on the protagonist and decorate the walls of Memoria Station thanks to unlockable blueprints.
Combat is one of Revita’s greatest strengths and feels very similar to platformers like Cuphead. Revita’s gameplay relies on the player becoming a master of dashing, jumping, and shooting in progressively more intense bullet-hell combat scenarios. While initially difficult to get used to, the game uses the left bumper and left trigger for jumping and dashing becomes intuitive as the action becomes more intense in later levels. Revita is a challenging game at first, and it does have a bit of a learning curve, but the rewards are worth it when players find themselves sliding gracefully through levels, expertly dodging bullets and lasers.
Revita stands out from its contemporaries of platformers with its unique use of player health as a currency. Relics, pickups, and various other items in Revita require players to sacrifice a portion of their health in exchange for goods and services. This risk-reward health management system lets players think about their health and skill levels in new ways. A better player, confident in his abilities, might buy an expensive tier 2 rare relic at one of the game’s various relic fountains for multiple hearts. However, low-skilled players who play low stakes and sacrifice half or whole hearts in chests can still be rewarded with valuable relics that can drastically change the way the game is played.
Players can gain more health by defeating enemies and looting their souls, thus filling up the soul meter. The player can then use the Soul Meter to restore the mind. Also unlocked early on is a combo system that increases the number of souls a player collects based on how quickly they defeat a room of enemies. Revita emphasizes the importance of always mastering its systems, and rewards players generously as they get better at the game; however, it has multiple paths to progress as players fail and try again to master.
It’s worth noting that Revita is a rogue-lite, which means the game keeps throwing new things at the player with each run. While skilled play will take players far in Revita, it’s the constant cycle of failing and trying again that really makes progress. Every death becomes an opportunity to discover something new, whether it’s a secret room containing a new NPC, or a coveted celestial weapon that wipes enemies off the map, there’s always something to discover. Whatever is found will directly help the player, and even curse them with a debuff if they are unlucky. Revita has countless relics of various types, and players can unlock more relics using soul coins in the central area of the game. Many relics boost the player’s stats, and some even have the ability to completely change the way the player fights. If the synergy is correct, a relic that might not be considered valuable could become the key to another running build. Only through trial and error will players discover everything the game has to offer.
Additionally, Revita features a procedural generation system that creates a unique run each time a player fails. No two games really play out the same way. Each spawn generates a new floor with new enemy locations, new relics, new secret rooms, and new level layouts. While the levels never feel too varied structurally, players quickly discover that the game has enough variety in each level to always feel fresh. Entering a new room, assessing the situation, and acting on a plan made in mere seconds is constantly engaging. The variety of items, buildings, discoverable NPCs, and procedurally generated nature of Revita make the whole experience addictive.
Revita is an excellent addition to the roguelike genre’s ever-expanding library of games, and one that fans should keep an eye on. It doesn’t challenge current genre conventions much, but what it does, it does well. Revita introduces a fun health management system that keeps players thinking about the consequences of their actions, and features satisfying combat, responsive platforming, and a great soundtrack. It all comes together to create an addictive package that will keep players coming back to the game’s enchanting towers and gloomy subway stations for many hours to come.
Revita is available now for PC and Switch. Game Rant obtained the PC code for this review.