Another day another 2D rogue-like early access game… All jokes aside, I’m pretty happy with this one. The name of this game directly inspires its mechanics. It’s a game that gives you many ways to profit off of purposefully spending health, yet leveraging enemy kills to Revitalize yourself (aka heal). It’s a 2D action platformer heavily inspired by Megaman X with run and gun gameplay and a bit of bullet hell seasoning. I also really enjoy the art style and some of the gorgeous scene compositions during cutscenes. I haven’t seen all of Revita, but from what I understand, it delivers a coming of age story about a young man dealing with loss and anxiety. And from the get-go, the soundtrack hooks you with some real bangers using chiptune, rock, and orchestral arrangements to great effect.
I’m gonna mention this earlier on than I probably typically would, but I do really enjoy playing on the edge and trying to capitalize on greed as much as possible. That being said, sometimes enemies and obstacles can be a tad too unpredictable or just plain hard to distinguish – which can lead to some really cheap feeling deaths because, well, I set myself to very low health. This may vary widely between players, and I don’t necessarily think that the game is obviously unfairly difficult per se. I just figured I’d mention it, because those moments came up where sometimes playing risky feels like the ONLY way to survive a good run. However, you can feel like your mileage in terms of what perks you can gain can be hard to measure. You are rewarded from multiple runs via tokens which can be used to modify further playthroughs with more gameplay options, power-ups, or other goodies.
For the most part, Revita is a great time, but I think I found myself frustrated with the game in ways I wouldn’t be, if I could pin it squarely on any specific fault of Revita, or just the growing pains of learning any new rogue-like. I also personally experienced fairly frequent, and noticeable, frame drops that would make the entire game feel like it’s running in half-time until reboot, but I’m chalking that up to my less than stellar setup, hopefully that’s the case anyways. There is also an aspect where time freezes intentionally, I still don’t quite understand the reasoning behind that. I’m not sure what could attribute to this phenomenon, so I ‘ll allow you to judge for yourself.
Revita is a pretty run-of-the-mill rogue-like, it has the same select environments, procedurally generated level layouts, enemy locations, and rewards. There are some uniqueness though, such as a guaranteed risk/reward shrine that allows you to pay hearts for a corresponding bonus based on how much you spent. That’s actually a big focus of the game, you are rewarded for not getting hit by consciously leveraging your health as a resource to enable your build. In other words, you WANT to hurt yourself on your own terms to get that sweet, sweet shot for stat increases, or other goodies. The other thing that’s supposed to counteract this, but really doesn’t and kinda just sucks for new players, is the fact that you can collect soul power to regenerate health. The thing is, especially early on before you unlock permanent upgrades that can help alleviate this, it takes FOREVER to reliably heal yourself. On top of that it often never felt worth it to spend it all when you were, seemingly, just as likely to get a similar reward paying less. I’m sure mathematically there is a benefit to spending more hp, but without knowing the exact odds, and going purely off of anecdotal evidence, it never felt worth spending more than a heart on a reward. Granted, I see this problem expressed in the forums, and most people cite that the game would be painfully easy since for some players, it’s already not necessary to win the game by spending your life away to dangerous levels. And I understand the perspective that a rogue-like should encourage players to actually improve in the game and not just rely on brute forcing the game via an overpowered build. In practice, the feeling of a wide variance among the kind of rewards you get can make it feel like I just stumbled upon items that made my life one hundred times easier without necessarily taking in too much of my player input. I would feel like “Did I do something that made me deserve this?” and just leave the situation with a “We take those?” or a “Welp that was gonna be impossible…”.
I suppose viewing the game purely outside the random elements, you can probably find decent success winning the game without a single upgrade considering the generous amount of invincible dash, both in the air and on the ground, you have, even if it’s on a cooldown, as well as the amount of mobility you have in general. Granted your mileage may vary depending on both your experience with bullet hells and run and gun platformers. I will note again, that there are times where it was incredibly difficult to pay attention to the clutter of enemies on screen, which did lead to moments of sucker punches where enemies blended into the foreground for me or hazards surprised me. I think as you play though, this may be alleviated, especially if you choose to play very safely. But the fact that by default, your weapon is very short ranged forces you to some degree to find high ground, or just die, because the level design just happens to sandwich you between enemy spawns. However, for the most part, your ground and air mobility will serve you well, even if most level layouts are pretty claustrophobic compared to other games like “Nuclear Throne” that feel less confined. I don’t think this is entirely a bad thing, as it does help control the pacing of the game, and makes gameplay pretty easy to pick up and grasp. I enjoyed the player progression, whether it be unlocking new facilities outside of a run, unlocking new goodies during runs, or getting goodies for achievements and other milestones. In between levels, you also have the ability to spend PERMANENT heart containers for perk boosts, which are often not worth it, but appears to be acknowledged by the Dev as something they are actively considering.
Revita is still going to be a ‘recommend’ at the end of the day, but I still would lean on people waiting a bit for this one unless it REALLY sings to them. That may sound confusing, but there are times where I emphatically encourage people to pick up a game, and this one feels like a soft suggestion. I wouldn’t blame you if you skipped it, but it has enough good that I’ll give it a bit of a spotlight. My issues mainly involve the rogue-like elements feeling a bit tacked on and the life manipulation mechanics feeling a tad unsatisfying for how strongly emphasized it all is. I will still praise the aesthetic, the music, the world building, and the thematic significance of the bosses. The bosses themselves are also very memorable despite some of the baddies’ somewhat uninspired designs. There are some notable differences of the type of hazards from area to area, but a lot is remixed, however you may take that. In conclusion, it has a lot of charm, but there are other games in the genre, like “Hades” that will likely eclipse this game. Revita is a good game that deserves some love, but it’s a bit early on for me to say that it’s going to go on to be the next indie darling or anything.
A review copy was provided by the dev.
Hellfirebam has awarded Revita the Indie Gamer Seal of Approval.