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RevErsi Quest

Score: 50%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Pollyanna Co., Ltd.
Developer: Yokogosystems
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Board Games/ Classic/Retro/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

This is a take on the old game you might have known as "Othello" that is also available in multiple versions under some variation of the "reversi" name. Itís a classic game that feels like a combination of Go and Checkers, with simple black and white tokens on an equally simple grid that serves as the playing field. How then does a game like this get translated to an exciting, next-gen console? RevErsi Quest takes the path weíve seen others like Puzzle Quest follow in making simple, turn-based gameplay feel more exciting.

Before we get to gameplay though, thereís an elephant in the room. RevErsi Quest looks and feels every bit like an old PC game, or maybe a new PC game built in a retro style. Menus galore, clickable windows stacked on top of other windows, and typography that looks like it shipped with the original version of Windows. None of this makes RevErsi Quest a bad game, but it may be offputting to gamers used to looking at slick interface and stylish graphics. Even compared to console versions of traditional tabletop games, RevErsi Quest really comes in at the bottom of the scale. If you can look past the throwback design and not judge this book by its cover, youíll find some fine gameplay here.


Gameplay:

Explaining RevErsi Quest starts with the briefest explanation of the core gameplay, which is territory control, pure and simple. Players take turns placing white and black pieces on a board, and converting rows of their opponentís pieces by bookending them with the opposite color. A deceptively simple game with tons of strategic depth, it goes back to the late 1800's and has seen many video game versions over the years. RevErsi Quest builds on the basic game by adding a layer of combat, giving some story and purpose to each match beyond just territory control.

Itís a game about battling, after all, so no surprise that the theme RevErsi Quest chooses is feudal warfare among opposing armies. Fighters, clerics, and mages can be used to give the normal attacks added impact. You can ignore these power-ups and just play the game as always, but thereís also the added element of HP to consider. Each player must worry about keeping a hero alive, in addition to controlling territory. This makes RevErsi Quest play a bit faster since opponents can be destroyed with targeted attacks, even as they may be setting themselves up strategically to control more of the board. The game plays out over a series of chapters where you attempt to conquer stronger enemy armies by amassing troops, weapons and spells.


Difficulty:

Thereís plenty of local replay against the A.I., which is good. Thereís no multiplayer or online aspect to RevErsi Quest, which means youíll eventually run out of new challenges. Itís possible to keep building and refining your army by grinding previous levels for locked items. The design of each chapter has you rolling dice to move along a path that leads to encounters, healing, special items, and shops for buying rigged dice or anything you might need during battle. The progression of the game isnít all that kind to new players, especially those new to the whole world of Othello or RevErsi. A tutorial brings you quickly into battle and tries to pack all the information about the gameís interface, the unique RPG aspects, AND the basics of the core gameplay into one neat package. Even with lots of experience playing the traditional game our heads were spinning a bit, so suffice it to say thereís a learning curve. Some of the pain comes from trying to navigate the PC-style menus that will make the most adept gamer feel like a clod even after hours of playing RevErsi Quest.

Game Mechanics:

Only people who grew up with old PCs and the endless point-and-click interfaces we suffered through in RPG/RTS and simulation games 10-20 years ago will be forgiving enough to look past the interface issues in RevErsi Quest. Itís not like we havenít seen better options, ranging from the Puzzle Quest games to Might & Magic reboots for consoles. All the ideas here are sound, theyíre just buried under really clunky controls. During the actual battles, youíre only required to move around the field of battle and highlight where youíd like to make a play. Instead of the simple black and white pieces, youíll see the various troops available to you, but the game guides you by showing available moves and spots where your troopís special ability will be activated.

Itís between battles that RevErsi Quest feels most clunky. Everything you need is hidden under a menu, which turns into an overlay, which then presents you with loads of buttons, checkboxes, and Ėsad to sayĖ an arrow cursor that you literally move around the screen with an analog stick. Look past the terrible design and youíll find a game well worth playing, a cool blend of role-playing with a board game thatís stood the test of time.


-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock

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