1 What’s this all about?
«Reventure» is a 2D action platformer, much like the old Castlevania games. Its main appeal is that it has 100 different endings to find. Gotta catch ’em all, right?
You’ve already heard the story. It involves a dark wizard, a princess and a dragon. Or some shit like that. In any case, the actual heroes are busy, so maybe you need to get up and do your part for the kingdom, you lazy bum. I heard there’s a magic sword or something on the caves to the west, so get going!
2 I don’t get it, 100 actual endings?
Let me back up a bit. «Reventure» was born as part of a Ludum Dare, so it has a small scope, fortunately elevated to brilliant execution. Ever since its conception, it was a parody/love letter to old adventure games like The Legend of Zelda —particularly TLoZ II—but with its own twists. This game might look like a simple pixelated game on the outside, but it manages to hide a few interesting surprises to keep the player exploring and experimenting to the very end.
3 How on earth can you pack 100 endings into a single game?
Please note that a good portion of this game’s charm lies in discovering these endings by yourself. I will be discussing and spoiling the actual methods of this game below, so beware of unmarked spoilers. If you wish to avoid these and just know my verdict, skip to the heading “What do you think, Andy?”
You’ve been warned.
So, how does such a small game manage so many endings? With creative combination of its mechanics.
First of all, what is an ending here? Given that this game is a light-hearted parody, its actual story is barebones, so anything that could “end” that storyline is fair game.
For instance, the first thing you know is that you’re tasked with getting the magic sword. So off you go to the magic cave or whatever and you find the old man who says that it’s dangerous to go alone, blah blah blah… you get the sword and try it only to find that you’ve just killed the old man… oops? Game over, ending achieved.
From there you start wondering: what else can you kill? Essentially, you can kill any of the major characters in the world (the King, the Princess, the Dragon, the Dark Lord…) and all of those are new endings.
But in your quest to kill all things, you'll find parts of the map that you simply can’t access, no matter how much you try. Also, the map pretty much resets after every ending, so there must be more, right?
And there is. Another good element of «Reventure» is its non-linear map. There’s usually more than one way to get anywhere on the map. And to reach them, you’ll need different items… if you can find them.
For instance, you might find a fire-resistant shield, or some magical armor, or bombs or… well you get the idea. So, the quest becomes more Zelda-like, right?
Once more, the game subverts this. If you go picking up every item you find, you will eventually collapse from the weight (hint: that’s another ending!). So, in «Reventure» you can pick up a maximum of three items. So you start to question which items to get, right?
Again, it’s not that simple. Your jump height also depends on how many items you have. Too many items and you’re restricted to one-block height. Now not only do you have to plan which items to get, but also in what order (since some items require a high jump, or other means for achieving verticality…)
With all this in mind, you start seeing the possibilities. Maybe you can go through this corridor with the bombs, but you need to get there with only 2 items… or maybe you need to start your travels without any form of attack (oh, I can hug things if I don’t have a sword? More endings!) or maybe there is a way around that trap… And what’s with that strange door?
So «Reventure» becomes, like its inspiration, a game about exploration: of the map, of the mechanics, of the items, of the interactions between them. And that’s where its major flaw shines: once you find a “general” ending, you need to get all the “particulars” of it if you wish to 100% the game. For instance—as mentioned—you get endings for killing all the major characters, but you also get endings if you hug them, endings for pretty much all the different ways in which you die, endings for doing things after you’ve rescued the princess… In that sense, the game gets a bit grindy and not completely fun.
That said, even with those there are interesting surprises here and there. There are many “one-shot” endings that play with the unique mechanics of the game, references to the genre and even the in-universe lore, shallow as it may be. It’s only grindy for players like me who obsess over 100%.
4 What do you think, Andy?
The game is intentionally silly, self-referential and has clean humor, if a bit childish. I don’t mind these. «Reventure» is a love letter to the old adventure games, while also pokes fun at their silliness. My major gripe with it is the grindy nature of some endings—discussed among the spoilers—but it’s overall a very fine game.
I initially feared that this game might be just a meme-y game taking cheap shots at the conventions of the adventure genre, but it’s not. The mechanical twists impart «Reventure» just a hint of puzzle elements in that you’ll need to plan your adventure to get new endings. Since the game runs on a Groundhog Day-style loop, it’s critical to observe what changes and what doesn’t, how things react to you and how you can get around the same obstacle in more than one way.
My recommendation is to buy at full price, knowing that with all that amazing stuff, it’s still a short game (Steam tells me I completed it in something like 10–12 hours). All in all, it’s a good way to spend your time and money and maybe even learn a thing or two for game development.
Now go and save us all!