The Adventure of Lonk

HIGH The Final Ending.

LOW Only 100 endings? That’s just not enough!

WTF There’s an item that lets players hug almost anything.

As Reventure opened, I found my green-clad hero standing in his humble cottage on the outskirts of the castle from which a princess had recently be kidnapped. On a whim, I tapped the action button in front of the bed, expecting to get some kind of descriptive text. Instead, the hero hopped back into bed and I was treated to an ending — hero simply took the day off, an everything went fine for everyone.

I immediately jumped back in and resolved to get to the castle this time. On the way there, the hero tripped over a stone and smashed his head open, unlocking another ending. At that moment, I understood that I was in for something completely different.

A puzzle game wearing the skin of an action-adventure with some roguelite elements mixed in, Reventure plops the player down into a generic fantasy world, complete with Dark Lord, Captive Princess, and Legendary Sword, and lets them do whatever they want. There’s no pressure to accomplish anything in particular, and the only requirement is that the player keep an open mind and be willing to try ridiculous things in order to to find the game’s hundred endings.

Reventure uses the trappings of pixel-art action-adventure to sell its comedy and embraces the kind of free-form screwing around that people want to do in open-world games as a central design mechanic. For example, in a nod to Zelda, there’s a legendary sword in a cave near the start, complete with old man warning the player that it’s dangerous to go alone. However, players are free to use the sword on the old man, and they’ll be treated to a comical ending showing the aftermath of their decision if they do. In fact, just about anyone can be stabbed to unlock a new ending, as the devs lean into the expectation that players will be psyched to start immediately screwing around in the most violent ways imaginable.

A key to Reventure‘s brilliance is its limited inventory system. Players start out as a spry hero that can leap almost three squares high, but each time they pick up an item, be it a sword for stabbing, a shovel for digging, or a chicken to slow their fall, some of the jumping ability is shaved away until they can barely clamber over a single block. Through this logical gameplay limitation, the developers let players know that they’re not supposed to worry about collecting and hoarding – they just need to focus on figuring out new and interesting ways to use the items they come across, and no matter what idea they come up with, there’s always an ending waiting for them.

The developers have built a small (but dense) world, ranging from ocean to desert, lava caves to high peaks. At first it can seem confusing and too intricate to keep track of, but the developers have thought of that, and they use one of the cleverest takes on roguelite design I’ve seen to keep things flowing smoothly.

While the hero always starts the game completely fresh after each ending, the world changes as they see more and more of them. Each ending canonically happens as Reventure covers over a hundred years of a kingdom’s history, so as the player dies or rescues the princess, there’s always a new development that resets the plot to zero while leaving a clear impact on the world that simplifies subsequent playthroughs — kill enough characters, and the sword becomes a family heirloom that spawns in the hero’s home instead of the mystic cave. Rescue the princess and a shortcut leads from her room right to the Dark Castle. Perform a human sacrifice and prosperity returns to the kingdom.

There are dozens of little ways like these where Reventure‘s world adjusts itself as the player grows more experienced, ensuring that once they’ve accomplished a particularly trying ending they won’t have to duplicate the intermediate steps over and over again. Further, with each restart, hints appear in the world – if player is absolutely stumped, just walking around the map for a few minutes will always reward them with a lead.

Reventure offers a startling amount of content for being such a seemingly-simple effort. Beyond the hundred endings, there are dozens of costumes to unlock. Since many, many, many of the endings wrap up with the hero dead, there’s always a new hero with a new name and look ready to pick up the torch — and if the endings weren’t hilarious enough on their own, the new heroes that pop up are guaranteed to provoke a laugh. There’s even a decent amount of post-game content. Not only are there secret doors that can only be opened after the game has been completed, players can even unlock an early prototype of Reventure and marvel at just how far things have come.

Reventure is a masterpiece of design. With its sharp satirical humour, its tight controls, and its endless inventiveness, Reventure actively invites players to engage with it again and again and again. This isn’t just a love letter to adventure games, it’s a great adventure in its own right, transcending the expectations of the genre to offer a fantastic, multi-faceted experience that satisfies in every regard.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Pixelatto. It is currently available on PC, although a secret room in the game suggests a Switch version is coming soon. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 25 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed multiple times. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: The game was not reviewed by the ESRB, but it contains Violence, Blood and Gore, Suggestive Content, and Pixel Nudity. It’s roughly a T rating. You shouldn’t be too worried about even younger teens playing this game. Yes, it’s violent, but in an over-the-top cartoonish way that shouldn’t prove too troubling.

Colorblind Modes: There are multiple viewing modes available in the game, from normal to gameboy to outline. They must be unlocked by finding characters, though.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: I played most of the game without sound, and encountered no trouble at all. This title is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable. The joystick controls movement, with one button for jumping and another for interaction. It’s the most basic control scheme imaginable.

Daniel Weissenberger
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