Puzzle RPGs are a somewhat recent innovation in the world of gaming. Reversi Quest forgoes the cliche match three formula and crafts its battle system after the classic board game Othello but does it add up to a worthwhile concoction?
Reversi Quest is played by selecting a chapter on the world map then navigating through a simple board game by rolling dice. Throughout each little dice-rolling adventure, you'll encounter many enemies and battle them in a game of Reversi. However, this isn't your typical Reversi because there are many RPG elements at play as well as varying board shapes. Each playing piece corresponds to a type of unit. Some units specialize in attacking while others can heal your HP and MP. One type can even recruit neutral soldiers that occasionally show up. Eventually, you'll unlock unit types that can perform a combination of these tasks. Deploying soldiers to balance offense and defense while casting the odd spell makes for one satisfying combat system. In the end, the mix of board game and RPG aspects is extremely addictive.
Even though Reversi Quest isn't quite easy on the eyes, it has a certain '90s style to it that made me feel like I was playing an old PlayStation game. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it's definitely rough around the edges. Character portraits are stereotypical while playing pieces boast colour palettes that are easy to distinguish. The music is composed of standard orchestral pieces that you'd expect from a strategy game but it isn't handled very well. Each track loops with a brief yet noticeable moment of silence which is just plain shoddy. Overall, I enjoy the retro feel but the lack of polish is evident enough that it ends up feeling half-done.
As you progress through the chapters, you'll slowly grow your army into a powerful force. Gaining experience points and levelling up increases your maximum HP and army size. Defeating certain foes and accomplishing various tasks rewards you with equipment, useable items, and new unit types. Additionally, you can upgrade equipment and units the same way that you earn them. Optimizing your party is a rewarding process that involves selecting what unit types, equipment, and spells that you want. Items consist of objects that you can trade in for points or gold, heal potions, and dice that vary in number of sides. Landing on spaces in each chapter map can uncover shops, shortcuts, and items if you don't end up battling a foe. The deep customization system can be extremely rewarding once you configure your party to start slicing through enemies with ease. It may take some time, but it's very worth it.
The most annoying part of Reversi Quest is that grinding is necessary in order to progress. Not only do chapters get exponentially more difficult, further chapters remain locked until you perform tasks that sometimes require you to replay chapters a few times in order to accomplish. If the difficulty was more gradual and these silly locks weren't in place then the campaign would be a lot more enjoyable. Speaking of difficulty, I can imagine that the learning curve may be a bit too steep for those unfamiliar with Reversi or strategy games in general. The deficient tutorial complete with broken English just isn't enough to help those who would need it.
As a long-time fan of both Othello and strategy RPGs, I enjoyed Reversi Quest quite a lot. That being said, those who aren't a part of its niche will probably have too high of a hurdle to overcome for it to be a worthwhile game.
- + Addictive mix of Reversi and RPG elements
- + Boasts an interesting '90s vibe
- + In-depth party customization is elaborate and involving yet ultimately rewarding
- - Too much grinding is required
- - Presentation could use more polish
- - Learning curve can be too steep for those unfamiliar with its influences