ReversiQuest2 is a pretty solid tactical JRPG that utilizes a unique battle system based on the board game Reversi (Othello) but it does get quite repetitive after a while.
Genre: RPG, JRPG, TRPG
Release date: 06 Jan, 2020
ReversiQuest2 is an indie tactical JRPG that’s heavily inspired by the classics from the 90’s. Everything from it’s graphics and music to its story and gameplay is based on them but it does have some unique features of its own to separate it from the pack. If this sounds interesting to you, do read on because there’s a lot to cover regarding the game.
Story and Setting
ReversiQuest2 follows the story of a young man named Nym who sets off on a journey across the island Othellia after saving a mysterious woman named Imogen. Monsters have begun appearing across the world and bodes ill tidings in the Castle of Apringham. There’s also evil afoot as a secret organization is speeding up the return of an evil lord in an attempt to destroy the world and Nym gets caught in the middle of it.
The story is pretty standard for JRPG’s as you’ll be working to save the world against a great evil. I will admit that the story does take a slight back seat in this game because 90% of the time you’ll be grinding away in various areas. We’ll get into that shortly though. The story is also only told in brief snippets at the start of each new area you visit but you have to grind so much that you only see them every so often and it feels like they aren’t really there for the majority of the game. So, if you were expecting a tactical RPG with an in-depth story, you’ll likely be a bit disappointed in this area.
The World Map
The moment you boot up the game you’re immediately taken to the world map where the game is ready to begin. There’s no main menu so your game is automatically loaded right where you left off the last time you played. The world map plays a large role in the game and sort of reminds me of the one in Final Fantasy Tactics, though it’s been a while since I last played that game so I could be remembering wrong.
Othellia’s world is split into various chapters, each of which has a number of mission areas for you to play through. Each area is it’s own self-contained dungeon but we’ll get into those details shortly. At the start of the game it makes you think that it’ll be a pretty straight forward journey but it’s anything but straightforward. In the screenshot of the world map above, you can see the number of crowns to be unlocked 27/42 in chapter 4 for example. The number required starts off as only 1 crown in the prologue, but as you can see, it gradually increases with each chapter you complete. This means you have to replay each area in each chapter an incredible amount of times in order to acquire those 42 crowns. This is where the repetitiveness kicks in and the game requires this replaying of levels in order to upgrade your units and gear. It’s a never-ceasing cycle that gets quite tiresome after a while.
Exploration and Combat
Exploration plays a big role in this game as it’s about 95% of what you do in this game. As mentioned, each area in the game is its own self contained dungeon and you must traverse it one tile at a time on pre-determined pathways. You aren’t allowed to explore freely and it’s set up more like a board game (Which is unsurprising given the combat system’s influence) and you must always move forward, one space at a time. Throughout each map are treasure chests which house useful items and equipment for you to acquire. Don’t expect to get everything in your first run, however, because the game is set up for multiple playthroughs of each area. There are some nice to have features added to ease the hassle of exploring each area. After the initial quest in the game, you unlock the dungeon map which allows you to see where various treasure chests are located which makes getting them that much easier. You also unlock new pathways after you complete the first quest as well, which you couldn’t get through before.
The combat system is based heavily on the board game Reversi (Or Othello, as I know it by), and it’s actually a surprisingly intuitive battle system that I liken to a faster-paced version of chess. The combat system was actually my favorite part of this game and it played a big part in continuing the game (But to be honest, even that wound up getting repetitive after a while, I’ll admit). The objective of each battle is to lower your opponents HP to zero but this is actually a bit tougher than it sounds due to how the game is setup. Your pawns are white, while your opponents are black. You deal damage based on your pawn’s class and equipped gear but you can also heal HP and MP with a different class. We’ll get into pawns in a bit more detail below. The idea is to place your pieces in a way that causes them to flank your opponent’s pieces, thus flipping them to white and dealing damage (or healing) based on the number of flipped pieces. The more pieces you flip, the stronger the attack which results in a combo flip. There are also hazard pieces on the board that can make life difficult by dealing damage to you or the opponent. You’ll also find cards, and spells that you can use to your advantage too. Keep in mind that if your character’s HP is drained to zero you will lose the battle and if you happen to have lost using your leader the dungeon will be over and you’ll need to replay it. Thankfully you keep any items you’ve acquired during your run, which is a small mercy considering how many replays the areas require. It’s also worth mentioning that the battle maps change in size and shape frequently to make things a bit more challenging.
Before a battle begins you’ll be taken to a battle start screen where you can choose which allows you to choose a troop (You can create a story troop, and subsequent troops, to handle different situations, your battle character, and review the stats of your opponent and battle parameters.
Pawns and Gear
Pawns are incredibly important in this game as they act as your troops in battle. Each pawn has it’s own strengths and weaknesses and can be utilized in different ways. Your attackers are as they sound, excel in dealing damage to your opponents. On the other hand, your healer excels in healing, which is pretty obvious. The pawns are named based on their job to make it easier to determine what they do in the game and how to best utilize them in combat. There are a wide variety of different pawns to acquire throughout the game and as you unlock new ones, you can build new sets of troops in order to combat various situations with ease. It’s also worth mentioning that each lead character in your party has different specialities in combat and their troops mimick this. So, no two characters have the same troop makeup. Which makes combat a bit more interesting and varied. I will admit that some playstyles require a bit more strategizing than others. I was quite good at using Nym, whose more of an attacker, but I was merely decent at using Imogen who specializes in healing. Other characters require different playstyles as well.
The gear you find in each area is incredibly useful because it increases your chances of survival during combat by a lot. There are a wide variety of different types of equipment to acquire ranging from swords, shields, armor, etc. Each pawn can only equip one piece of equipment though, which makes choosing a piece of gear a strategic one because each piece of gear has different attributes. As an example, the axe (For your attacker) increases your attack power by quite a bit but decreases your survivability in the long game. On the other hand, armor increases your survival by increasing armor and HP stats but your attack power is lower which can lengthen the battle but you have a higher chance of surviving. I liked the fact that you could easily change the way you play the game simply by changing a pawn’s gear, it allows you to cater to any type of playstyle.
There are a couple of minor gripes that I had with the game that I felt worth mentioning. First and foremost is the fact that the English localization still needs some work as there’s a lot of odd details in the writing that make very little sense. I mentioned in a previous review that I’m more lenient towards these sorts of things and I stand by my word. It’s not absolutely terrible but definitely needs improvement. I wouldn’t let this dissuade you from trying the game though.
The second is the lack of a resolution option. The game boots into windowed mode at 1280×720 resolution and while it has a fullscreen option in the options menu, it doesn’t save your choice so each time you boot up the game it’s in 720p windowed mode. Adding in a resolution change option would certainly make me (And a lot of other people) happy.
Overall, ReversiQuest2 has some pretty neat ideas, and I especially liked the Othello (Reversi) based combat system, it was a nice twist on tactical JRPG’s. That said, I did feel the game is let down by its incredibly repetitive gameplay, which takes up a humongous portion of the game. Its repetitive design is par for the course though, as a lot of tactical JRPG’s of the past were pretty repetitive but I figured it worth mentioning nonetheless. If you’re a fan of the genre you’ll likely enjoy the game quite a lot and it’ll take you a great deal of time to complete this one, that much is assured. If you’re not a fan of tactical JRPG’s then this game may wind up being a bit too repetitive for you, that said, I dislike dissuading people from giving it a try because who knows, you may enjoy it even though I myself did not. In the end, I’m going to Save for Later on this one. It may very well be your next time sync but I recommend waiting for a sale.