The Revenant Prince by Nomina Games
In The Revenant Prince by Nomina Games, you play as Troy, a newly recruited soldier who quickly finds himself questioning the morality of a particular invasion that leaves a village full of innocents dead. He follows orders and even kills an innocent himself.
Troy decides to defect and ends up dead.
Dead Soldiers and Unanswered Questions
Troy then wakes up to find out that the world around him is different. Something about reality has shifted. Many characters seem out of place. Others speak of weird memories and former lives. It’s all vague and left me scratching my head throughout most of the game.
The narrative deals with a lot of serious themes – death, guilt, reincarnation and the cycle of violence – important themes scattered here and there, just enough to keep me interested in how the narrative was going to pan out in the end. But I do feel like the vague narrative does a disservice to the game overall.
Troy has this unreliable voice who talks to him, giving him advice throughout the game, especially during important dialogue choices. But that voice, along with the main plot, becomes confusing, as characters may just disappear and plot threads end rather abruptly.
It makes for a disjointed narrative that feels like it was all pieced together, as opposed to one focused, cohesive story. What’s disappointing is that at the end of the game, each different ending delivers an exposition dump that explains almost everything that’s going on.
It’s all compelling and fascinating. But I feel like this was a mistake and the explanations should have been doled out through the course of the game via characters or through side quests. It instead left me asking a lot of questions without receiving answers throughout my play-through.
The Revenant Prince is structured like a traditional JRPG. Random battles allow you to level up and get new equipment, crafting materials or useful items. Visit many unique towns to take on side quests and follow threads that lead you closer to continuing the main quest. You can talk to pretty much every character in the game, which will give you flavor text to add some character and lore to the world.
The combat is active turn-based, so there is some timing and skill involved as you manage cool-down meters. You have the ability to equip three different weapons, allowing you to attack or block with one while you wait for the cool-down meters of the others to refresh.
The combat is a lot of fun but does get repetitive with weaker enemies, as they present little challenge. A lot of battles had me pressing on the same sequence of buttons for max DPS just to get through battles faster. Bosses were the most fun, as they required more planning and smart item usage.
Overall I found the gameplay loop to be fun. Leveling up and upgrading my gear was rewarding, and the active combat was satisfying. The variety of weapons and equipment to experiment with kept things from getting stale.
One odd note about the gameplay is the lack of controller support and reliance on an unconventional control scheme. To walk around, I had to use the arrow keys, and to attack I used Q, W and E, while A, S and D were used to switch weapons. I could change my target using the mouse. Not a big issue, but I dd feel like a more traditional control scheme would have made battles flow better.
You Might Be Dead, but You Can Still Stop and Smell the Roses
The Revenant Prince has this classic, fantastically detailed pixel art look to it. Bunnies and butterflies abound, while an eclectic cast of characters exudes whimsical uniqueness. I stumbled across a town full of snails and a village full of mandrakes.
One of my favorites was a talking bottle who fearfully begs me not to drink him. Character portraits look great and add welcome personality to the game. Everything about the look of this game is wonderfully executed.
The game’s soundtrack is a nice array of mood-evoking tunes: more joyous tunes for peaceful towns, while mysterious areas are unsettling thanks to some fantastic tracks. It’s a traditional soundtrack overall, but every track is so vivid and superbly done. A lot of the songs reminded me of PlayStation 2-era RPGs, which is always a plus in my book.
Little Bugs and Big Fun
Sadly, there are some performance issues I have to address. Over my 15-hour play-through, the game crashed around five times. It’s not a big deal, but be sure to take advantage of the save-anywhere feature and save often.
There was also a bug where the screen would just go black, but I could clearly hear the game running in the background. Nothing game-breaking, but it’s enough to make note of and will hopefully be patched in the future.
A big part of the excitement for me with The Revenant Prince was exploring this confusing world to see who or what I would encounter next.
Its vague narrative kept me eager to learn more, and its combat was compelling enough to keep me entertained. This game is not perfect, but what is there is enough to recommend to players who care less about narrative and more about the other aspects that make up a fun RPG.
The Revenant Prince is available via Steam.
Check out the official trailer for The Revenant Prince below: