Reverie Knights Tactics is the debut title from Brazilian studio 40 Giants Entertainment. In this gorgeous tactical RPG, players command a small squad of fantasy fighters on a rescue mission to an occupied city. It’s not all grid-based combat, though – there are plenty of story decisions to be made, locks to pick, and puzzles to be solved on your journey.
Reverie Knights Tactics takes place in a fantasy world that will feel immediately familiar to anyone who’s ever played D&D. It’s full of haughty elves, nimble halflings, and just enough magical technology to set it apart from Tolkien. Generations ago, the elves conquered the goblin homeland and built their capital city of Lenorienn there. Now the displaced goblins have returned with a massive army, massacring the elves and taking back what’s theirs.
Across the sea in a powerful nation known only as the Kingdom, the temple of Tanna-toh, Goddess of Knowledge, organized an expedition to recover any elven lore and artifacts that they could from Lenorienn. When the expedition doesn’t return, the scholar Aurora is chosen to mount a rescue mission. Aurora is unproven in the field, but she has plenty of reason to risk her life on this quest; the leader of the missing expedition is her father, Marius.
The storyline follows Aurora and her team as they attempt to find out what happened to Marius and his companions. Along the way she is forced to make tough calls, balancing the needs of the mission, her companions, and her belief in herself. Make no mistake; Aurora is a confident and able leader. Her doubt seems to stem from her place as the daughter of a high-ranking cleric – she has to prove to herself that the temple’s faith in her is based on her own abilities and not nepotism.
The game tracks the player’s decisions through an alignment system based on Order versus Chaos. An Order-oriented Aurora keeps her cool and makes rational, strategic choices based on the teachings of her temple. If the player leans toward a more Chaotic personality, Aurora acts impulsively to protect those close to her and to prove herself. Neither path is right or wrong, but they will influence which skills become available to the party and slightly change the dialogue as the story progresses. Ultimately, Aurora’s alignment will determine important elements of the story’s outcome as well.
The story of Reverie Knights Tactics is presented in a visual-novel style and strikes a perfect balance of lighthearted banter and serious drama. The relationships between Aurora and her party members are a highlight of the story; 40 Giants has crafted a memorable group of heroes that we hope to see more of in the future. Aurora’s best friend Brigandine serves as the party’s tank and as the game’s comic relief.
Her tendency to fixate on minor details and her voracious sweet tooth take a character that could have been annoying and make her whole, human and lovable. Fren, the rage-fueled elven guide hired to bring the party to their destination, has the largest arc of any character as he comes to terms with his grief and his need for vengeance. He often butts heads with Aurora, injecting tension and uncertainty into the team’s dynamics.
Rounding out the roster is Hellaron, Aurora’s golem mentor. His inclusion on the team leads to some of the best character interactions in the game. Technically, as head of the temple, Hellaron could pull rank with Aurora at any time, but he chooses not to do so. Instead, he offers guidance before allowing Aurora to make her own decisions, whatever the consequences.
The developers have created a rock-solid fantasy setting with Reverie Knights Tactics that is perfectly primed for a sequel. Here’s hoping that Aurora’s adventures will continue in future games (or at the very least a DLC or two).
The majority of the game’s 10-12 hour campaign will be spent engaging goblin forces on the battlefield grid. Hazards and obstacles are plentiful, making push and pull effects a major part of the game’s strategy. Additionally, each battle has a set of optional sub-objectives that can be completed for extra experience and Cogni (currency). It’s not necessarily a sure thing that all of these sub-objectives can be completed, and there will be battles where the player is tempted to restart in an attempt to get the most value out of the fight.
Combat in Reverie Knights Tactics is well-balanced, providing ample challenge while never feeling unbeatable. Each character can bring only a limited number of their learned skills into battle and each choice can dramatically alter how a fighter performs. Furthermore, the game rewards holding a strong position by empowering most skills if the character remains stationary while using them. One or more heroes can combine their efforts in a team attack if they are adjacent to the same enemy, and limit-break-style Focus Attacks provide powerful options that can turn the tide of battle.
Most fights are fairly standard, requiring simply that the player defeat all enemies in whatever manner is necessary. A few of the story battles stand out as particularly exciting, and if there is any complaint to be made about Reverie Knights Tactics it’s that the game could have used more of these gimmick battles and fewer basic ones. Shoving goblins out of the way as the party runs from an implacable juggernaut in a narrow tunnel, defeating mages to bring down a barrier while trapped inside with an unbeatable foe, and tossing enemies off a crumbling bridge shake up the normal gameplay and make for some of the best fights in the game.
Outside of battle, the player will decide on their next move and keep their team healthy. Characters do not regain their HP and MP between fights, so a character that comes out of a scrap in rough shape will need to be healed. There are a few points in the story where the team gets a full heal, and a character will be restored when they level up, but outside of these corner cases, you’ll need to use precious items from your inventory to ensure the crew is in fighting shape. Thankfully, the mission’s base camp has a talented cook who can combine materials you find in the field into stronger restoratives, and you can spend Cogni on equippable accessories to boost each character’s capabilities.
Another way the game breaks up combat is through the introduction of puzzles. Most are story-related and a few are quite clever – a puzzle midway through the game where the player needs to rotate disks to create a specific pattern is particularly memorable. The team will also find locked chests throughout their journey which need to be opened through a smart lockpicking puzzle. The addition of these brainteasers is a great touch, especially as battles start to get samey in the latter half of the game.
Graphics & Sound
Simply put, Reverie Knights Tactics looks and sounds incredible. The music perfectly captures the wonder of the fantasy setting along with the stakes of the mission and the tension of combat. It might have been nice to see what a talented cast of voice actors could have done with the dialogue, but the game doesn’t suffer for the lack of them.
The game’s visuals are its strongest selling point; its fresh comic-book style brings the setting to life with bold lines and vibrant colors. Each unit – ally and enemy – has a unique set of hand-drawn animations that serve to make Reverie Knights Tactics one of the best-looking TRPGs ever. Still images simply don’t do this game justice – watching the movements of each character as they navigate the battlefield is an absolute joy. Brigandine, in particular, brings her personality to the battlefield, lugging her heavy shield to her next position and taunting enemies with playful come-ons.
Reverie Knights Tactics gets 2022 off to a wonderful start. Between its fun dialogue, great gameplay, and stunning visuals, this is a game that’s not to be missed. If this is what 40 Giants serves up with their first title, the future looks bright indeed.