Developed and Published by NOMINA GAMES. Played using STEAM media. Trailer here
One of the problems with games no longer having detailed booklets is that unless the game has been recommended to you or you look online and read other people's views, then all you have is a download code and no actual information. Therefore when I started playing this game I had no idea of what it was about. Not even the name or style of graphics and animation gave up any real clues.
As it turns out, it isn't as much of a fantasy adventure as I first thought, but it is an intriguing story that unfolds as you progress, growing and deviating according to the decisions and choices you make.
The 2D animation is exceptionally good as the smallish characters regain a large proportion of their high design of detail, uniquely different from the majority of the PC games (which I have encountered) that use similarly sized sprites.
Apart from the exploring, adventuring and fighting, there are the 'boring' bits. These are the conversation sequences that go on and on but they are necessary as they expand on the story, sharing myriad information, which can be as alarming as it can be helpful. You will be given orders that you don't agree with or want to carry out, but then the options you are given if you don't carry them out are worse than actually carrying them out.
When you first meet your hero/avatar, Troy, he comes out of his house and meets up with Gabriella and they chat about fate and looking after each other and themselves. The next morning they meet near Troy's home. Gabriella is in Empire armour and she has a small unit of troops with her. "Today is (apparently) the day".
Gabriella and Troy march off with a large force to confront 'the Villagers' but when they get there Troy notes that they are unarmed normal people doing nothing wrong. One of the villagers calls the armed force 'blasted Lumerians' and demands what they want. He claims that his son has been murdered by the Lumerians and the families taken away - apparently to carriers to be transported elsewhere.
The villagers do not wish to go and say they won't give in without a fight. Brave, but silly, words when faced by a fully armed and armoured force. Troy realises what's going to happen and confronts Gabriella. She tells him it's all part of the job they signed up for.
All the villagers are herded together and shot. Then one straggler comes along and pleads for his life. Troy is forced to kill this innocent villager. He does so reluctantly and then another villager appears and begs for her life. What do you do? This is your first real test - which side do you choose?
You can go back to the village where some people are still alive, though they won't talk to you, and the soldiers there aren't too pleased with their part in the massacre so they have nothing to say.
Head back the only way you can and meet up with Madame Olga Tessera, leader of this part of the Empire's army - apart from clicking [enter] to talk to her you have no command over the situation or the conversation. Because Troy hesitated over the first kill and then argued with Madame Olga about butchering the villagers, Olga tells him to kill his friend Gabriella.
Troy refuses to do so and fights Madame Olga who just stands there as he fires shot after shot at her. Eventually she becomes bored and knocks Troy flat on his back. Then Gabriella appears and holds a pistol on Madame Olga - nothing good is going to happen now.
As you may have realised by now, The Revenant Prince is a very dark game. Some of the decisions you are forced to make are frightening and deeply intense. It may be 'only a game' but if you take on the rôle of Troy as you would a character in a tabletop role-playing game - actually caring for it - then you will be more than a little unhappy at what you are asked to do (as with Troy when you had no control over his actions).
Circumstances beyond your control occur and Troy is suddenly alone in the snowy wilderness. Hec an only move left or right across the screen until he falls and fades .... DEATH!
DEATH or DREAM?
There is now a longish narrative where you get to answer one or two queries, then there is a giant yellow bunny in a pink Ascot outfit standing in front of you. She is talking and you are answering - a few questions to guide the game onward. Yellow Bunny is named Farrah. She has a friend called Roland (aka Rolly).
Leaving Farrah in your home you exit to meet Rolly who tells you that there is work to be done; villagers ask requests and you have to help them. After another watch and listen scene you discover that A, S and D are keys for the three weapons you can hold at one time; you also learn about how using them affects you. You are not free to roam the village. You have to go to the Message Board (these will appear throughout the game in Villages, Towns or even in the wilderness if you're lucky/unlucky). Rolly explains that these are the tasks that need doing for the villagers. Troy can say either "They're lazy" or "So, like Quests?" your choice.
Once you choose a quest you need to locate the quest-giver (they will have a luminous sign over them).Once you have a task, off you go. At this point in the game I was going crazy with the background music. There was no speech, no real effects, just this generic noise, like the theme of an afternoon TV nonentity, buzzing its way into my head, trying its best to distract me from my mission. Yup I'm going mad - I now have Troy talking to a Penguin called Nom about the background music.
TIP: Save the game whenever you get the chance. My edition of the game crashed regularly and often before I could have saved, so I had plenty of speedy play.
The Revenant prince comes with an encounter rate tool that allows you to program the rate at which monsters/creatures will be encountered. You can set it at 100%, 50% or 0% or even minus 50%/100%. These are guides not actual possibilities.You can still be attacked even at -100%, it's just less likely to happen.
The combat is handled mainly by Q, W or E commands plus you can click onscreen to have your companion assist you. But if you die then it's Game Over and back to your last save you go.
Despite its darkness and weirdness The Revenant Prince is a throw-back to the dungeon style games, like the original Diablo, but mostly out in the Wilderness. The combat is as exciting as pressing a button can get. You have the three options plus there is an onscreen box which, when it is active, allows you to try to escape - hasn't happened yet! and it's okay if you like this game style.
It is quite a learn as you go game so as I say, [Save] often so you haven't got too far back to go before restarting. Death usually comes within a couple of strikes, so get your hits in fast and strong first or you will suffer the consequences.