Rehtona is a quirky little puzzle-platformer that not only looks good, but also has some some pretty nice puzzle design built around the use of parallel dimensions. The result is a pretty complex puzzle game, one that quite literally requires you to think outside the box.
Let’s start with the gameplay. Each level consists of a single puzzle divided into two parts, one in the world of light and one in a parallel dimension of darkness. Any changes made in one dimension will automatically show up in the other, with the catch being that some blocks and other objects change depending on what dimension you are in. For example, blocks made of vines lose their structure and become unusable in the dark world, whereas purple-colored blocks do not appear in the light world. It falls on the player to figure out how to use each in order to pick up the puzzle piece that appears in each level.
Aside from the whole parallel dimension thing, the game also employs a number of other cool mechanics to make the gameplay even more complex. There’s illusion blocks, cargo pads, and bubblers just to name a few. Each new mechanic is slowly introduced to the player over the course of the game, even providing in-level tutorials on how to properly use them. The game had a nice sense of progression there, introducing new mechanics often enough to keep players interested, but not overloading them in in the process. It provided for some nice overall puzzle design.
The game’s art style is also worth mentioning. It takes on that classic, hand-drawn pixel art style, reminiscent of older 16 and 32-bit platformers. The characters, objects, and environments are all well-designed and make very good use of color, especially so when swapping between the two dimensions. In fact, the reason I was first interested in the game was due to how vibrant the art style looked. It really works well for this type of gameplay.
Despite all of this though, the game does still have a few negatives, the first being the story. The store page advertises the story as being “deep and dealing with identity, memory, and the true nature of self”, when it really doesn’t do a good job at any of those. It’s definitely one of those games that only has a story for the sake of having a story, a complete afterthought to the rest of the game. It’s definitely not a bad inclusion, but it doesn’t really add anything of value to the game and could really have been implemented better.
Another issue I had is a minor quality of life complaint — it has to do with the lack of a pause after moving a block one space over. In a game where blocks need to be placed in exact positions, it is a bit annoying when they slide too far over where you had intended. I killed myself more than a couple times accidentally moving a block one space past where I had intended it, frying myself with a laser in the process. Granted, I could just be more careful when moving these blocks, but there really should be at least a slight pause in-between spaces, rather than just having it move in one continuous slide. It’s a minor issue, but a issue nonetheless.
Although the game does have these issues, they don’t really affect the core experience all that much, so I do still recommend it. The gameplay is complex, challenging, and does not go overboard on the various mechanics. That, coupled with the nice art style, makes for a pretty fun puzzle platformer to play for an hour or so at a time.
You can buy Rehtona on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of this game. Read more about how I do my game reviews/impressions here.