Rehtona or 幻境双生 in Chinese, is the very first game published by the Chinese indie studio Dot 4 Joy, and for those who think the Chinese market is mostly Visual Novels or MMO’s, seems it’s far from that, as new releases are coming up regularly! Rehtona is the perfect example of beautiful graphics, solid gameplay, and well executed puzzles.
Above the clouds on floating lands, lives a young girl named Rehtona, taking her routine calmly and peacefully, she flies from cloudy islands on top of her friend Musii, a wooden eagle that has been with her since she was just a child. Together they fly across the skies, visiting neighboring cities, but one day, it all changes.
Rehtona wakes up normally, puts on her panda cap, and flies off to catch the farmer’s market in the plaza, with her trustful companion! Upon arriving, a strange event occurs, and everyone disappears, leaving the curious girl wondering what happened. To make things further terrible, a strange stone gate rises, hiding a deep voice, that calls for her. Such a weird occurrence will trigger her biggest adventure ever, traversing the realms in search for her true self.
Rehtona delivers a simplistic but appropriate storyline to match the surroundings, which consists of the concept of change between two dimensions; The normal colorful world where the young girl is used to, and the obfuscous realm of mystery and darkness in which her mind floats, completely lost. As both ethereal realms collide, they both become affected, as Musii can no longer physically help Rehtona, until she unlocks her memories. Subsequently, she can’t advance until unlock the missing parts of the puzzle!
The concept is simple, well executed and the presentation is quite appealing. Rehtona is above everything else, a puzzle-based adventure. There are a total of 32 levels to test your reasoning, logic, and rationality. Even if visually it’s extremely soothing and appealing, some of the puzzles are quite challenging!
Players control Rehtona, in 2D platform based levels, and the goal is to collect crystals, keys, and ultimately, the puzzle piece. Crystals serve as collectibles and powers our protagonist. Keys allow the player to enter the shadow world, and the piece of the puzzle represents another unlocked fragment of a memory. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, it’s actually quite ingenious, particularly, when Rehtona learns new abilities, and therefore challenges become tougher as well.
While in the shadow world, some objects may change, such as vegetation. But others might appear, creating new pathways, or blocking them. Things change and it’s how you deal with them that matters. Rehtona can jump, and double jump, push objects, and pull levers to manipulate crates. Her most useful ability is the capability of creating a reflex of her own image that will solidify in the shadow realm, becoming pure stone. This ability will become handy when platforming, but remember there’s a limit to how many times you can use it!
Some of the challenges waiting for you include dangerous lasers, illusions to confuse you, gravity fields, and some other interesting obstacles. Not all want you to fail though, some are playing on your favour, and others can become to your advantage. Thankfully, Rehtona can’t permanently die, so if you find yourself evaporated by some of those red lasers, worry not, no progress is lost. There’s also a Rewind function that pretty much does what the name suggests, it rewinds the player's last action. This ability can be used as much as one needs, and can rewind the whole level, but sometimes it’s just better to start over.
Control sensitivity is slightly higher, as sometimes just the slightest touch when moving our character near an object can make her push it, which that rewind option always serves well. It’s still worth mention as I’m sure a lot of people will feel the same, however… Taking in consideration the fluidity and speed of the game, I don’t necessarily feel this to be an issue.
Visually, Rehtona is magic to the eyes, as those beautiful 16-bit and 32-bit pixels jump right in front of you. Heavily inspired by Asian culture, the design is fantastic, with tremendous details. One can see layers of distant content, such as buildings, cats on the roof, vegetation, a large variety of colorful houses in the back, and even adorable yellow birds that sometimes fly over to Rehtona and land on her shoulder. The design works were done with love, and it’s that obvious, even on material surfaces, it shows its passion through reflexes and contrasts used. Doesn’t matter the location, it will look stunning, with the obvious factor that the shadow world looks darker and grimm, as it was the purpose, but even then, there’s an artistic abstract sense of confusion among the dark ruins of thoughts and memories. Levels aren’t considered big, and they will mostly fit on your entire screen, even though there’s quite the room for experimenting several possibilities!
Developed with Unity, we don’t have much in terms of customization… Audio volumes are either On or Off, with no bar to select the percentage desired, common among Unity games it seems. There’s also an option to use Fullscreen or Windowed mode, and since Vsync seems to be active by default, that’s all the options available. There’s full controller support, as its usual with the engine, which is perfect for these types of games!
Rehtona it’s not just Another 2D puzzle game, it’s a testament of good quality games from worldwide studios. It’s hard to say how long one takes to finish the game, but there’s definitely content, at least for 5 or more hours. A journey that will take Rehtona to find herself, and discover secrets hidden behind strange mysteries, surrounded by a simple and an ambient soundtrack to inspire your concentration!