Developer: Dot 4 Joy | Publisher: Joyient || Overall: 8.5/10
Occasionally, I have to capitulate that a game is too smart for me. Rehtona is one of those games that has crushed my intellect and made my brain hurt. I guess I’m just not smart enough to solve these wonderfully-designed box puzzles. Don’t let the cutesy, ultra-detailed, anime-style pixel art give you the wrong impression — it is basically as tough as it gets.
As you progress through the Tutorial levels, you’ll be introduced to the basic mechanics of the game. You push boxes into certain places, grab a key, and then enter the “alternate reality” of the level. You only ever see half of the puzzle at one time, so you’ll have to plan ahead to complete the puzzle backwards with a new layout. In the “light world” certain blocks will be activated/deactivated, with the same going for the “dark world.” This forces you to be dynamic with your puzzle-solving skills, because what you might think is the right way initially could end up being the wrong way. The way the levels are laid out there could even be different ways to solve the puzzle. A very convenient quality of life addition is the ability to quickly restart the level or “rewind” your last actions in case you messed up — both by simply pressing a button instead of menu-hunting. By far, the strongest aspect of Rehtona is its puzzle design, with it being difficult enough to make you constantly think “outside” of the box. New mechanics are also introduced as you progress.
The story is pretty intriguing for this genre, though it is light on the details. Rehtona is the titular character (which is backwards for “Another”) who has very strong hair-arm-tentacle-things. She has arms like a normal human, but her long, strong, hair does all of the work of pushing boxes and the like. One day she is going into town for a festival or something, and then all of a sudden everything gets swallowed up into an alternate reality. It’s up to her to figure out why it’s happening, and to do that she has to solve these box puzzles that I guess someone left laying around.
The game is segmented into five different areas, each with a “picture puzzle” to complete. You ultimately collect a piece of this picture puzzle before continuing to the next level. Between each set of levels, an additional story interlude plays and you learn more about what’s going on. It is all fairly mysterious and compliments the ultra-detailed art style quite well. There are 32 levels in all.
The only bad thing about the game is the sound effects and music. The sound effects feel like they are much louder than they should be, but there is no volume slider specifically for them. They can either be on or off, so off they go. The music is also repetitive and feels like it is only one song over and over. So, that went off too and I started listening to early 2000’s Eurodance instead. I was constantly sitting and just starting at the puzzles, not able to solve them, so you need something to keep you going. Also, playing this at 10 PM at night after a long day at work is probably not the best idea. The few times I tried doing that, I think my brain short-circuited and shut off as I would just fall asleep from all of my brain power being used up.
If you’re looking for a challenge and a game that proves its value, Rehtona is a good choice for a few hours. I got to the third area and was already at 4 hours played; there is probably a good 10+ hours of game time here and the puzzles, I’m sure, only get harder as you go along. Rehtona is available on Steam now.