The Metroidvania concept has enthralled players now for dozens of years as it took on a unique buzzword status to boost the appeal of 2D games. Tevi is the latest game to adopt this subgenre, and in my review, I evaluate its unique contributions as a game!
A Metroidvania with RPG and Bullet Hell Elements
Tevi is, on the surface level, another 2D sidescroller with backtracking and plenty of secrets to uncover. You can unleash increasingly layered melee combos, evasive maneuvers, and general attacks while you level up, and find new ranged attacks to pack a wallop before the enemy reaches you.
In doing this, it creates a Metroidvania with RPG and bullet hell elements, but not perhaps in the Contra or Enter the Gungeon sense. The enemies can unleash some pretty deadly and surprising ranged attacks with the usual hallmarks of bullet hells — difficult-to-dodge projectiles in particular. They’re not overly deadly unless you crank the difficulty, which might upset some bullet hell/masocore purists.
While enemy projectiles don’t instantly kill you, you’ll notice something as you approach boss battles: the game starts to feel as if Mega Man Zero took on a Metroidvania feel. Whether this was intended or not, I’m sure a marketing pitch to coin the term “Megatroidvania” would likely be filed under ‘Word Soup’ but the experience is something people have wanted for years. You can customize your builds, and even change projectile types on a whim to suit your combat situations.
Boss fights are often the culmination of the best gameplay mechanics, where buffs and debuffs, status ailments, and broken stances come into play. Outside of battle, you can craft items from ingredients gathered from fallen enemies including HP-restoring food that can save you in sticky situations. You can try to break down their defenses while evading an ungodly amount of shots coming your way, and it can feel intoxicating to get sucked into a boss battle even after dying frequently.
Challenging, but Forgiving Without Being Cruel
Regarding the game’s difficulty, you can reasonably expect a challenge at Normal+ before going even higher. The game’s difficulty will spike immensely if you veer off the beaten path as you’ll find you can encounter some bosses out of sequence. Sequence-breaking is known and encouraged by the developers and is much simpler than in the days of Super Metroid. This feels oddly freeing, but can also be intimidating if you’re afraid of being stuck in any given area against a boss who’s just too strong.
However, with the game’s built-in saving mechanics including save points that heal you, checkpoint-style saves for when you enter new areas, and red healing points, you can rest assured. Tevi is challenging, but forgiving without being cruel. If you ever find yourself stuck against a boss, you can potentially explore other areas, or regroup and gather healing items to try again.
An Entertaining and Self-Aware Anime Aesthetic
For those already following the news about this game’s development, you might already know about the wonderful anime character designs by Ein Lee of RWBY fame. The titular main character, Tevi, is an adorable yet hilariously rude waffle-loving engineer along with her trusty magitech allies including Celia and Sable. The cast of characters grows as you explore the game’s world, with bosses often having compelling character designs and interactions constantly being amusing.
The actual story of the game is forgettable with bland fad-based inclusions like Norse or Greek regions like Valhalla and Tartarus. But Tevi often helps you forget this thanks to an entertaining and self-aware anime aesthetic. The phrase “weebie-jeebies” was introduced to me through this game when another character, Caprice, went on a little too long about getting her leader’s approval and it caught me completely off-guard. The game has Tevi’s adoptive father as an intrepid scientist with an obsession with all things bunny-related, truly selling me on this as a great Metroidvania for the otakus.
The Soundtrack for Tevi Is Suitably Killer
One of the biggest highlights of the game is easily the music. While individual regions like Oasis might not always have the most interesting background music, it’s impressive how varied the tunes truly are. When you encounter a boss fight, things quickly crank to 11 and you feel the energy coursing through you thanks to infectious beats.
3R2, Oli Jan, Triodust, Bo-Xun Lin, Brandon Yates, and Dance with the Dead feature in this game’s score, making for impressively diverse background music. With a Metroidvania sporting Mega Man aspects, a game franchise known for iconic music, the soundtrack for Tevi is suitably killer and a worthy homage.
I went into Tevi initially underwhelmed by its first biomes, feeling they borrowed too much from Metroid. But as I explored, gained upgrades, and clutched my gamepad with intensity while chipping away at awesome bosses, I quickly saw its appeal. The idea of playing this at home on Steam or the go on my Switch is tantalizing, especially with how many hours I’ve already sunk into the game.
Tevi has a great layout of biomes and a deep customization system that quickly allows you to customize and prioritize playstyles. Its boss fights are compelling, varied and quick-paced with great gimmicks, and while its story and worldbuilding are forgettable, its character interactions help outweigh the faults. With an amusing love for waffles, a sharp wit, and a curious mind, Tevi has the makings of a truly memorable game protagonist fans will want to keep around.
This review was made possible by CreSpirit, with a complimentary copy of Tevi, scheduled for wide release on November 30, 2023.