Reina and Jericho Impression
Reina and Jericho has all it needs to be a strong entry in the genre.
Reclamation Games’ Reina and Jericho is a story-driven Metroidvania that follows Reina, a woman looking to rescue her partner Jericho and escape from a tyrant’s fortress. As part of PAX Online, RPGamer was given the opportunity to chat to Reclamation Games’ Dave Wightman and check out the game’s Steam demo.
Dave Wightman is the only full-time developer in Reclamation Games, though numerous contractors have made major contributions to Reina and Jericho, and he cites Supergiant Games’ titles and Celeste as additional inspirations for the game. The game begins with Reina being given an item by Jericho, who is immediately abducted. Reina goes after him, quickly ending up in over her head, not knowing who took him or why, and captured within a large fortress. Fortunately, the item she received helps her greatly in this endeavour, as she quickly learns it gives her the ability to go back in time. This initially comes with an enforced platforming failure where it activates automatically as a safeguard, but Reina also learns that she can control it manually. If defeated in combat, Reina goes back to the last fountain — which act as recovery and save points — she visited, though platforming failures will simply put her back at the start of that room with slightly reduced health.
The time-travelling mechanic looks like it will provide lots of interesting elements both puzzle and story-wise, as it lets Reina keep her memories and retain anything she picked up from the future. For example, one puzzle in the demo requires Reina goes down to an area where there is no apparent way back up. However, after she pick up the item she needs, Reina can simply reset to when she’d just entered the room, still carrying the item. There are some other player-friendly elements too. Rather than having to repeat boss fights, if players end up travelling back to before they were defeated, the game will just cut ahead to the boss’ defeat when she enters they room. The demo doesn’t yet show the full depth to which the time-travelling will impact the story, but players can rig a fun example in the very opening scenes and there are plenty of hints, obvious and subtle, at deeper things going on that have very much piqued my interest.
Player choice will also have an impact on how the story plays out. A major example is a choice of three routes that appears at the end of the demo, and players can go through these in whichever order they choose. One of these leads to interactions with the character Katherine Melzer; Reina can come across her not knowing about her, but if players do one of the other routes first, Reina will learn things that greatly impact her conversations with Katherine. Dave Wightman’s passion for the game’s storytelling comes across clearly in his explanations of the game’s themes, such as cause-and-effect and how Reina’s experience is much closer to that of the player’s than regular heroes who don’t recall their failures.
Reina and Jericho’s combat has a solid feel to it in the demo. Character progression and exploration follow the usual Metroidvania formula as players unlock doors or gain new abilities leading to new rooms. The new abilities also give Reina extra combat opportunities. Combat is driven by basic combos and dodging; when players hit enemies they may begin to flash, which indicates a temporary power-up to prevent players from attempting to just to wail on opponents. The platforming sections feel great too, with the only caveat so far being that activating the wall jump mechanic sometimes feels tough to get right. Reina and Jericho has all it needs to be a strong entry in the genre.
The story is a big part of Reina and Jericho’s appeal, but Reclamation Games has spent time ensuring the game is friendly to streamers and speedrunners. The game lets players add a timer to the screen and features a special speedrunner mode that lets players skip through the plot events. There are also a few assistance options that can be turned on, including removing the health penalty for platforming mishaps, and increased health or defence whenever Reina is defeated. It is expected to take most players around a dozen hours for regular story mode play, with the game including multiple endings, while familiar speedrunners should be able to finish it in ninety minutes to two hours. In addition, a randomiser is expected to be added a few months after launch.
Further aiding the appeal is a nice modern aesthetic that works really well with the 3D modelling. The music, composed by Dave’s wife Vanessa, also helps to make the game stand out with a heavy piano-based style that plays well into Reina’s current emotions as she tries to figure out what’s going on. Reina and Jericho is expected to launch later this year for PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions are also planned but will come a little later due to the Reclamation Games’ limited resources. From what I’ve seen from the demo and learned in my conversation with Dave, it’s absolutely one that RPGamer’s should keep an eye on.