TEVI Review – A Hop, Skip, and Jump With Bunnies & Bullets

Bring some scrumptious waffles and bunny ears for this adventure!
Image Source: CreSpirit via Twinfinite
Image Source: CreSpirit via Twinfinite

TEVI on PC

Recommended Videos

Video games have long since become one of the most moldable mediums of modern storytelling and world-building, and it would only make sense that anime, another popular medium with similar traits, would come to mesh both together and create some exuberantly magical titles. So far we’ve seen all different kinds, from the emotionally riveting, to action-packed adventures, to the comedic and shamelessly whimsical. CreSpirit’s TEVI proudly embraces a number of those big characteristics in a fiercely tight, cheerful hug, and it all works stupendously.

The impassioned developers behind TEVI, which include Ein Lee, Waero, and GemaYue, are no strangers to this eccentrically-styled niche of anime-inspired games. Their creative history is decorated with a number of beloved titles such as Rabi-Ribi and Last Command. TEVI joins in with them as the latest 2D, side-scrolling Metroidvania adventure, and impressively the biggest one yet from this team in just about every sense. As fans want more and more quality content from these particular types of games, myself included, TEVI absolutely delivers it on a cute, animal-shaped silver platter.

The game starts off by giving you the option to pick from a whopping six difficulty tiers, from ‘Cakewalk’ up to ‘Expert’ on your first playthrough. The highest difficulty is inaccessible most likely until you beat the game at least once, per tradition. Afterward, the game opens with a mysterious flashback sequence at the burning Palace of Ana Thema, and quickly establishes various terms for us to (hopefully) remember, from the “Key of Dust”, to “Elysium”, to “Astral Gears”.

Oh and a land called “Az” and an Empress named Dahlia. It’s kind of a lot to take in so fast, but you have to remind yourself that at its core, this game is meant to be an exciting, bullet-flashing joyride, so just buckle in for the time being and take the story as it comes.

TEVI who is the character named Tevi
Image Source: CreSpirit via Twinfinite

After a dramatic outro with the Empress, we’re then swiftly taken back to the present, and introduced to a young, quirky girl named Tevi (ahaa), who stands out not just for her funny and mischievous personality, but the undeniably adorable rabbit ears poking out of her oversized hat. Her whole, very cosplay’able look certainly hearkens to the usual eccentric style aesthetics seen in anime, and trust me, this game plays to it full force across the entire cast.

As we find out, Tevi has purposefully gotten herself captured by a gang of bandits known as the Golden Hands, and one of their members named Ribauld makes his boisterous acquaintance, with a robotic arm and bear ears to boot. Can’t say exactly how intimidating this makes him versus an actual bear, but the whole exchange between them is hilarious enough, with him obliviously revealing the location of the secret treasure that Tevi is actually there looking for. After he leaves, her clever ruse of the frightened and fragile girl quickly drops, revealing one that’s instead utterly confident and unimpressed by the thugs who clearly can’t keep a secret.

TEVI how the gameplay in Tevi works
Image Source: CreSpirit via Twinfinite

Tevi thus sets out on her mission (now in adorable pixelated form) to find said secret treasure, allowing the player to take control from here on out. Things start off simple enough, with figuring out how to navigate the environment and perform basic abilities. Since the sheer number of combat abilities and other gameplay mechanics does add up over time, I found myself honestly preferring the controller for this type of game over the keyboard and mouse. It ultimately depends on what you’re comfortable with, but if you want to stick to the keyboard, you may be spending a bit of time remapping a lot of things.

Despite that, however, the gameplay itself feels remarkably smooth and fluid for a 2D side-scroller with multi-tiered levels to maneuver. Executing moves and attacks against enemies feels polished and near-perfectly responsive, with little to no delay, which is a must in a game with a multitude of combos. The combos themselves are often simple enough, and landing them in succession feels wonderfully satisfying. In the off-chance that you happen to forget how to do one though, there’s no need to fret as simply going to your character menu (“Option” on controller; “Esc” on keyboard) displays the entire list of named combos you’ve learned thus far in the game.

TEVI how does the Character Menu work
Image Source: CreSpirit

On that note, the functionality of the entire Character Menu system, especially in a game with so many interactive parts and items to use, is thankfully pretty straightforward. As seen above, you have your character’s level, basic stats (HP & MP), along with all of their unlocked abilities displayed below with helpful descriptions for what they do. As you bring more party members on board, you’ll be able to switch characters as well to see all of their specs at any given time.

Alongside that is your Items (or Inventory where key items, gear, weapons, and consumables are kept), your Sigils (these provide various perks to your character in and out of battle), your Crafting Menu where you craft upgrades and cook up scrumptious desserts for buffs, your interactive Map which is a lifesaver, and finally your Notebook which catalogs events, locations, and lore you may have missed before.

Soon enough, you start bumping into a literal smorgasbord of characters that, while friend or foe, are the most colorful bunch you could possibly think of. Just on the visual side, each notable character is intricately designed with the trademark eccentricity that Tevi has, from their variety of animal features to every detail of clothing. Granted, not all of them have fluffy ears and a tail. Those that do are known as Beastkin, while others include Humans, Magitech, etc. As for what Tevi is exactly, I’ll simply say that her bunny ears play a special role.

TEVI what are the characters in the game
Image Source: CreSpirit via Twinfinite

The game boasts an impressive roster of over 50 characters with voice acted dialogue, and all of the ones I’ve heard so far go above and beyond with their personas, especially your two primary sidekicks Celia (seen above) and Sable, as well as Tevi’s father Zema. Every phrase is spoken with unwavering flair, and it keeps your attention quite well, even in the more long-winded conversations. It brings a much-needed personality buff, so to speak, to characters who otherwise can come across as technically “flat”. That is, while not necessarily boring or uninspiring, flat characters tend to be relatively predictable in nature, and their personal arcs tend not to change much over the course of events. It’s not at all uncommon in the realm of anime, so it’s not too surprising to find that here.

However, it’s something that honestly doesn’t inhibit the game all that much. If it were a narrative-driven one, it would be an issue in that case, but this is almost the antithesis of intimate storytelling. It’s an adorably funny, fast-paced, bullet hell metroidvania romp that knows that it doesn’t need to get dramatic, and frankly it would be a bit weird if it did.

Another feather in its bunny cap is the fantastically creative level design. Every area is entirely unique with different characters, enemies, interactives, and perhaps best of all is that they’re all seamlessly interconnected. You can literally step from one area right into another in a blink, and the map easily lets you know which one is which, and even provides the overall percentage that you’ve explored in each one. To make things even easier, you can use teleport hubs that can take you to any other hub you’ve a

If you’re worried that you’re going to run out of places to see too fast, Tevi actually has quite the journey in front of her with over 40 different areas in all from start to finish. That scale of exploration, again in a 2D sidescroller, is equal parts impressive and admirable. It shows that the development team wanted to go all out for Tevi’s adventure, from the casual drop-ins at shops to the deepest expeditions and fiercest of battles.

TEVI how many areas are there in the game
Image Source: CreSpirit

On top of all that, every area features its own unique and memorable soundtrack piece that perfectly accentuates the given vibe. Even some cutscenes and boss fights get their own musical number also, so no matter where you go or who you bump into, fantastic tunes will follow. The actual OST has over 70 original tracks, which is a legitimate accomplishment for a single game.

As I progressed through the story, the experience only got bigger, flashier, and seriously cooler. The boss battles scattered through do well to test you on the abilities you’ve learned, and push you to get strategic with each phase. Some of them do get quite challenging, and it can take a few tries to find that perfect sequence of combinations to clench victory.

TEVI what is the game progression like
Image Source: CreSpirit

In terms of replayability, I do feel like TEVI firmly checks that mark off as well. Of course with multiple difficulties, dozens of explorable areas, secrets to find and so much more throughout the game, that would be entirely expected. It has to not only be technically be replayable though, it has to feel that way, and TEVI has given me that feeling so far. While I haven’t closed the book on my first run just yet, I’m anxious to discover anything I’ve overlooked, and everything that’s still waiting to be found.

Not only that, Tevi is honestly a very enjoyable character to play as, with all her charisma, silliness, and of course her bunny-tier agility and battle dexterity. Much of the game’s cast was very entertaining to watch and interact with, though I still felt like Tevi kept a good chunk of the spotlight throughout, for better or worse. Part of me wishes that some of them were a tad less trope’ish, and that some conversations felt less like winded filler and more meaningful to sit through. I found it a bit ironic that even on the first run, literally all dialogue features a ‘Fast Forward’ button, and even a ‘Skip’ button if the first option isn’t quick enough for you.

Nonetheless, TEVI is not only a super fun and well-constructed addition to the metroidvania niche, I think it’s also definitely helping to usher forth the modernized 2D side-scroller renaissance that’s breathing new life into the most classic format of gaming. Development teams across the globe are contributing more and more to it, and I’m so glad to see that CreSpirit is continuing to do what they do best, and having little Tevi lead the way.

4
TEVI
The impassioned developers behind TEVI, which include Ein Lee, Waero, and GemaYue, are no strangers to this eccentrically-styled niche of anime-inspired games. Their creative history is decorated with a number of beloved titles such as Rabi-Ribi and Last Command. TEVI joins in with them as the latest 2D, side-scrolling Metroidvania adventure, and impressively the biggest one yet from this team in just about every sense. As fans want more and more quality content from these particular types of games, myself included, TEVI absolutely delivers it on a cute, animal-shaped silver platter.
Pros
  • Fantastically smooth, responsive, and flashy gameplay that feels so satisfying.
  • Flexible scales of difficulty for those newer to the genre.
  • Superbly vibrant level designs that urge you to explore and full of unique characters, enemies, and bosses.
  • Beautiful and impressively diverse soundtrack that further adds to immersion.
  • Incredible amount of detail and voice acting with so many characters helps the story feel that much bigger.
Cons
  • Controls can feel tedious on the keyboard versus a controller.
  • Dialogue between characters can feel winded, mind-numbing at times, but thankfully (and ironically) skippable when needed.
  • Some characters feel 'flat' or trope'ish in personality, and in a game that postures so many, Tevi still outshines much of the time.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch (2023) PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (2024).
Author
Stephanie Watel
Stephanie Watel is a freelance writer for Twinfinite. Stephanie has been with the site for a few months, and in the games media industry for about a year. Stephanie typically covers the latest news and a variety of gaming guides for the site, and loves gardening and being the bird lady of the neighborhood. She has a BA in Writing from Pace University in NY.