Reveil review

by on March 13, 2024

Last year’s Layers of Fear reimagining was a new benchmark for the first-person horror narrative genre, completely blowing me away with its creativity and stunning visual presentation. It feels as though developer Pixelsplit has taken somewhat of an inspiration from Bloober Team’s original Layers of Fear releases when making Reveil. It certainly looks fantastic with its photorealistic style and the drip-feeding of its horror elements, but there’re a few things that broke the immersion for me and stopped it reaching its full potential.

You play as a guy called Walter who wakes up alone in his bed with a banging headache and no recollection of why you’re there. Your wife Martha and daughter Dorie are missing, too. So what’s going on? Through a mix of interesting puzzles, avoiding the creatures that are lurking around, and some beautifully detailed environments, it’s your job to work out why you keep returning to your bed after witnessing some rather horrific things.

There’s a sense of rinse and repeat with Reveil. You meander through your apartment or the circus grounds which your family are members of, and try to solve a range of puzzles in the process. Thankfully, there are some interesting ideas at play, along with plenty of notes to interact with that help to flesh out what’s going on. The first time I stepped into the circus was pretty spectacular. It’s a gorgeous game, and it didn’t take long until Pixelsplit’s efforts at making such a weird and unfamiliar world felt appealing.

Unfortunately, while the puzzles are engaging and tricky enough to keep you thinking, the horror elements are let down by the main character’s voice acting. It’s not bad at all (the performance is good), but it’s the way he reacts to what’s happening, or rather his lack of a reaction. You see some pretty horrid things in Reveil, and every time he seems to feel as though they’re minor inconveniences than anything else. To any normal person, you’d be shitting yourself at the sight of blood running down walls and disfigured creatures in your bathroom, but with Walter, it’s like “oh bother, never mind I’ll just go grab a coffee and wait for it all to blow over.”

His reactions don’t fit with the freaky occurrences and jump scares, and only on a few occasions did he actually seem genuinely bothered by what he was seeing. On top of that, the break in immersion happens when you encounter some of the monsters you have to avoid. By creeping around you’ll often avoid them, but some move so slowly that it never feels as though you’re trying to escape from anything other than a drunken fool who’s had one too many beers.

While a lot of horror games want you to quake in your boots and hide behind the sofa, Reveil feels more like it wants to tell a story about family turmoil and internal struggles than monsters that rip you in half and hunt you down like the Predator. I wasn’t disappointed by the horror, but I would have liked a bit more authenticity in Walter’s performance. As a game, Reveil gets a lot right. It’s never outright hard, but it does challenge you to think outside the box with some of the puzzles, and it looks wonderful thanks to the effort put into making the environments engaging and interesting.

It also does that thing where the changes between the apartment are nuanced every time you return. It slowly introduces new details and implores you to explore and work out what’s happening as reality and imagination begin to blur. While it might not reach the heights of other horror narratives, it still kept me engaged, and despite the tension never reaching the heights I wanted, I loved the world of Reveil and what the developer has done with the environments. It’s creepy more than terrifying, but there are still plenty of moments to keep you feeling uneasy.


Stunning environments
Enjoyable puzzles
Interesting story


Odd tone in Walter's reaction
Some stealth bits aren't scary

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Reveil might not be outwardly terrifying, but it looks incredible and has some interesting puzzles with plenty of variety.