Ravenlok is the third sport in developer Cococucumber’s self-described voxel trilogy, a sequence that’s largely unconnected except for its strikingly boxy visible type and some characters. Launching straight onto Sport Go, Ravenlok is an action-adventure aimed youthful avid gamers and informal gamers who need one thing gentle and breezy. It’s the gaming equal of a bedtime story.
You play as Lily, a younger woman busy exploring the home that her Grandmother left to her dad and mom out in some unidentified rural haven. However within the barn a secret lurks, a mirror that drags Lily into one other world dominated by an evil queen that has cursed the land. In each nook and cranny, in each teapot and teacup, you’ll discover C.S Lewis’ Alice in Wonderland. Ravenlok is closely impressed by the basic story of Alice’s tumble into the rabbit gap, from its evil Queen guarded by card troopers to the Mad Hatter internet hosting a tea occasion. Like Alice herself, Lily has fallen right into a world the place the same old guidelines don’t appear to use, the place one thing unusual and fantastic lurks behind each nook.
In true fantasy type, Lily is the hero of this fable, taking on protect and sword because the prophesised Ravenlok who will slay the Queen and save the realm. Alongside the way in which, she’ll make pals with a white rabbit, free the soot bunnies, assist out a witch and possibly even be again in supper time. All of this takes place in a beautiful, vibrant world constructed of tiny cubes that give Ravenlok a hanging aesthetic. Whereas the degrees you wander via will not be huge, they’re splendidly realised home windows right into a fantasy world that I’d like to see extra of, however alas Ravenlok solely gives the smallest of glimpses. The usage of voxels is fascinating as a result of from a distance you possibly can’t inform that every part is manufactured from squares. It’s not till you look intently that you simply discover how every part is constructed from hundreds of cubes to create Ravenlok’s beautiful visuals.
The story is straightforward and charming, instructed solely via textual content packing containers. Whereas this implies there isn’t a lot depth to the story or to the characters, the simplicity is great for youthful avid gamers who most likely don’t wish to spend a lot time studying via a novel’s price of wordy waste. The largest disgrace of the minimal storytelling is that the sport references Lily’s bond to the assorted fairytale creatures she encounters with out ever actually displaying it. At one level she refers to all of them as ‘household’ and but she’s solely exchanged a couple of sentences with them, and people have been principally expositional.
That drawback extends to Lily herself. She has no character, no actual motivations for doing what she’s doing. She doesn’t even seem like fazed that she has been pulled into a very alien and fantastical world, or that she is now busy slicing via a couple of hundred enemies. I’m not saying she must be wracked with guilt or one thing, however some kind of response can be good.
I wish to be clear, although – I don’t suppose it is a enormous difficulty. Ravenlok is extra of a kids’s fairy story, one which doesn’t wish to get in the way in which of truly taking part in it. Contemplating that is aimed toward youthful avid gamers or extra informal gamers the choice to deal with maintaining individuals within the sport is comprehensible, and youngsters’s storybooks usually don’t spend a variety of time crafting deep characters and tales.
Most of what you’ll be doing exploring the small ranges to be able to discover necessary objects. It’s a basic piece of videogame design, actually: the gate to the Queen is locked and the one option to open it’s to seek out three particular keys scattered internationally. As a way to discover these, you must assist out the inhabitants, normally by doing a couple of fetch quests after which duking it out in a boss combat, like preventing Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Should you’ve ever performed a videogame in your life, it’s fairly acquainted stuff.
Within the overview information despatched with the sport, the builders point out eager to make Ravenlok’s fight accessible to everybody, they usually’ve actually carried out that. There’s a single assault button that makes Lily swipe her sword backward and forward at a velocity which might make Tinder customers jealous. This will get augmented by 4 particular talents which might be steadily unlocked over the 3-5 hours journey, and these do issues like hurling some balls of frost that mechanically monitor targets or a flurry of sword swings which might be good for big teams of foes which you’ll usually encounter.
On the defensive aspect of issues, you get two choices for maintaining Lily secure: a fundamental block and a swift dodge. Each have their makes use of however I admit to discovering the block largely ineffective all through the sport and relied much more on the dodge. The explanation for that is that Lily’s sword assault additionally interrupts enemies, so it’s fairly straightforward to maintain even massive mobs in verify by swiping like mad and dashing round. Second, a lot of the assaults that the boss monsters hurl your approach are higher dodged than blocked.
Should you’ve learn via the final couple of paragraphs and are available to the conclusion that fight sounds easy, you’d be proper. The hardcore gamer in me needs to scold the builders for the way fundamental fights are in Ravenlok, however I have to maintain that half in verify as a result of the criticism simply isn’t particularly reasonable. In the identical overview information I discussed earlier, Cococucumber speaks about how “particular consideration” was given to youthful video games who had graduated from Riverbond, one in all their earlier video games. As somebody who has been taking part in video games for one thing like 25 years, it may be laborious to place myself again into the mindset of somebody who hasn’t spent dozens of hours taking part in Satan Might Cry, so I did the following neatest thing and handed the sport to my niece, who’s 9 years outdated. She discovered the fight to be enjoyable and loved attending to slice up heaps of unhealthy guys, and the talents added only a contact of depth for her.
The enemy AI is a bit of unusual as a result of in the event you ignore them and run via areas, they received’t react. I can’t fairly determine if it is a mistake or a deliberate design determination. It actually makes backtracking easier since you possibly can simply decide out of preventing, and even when a couple of of them do react to your presence they’re approach too gradual to catch up. This might have been carried out to cease the simplistic fight from turning into too repetitive. Or the enemy AI is dumber than a hedgehog on heroin.
Talking of dumb, there are a couple of “stealth” sections within the sport. I really want you to think about air quotes dropping closely across the phrase stealth, there, as a result of enemies can’t truly spot you, per se. It’s potential to face in entrance of them and it received’t depend as being caught. No, the one option to fail is to fairly actually contact them. Once more, this retains it easy for youths for informal gamers, however it will probably additionally really feel like a bug relatively than a part of the sport, virtually as if anyone forgot to program a cone of imaginative and prescient into the enemies.
Fallen foes will drop a forex which you could hand over to a particular character to stage up, growing your total well being and injury. On this approach, the sport has a barely customisable problem as a result of in the event you neglect to stage up then enemies will begin to take longer to defeat. In concept, then, you can keep away from levelling altogether as much as make Ravenlok tougher, though I believe that’s a nasty possibility as a result of enemies change into strolling injury sponges.
There are a couple of puzzles sprinkled all through the sport, too, simply easy little mind teasers to assist break up the fight. These are usually a case of discovering a couple of symbols hidden across the space or counting statues to be able to enter a code. Once more, for an skilled gamer, it’s all fairly normal stuff however for youthful followers I believe they’re properly judged diversions.
All through the assorted locales, you’ll stumble throughout optionally available side-quests, and I like that the sport doesn’t attempt to supply grand rewards for them. In return for locating some teacups, scouring the realm for collectible figurines or participating in a mini-boss combat your reward is normally a nifty hat or a couple of well being potions or a little bit of coin that you should utilize within the store to purchase some bombs. However in any other case, they are surely utterly optionally available.
Navigating mentioned locales generally is a little troublesome because of the restrictive digicam. Though not utterly locked into place, you’ve minimal management of the place you’re wanting. You can’t, for instance, spin the digicam all the way in which round. That may often make discovering issues hidden within the surroundings a bit of awkward as a result of it’s important to blindly stumble towards the digicam so that it’ll shift. It bugged me a bit of, and on a few events resulted in me being unable to see or operating headfirst into enemies I couldn’t see.
There’s an old-school design vibe to Ravenlok that I actually recognize. The button-mashy preventing, the fastened digicam views and the simple storytelling took me again to my days on the PS1, particularly the sound the little textual content packing containers make after they pop up.
Ravenlok delights in its straightforwardness. It’s not making an attempt to be an epic triple-A journey or a deeply significant story of morality. As an alternative, it’s content material to be an enthralling little gem that’s nice for youthful avid gamers or anybody simply in search of some stress-free, relaxed gaming. Supplied you perceive what you’re leaping into, Ravenlok shall be a nice and cozy option to spend 3 or 4 hours hacking via a bunch of brain-dead foes and admiring the colourful panorama.