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Ravenlok Review – Haste Makes Waste in Wonderland -By Fsk

A beautiful but rather hollow and one-note journey to a familiar world of wonder and misrule.

Take a good look at Ravenlok and you’ll notice that Lewis Carroll’s fingerprints are embedded on every voxel. Alice’s two literary adventures in Wonderland (plus several other adaptations) have clearly influenced developer Cococumber, which also makes outdoor teapots, off-brand Queen of Hearts and fish-out-of-water-in-a-fairytale-world. from setup. However, Ravenloc shares more than just surface-level nods to that classic book. Yes, it’s beautiful and dreamlike, but it’s also as chaotic and nonsensical as Alice’s growing brain—for better and for worse.

Ravenloc is another gorgeous voxel adventure from Cococucumber, the delightfully named studio behind Echo Generation, only this time the turn-based combat is replaced with real-time slashing, and retro-80’s vibes mingle with the storybook world is switched. The journey begins with your heroine resting under a tree in the regular old world, before she walks through a strange mirror and into the magical world of Dunia. A white rabbit quickly explains that he is the titular chosen one of Ravenlok, and you are then swiftly dispatched to deal with the evil queen plaguing the world.

There’s an endless cycle of MacGuffin after MacGuffin that runs so deep, you almost forget why you’re falling down this rabbit hole. As you’re pushed through a revolving series of quests, the game speeds through significant events and quickly drops potentially interesting characters, meaning everything feels paper-thin. Even Ravenlok (the protagonist, not the game) feels one-note, as he isn’t given enough time to meaningfully interact with the wacky cast; Most of her interactions are polite and frictionless, almost like she’s keeping us at arm’s length. The credits roll before you truly understand how the world works, or who any of these colorful characters are.

Ravenlok Trailer.

On the other hand, though, this accelerated pace is what gives Ravenlok its dreamlike quality. Since we never stay in one place for too long, the game is free to constantly whip up new environments, new ideas, and new situations. It hardly makes sense, but Wonderland wasn’t a sensible place anyway. Everything lacks detail, but that allows Cococumber to throw interesting sights at you without interruption.

I’ve already mentioned the world’s good looks, but it’s worth emphasizing. It’s a collision of expressive tones, epic painting skies, heavy doses of beautiful light, and it all creates a huge sensory overload. The game revels in even the smallest of visuals, whether it’s the oddball character designs, the completely cluttered decorations, or even your character’s ability to dance at any given moment. Ravenlok’s audiovisual effort does much of the heavy lifting to inject the game with personality. Sure, every environment is littered with Alice iconography, but there’s always a little something extra thrown in.

Ravenlok Labyrinth

Ravenlok Mushroom

ravenloc mirror


Remember that one mushroom in Alice? Well, Ravenlook has a whole forest full of luminescent mushrooms – magic is actually putting magic into mushrooms. How about the hedge maze from the Disney movie? It’s here, it’s beautiful, and it also has an entrance to a monstrous, spiked cave. As such, Cococumber plays on the deadpan spirit of the Echo generation, where everything initially seems innocent, though it’s actually a bit twisted inwardly – ​​it probably helps that everyone’s eyes are actually dead, their cheerleaders Despite the smile Essentially, every new environment in Ravenlok makes you want to stop and stare to appreciate a grand vista, or the little hidden details.

The mostly fixed camera angle tries hard to frame the world in the most eye-catching angles, but it’s unfortunately a major handicap when it comes to combat. When battling regular enemies — including through Ravenlok’s corridor-sized levels — the camera is fine. This only becomes problematic in boss battles when there are big baddies running around behind your field of view. Instead of turning to see them, as you do in most action games, you’ll instead have to run backwards into the unknown, potentially putting yourself in harm’s way.

Sadly, this is just one of the many disappointments with Ravenlok’s feather-light combat. You have a sword for standard attacks, a shield to reduce incoming damage, some bombs that pause the action for as long as you choose, and some flashy magical abilities that shoot icy projectiles or fire. Flames cover the floor. Despite these options, most one-on-one fights turn into button-mashing fests. Ravenlok’s sword strike doesn’t really have a long animation: the faster you can press the attack, the faster he swings his sword. Since common enemies are usually stunned when you attack them, you can essentially threaten them with a flurry of non-stop slashes, turning battles into engagements. Group encounters fail to be any more dynamic, as the same button mashing is intact, but you have to dodge and change targets to avoid damage, which only serves to prolong that process.

ravenloc mirror

ravenloc heart


The main problem is just the monotony that sets in. Rather than feeling like a reactive dance – one where you’re learning the enemy’s behavior and responding to their movements accordingly – combat in Ravenlok is almost always very one-sided.

Boss fights are a little better – when they are in view – because they aren’t as easily pushed and have their own circle of moves that you can learn, dodge, and counter with. In that sense, the boss battles feel pretty old-school; Almost as if they are an obstacle course to fail and try again. Unfortunately, there’s no learning curve in combat most of the time, just some nice flashy effects. I think that’s what most of Ravenlok is about.

Sword swinging aside, there are some clever puzzles in here too. For example, the best ones force you to whip out your inner detective hat, and sometimes your real-life notebook, to examine the environment for clues, to find patterns in pictures to crack codes. We do. These were great fun because they encouraged me to take a closer look at this wonderful world and the little details that I might not otherwise have been able to see. I wish the game was filled with more of these exploratory puzzles because it plays to Ravenlok’s strengths and really lets you soak in the magic.

ravenloc combat


Overall, my time with Ravenloc can be summed up pretty well with the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland book. It ends in a way that is pertinent to the game: The King and Queen of Hearts organize a trial for an innocent man using an illogical, nearly unreadable poem as evidence. After gaining new perspective through her travels, a braver, bolder and literally bigger Alice defends the innocent, arguing that the evidence is meaningless. It’s a debate that follows the book into the real world – was this tragic novel childish nonsense, or could it have deeper meanings?

It was a question that ran through my mind even during this playthrough, although the answer here is probably the former. Ravenlok never sits in the moment, never bothers to ask if madness has any meaning, never twists language in a ‘curious and inquisitive’ way. Ultimately, my lasting memory of the game is a hazy collection of visual snapshots, and that was enough to hook me through 8 hours of play. It’s fascinating to look at and think about, however scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find nothing else to grab onto.