From the makers of Echo Generation, Cococucumber brings us Ravenlok, an action-adventure game that brings us into a mesmerizing fantasy voxel world. In our Ravenlok review, we’ll take a look at the title, and what it brings to the genre.
For the record, I never heard of Cococucumber until I did my quick research on this indie developer. They released Echo Generation last 2021 and after binging on some gameplay footage, I actually got the impression that Ravenlok was a sequel to this game because of the similarities in the voxel art style.
I scratched my head when I got my early access review code for this game because I thought I would need to play Echo Generation first before diving into Ravenlok because of how their website described the game as part of a trilogy.
Enchanting as the game may be is it worth replaying again? Here’s my Ravenlok review.
Going in blindly into Ravenlok, here’s the game’s synopsis in a nutshell: a girl just moved in with her family in some countryside, she finds a mirror that will take her to this magical place called Dunia and she’s met with some peculiar creatures. She then goes on an adventure to find a way to liberate these creatures from a tyrannical caterpillar queen.
The story, in general, is a bit too simple for my taste, and clearly aimed at a younger audience. Ravenlok could’ve been more interesting if it had more interactive cutscenes to make a bit more use of its setting, and characters.
In the first few hours of the game, I got really curious about what Ravenlok had to offer, exploring every nook and cranny since you’re challenged to find items that can help progress the story. However, the longer I immersed myself in Dunia, I just felt that there was something missing behind these adventures.
Overall, Ravenlok tried its best to create a fairytale in an alternate voxel universe even if it doesn’t do enough to stand out.
The environment design feels immersive with all the colors coming together, and is certainly a highlight. I almost thought I was playing Minecraft Legends because of its similar vibe if you’re going to look at its game cover.
Despite its linear-level design, I actually enjoy exploring the world – it felt magical enough for me to get hooked. A minimap would’ve been nice but looking at the game developer’s perspective, I understood why they didn’t put a map because the realm of Dunia will encourage you to explore further in this Alice In Wonderland-inspired world.
Introducing end-game content would’ve been nice too if I wanted to continue to explore the game instead of starting from the beginning and going through the same scenes. Ravenlok is probably speedrun-worthy if they also added in some difficulty options or at least something like a “New Game+”.
I wish the team also invested in voice actors to add more immersion to the game. Although I’m a bookworm and I can tolerate reading character dialogues, other players might get impatient with reading to the point that they’ll get easily bored and just skip to the fighting part. But at least they compensated for the great ethereal soundtrack.
The first thing I notice while playing Ravenlok is the confusing quest system. For instance, I would talk to a character in the game, then the on-screen interface will suddenly shift the focus to a new quest removing priority from the previous active quest which can ruin the story flow.
Then you’ll be surprised that you’re stacked with a lot of quest backlogs, you wouldn’t know which quest to prioritize first. I understand that some RPGs implement this “shiny object syndrome” of fulfilling random quests, but at least give us a distinction between a main or side quest.
I also thought I would be able to utilize the items in the game. However, because of Ravenlok’s easy-to-play mechanics, I didn’t feel the need to grind money for the bombs or even use them.
I also thought the hats would give off some special effects while playing the game but they’re just for cosmetics.
Combat & Gameplay
Attack animations were smooth and easy to pick up but they lacked depth and the overall combat mechanics felt mediocre. I found the boss fights to be a walk in the park since I could easily read their basic attack patterns. The only time that I remembered dying was on the last two bosses.
Ravenlok is playable with either a mouse and keyboard (M&K) or a gamepad. Playing this on M&K felt awkward so I chose to play with the gamepad instead – my 8bitdo controller to be more specific.
I wish they implemented a stamina drain for the dashes aside from the shield blocking which I rarely used – it could’ve made Ravenlok more challenging. There’s also no mana system in place for the abilities that I would acquire in the game. Instead, I spammed the abilities just to quickly finish off the enemies.
The annoying part of Ravenlok was not the oversimplified combat – it was looking for items or solving puzzles in the voxel world. I even reached a point in the starting hours of the game where I took a long nap because I was having a hard time looking for the key quest items at the part of the story where you just moved into the countryside.
Ravenlok has a lot of enemy variety and I praise the team for their best efforts in being creative. The art style did keep me hooked but I wish they added some lore for me so I can learn about their origins. Maybe add a lore system similar to 9 Years of Shadows.
For instance, I got hooked on exploring this Mushroom Forest where I encountered this Weeping Fungi and I thought they did a great job of depicting how scary it is. There was also this scene where I got ambushed by ninjas and I expected some challenge or even this other boss below before entering the Queen’s castle.
The boss encounters felt like fighting ordinary minions so I didn’t really feel that sense of accomplishment. If I was going to make a general boss guide, it would be just spamming the attack and dodge buttons. But I guess the devs over at Cococucumber went with accessibility over difficulty which is also understandable since it is a fairytale.
Ravenlok is one of those games that you can finish in a whole day. It’s a fun and immersive experience especially when dealing with the enemies you encounter but fighting most of them didn’t feel very challenging. The characters in the game were really well-made, it just lacked some voices to make Ravenlok more interesting to play instead of skimming through comic book dialogues.
Aside from the confusing quest system, additional difficulty options would’ve been a good quality-of-life improvement to Ravenlok, especially for gaming veterans who want a more challenging experience. The devs did their best to make the game intriguing by cleverly hiding quest items inside the voxel world making it appealing to puzzle solvers, but it doesn’t always work to the player’s benefit.
On the bright side, at least I have discovered another indie gem developer that I can watch and now I’m curious about how their other games did. I hope Cococucumber improves on the next games that they plan to release because they have one of the best voxel art that I’ve seen so far.
What did you think of our Ravenlok Review? Share what you think about it in the comments below.
This review is based on the PC version of Ravenlok. The key was provided by Cococucumber.