Ravenlok Review – Harmless and family-friendly, but lacking in depth

Gare – Thursday, May 4, 2023 5:03 AM
Share on

Ravenlok is a game that made me think about target audiences. Do I judge a title based on what type of gamer it was likely made for? Or do I ignore all that and criticize it like any other game? I feel like the answer is somewhere in-between the two. In any case, you’re probably mighty confused, so let me dial things back a bit: Ravenlok is a charming action-adventure game from developer Cococucumber and it’s about a young girl getting transported to a magical fantasy land, where she must take up sword and shield to stop a tyrannical queen because… she’s evil, I guess. The game delivers what it says on the tin, but not much more than that. For younger audiences, this could be good – for older gamers looking for something more, not so much.

Welcome to Wonderland

That said, it’s beautiful game to look at. The art style is comfy and magical, with talking rabbits, creepy mushroom forests and lush gardens, often reminding me of works like Alice in Wonderland. It has plenty of heart and soul, which is always a good thing. The storyline is about as basic as you’d expect, though, and doesn’t really go beyond the premise I described above – it all feels like a Saturday morning children’s cartoon, with everything painted in clear black and white and the power of friendship inevitably saving the day. The game’s dialogue scenes reflect this mentality as well, with everything being very simple and straightforward, phrased in ways to make even younger children understand what’s going on. If the intention was to create something primarily for a younger audience, then Ravenlok succeeds: it provides harmless, family-friendly entertainment with simplistic narrative beats and easy to learn (and easy to master) combat. This, however, is obviously a double-edged sword, as it results in the project not being able to offer much to more seasoned gamers.

Adequate action

To make matters worse, Ravenlok’s battle system is more or less a one-button affair, and no, I’m not kidding. You have a sword and a shield, but the latter is completely pointless, as 99.99% of combat in the game boils down to mashing your one attack button while occasionally pushing another button to unleash one of your four cooldown-based special abilities. That’s it. Everything in the game can be permanently stunlocked, so just keep mashing that button and you’re good. Side quests also fall victim to this same design philosophy: everything is about collecting this or killing that; there’s no depth here, no interesting side stories to discover, only pure, MMO-inspired blandness. And there are so many of these quests. Just… so many. Pretty much every NPC in the game wants you to solve their problems, and it almost becomes comical as you watch your quest log turn into a mile-long shopping list of banalities. You can also buy items like healing potions and bombs, as well as spend accumulated experience points to level up Ravenlok, but once again, simplicity is the name of the game here. There are no different builds or play styles to consider, you just click a button and upgrade all your stats at once so you can do more damage and have more HP.

Simple is not always best

I’m honestly not sure what else I could say about Ravenlok at this point. There’s really not a lot of meat on its bones, but what it does is presented well, at least. Like I said, the visuals are stunning and some genuine effort seems to have gone into making each area stand out. It runs well, too, for what it’s worth. It functions as a video game. But it’s just so… milquetoast. Combat is utterly without depth, and the storyline is basically an evening fairytale that a parent would read to their kids before putting them to bed – simple, inoffensive and unimaginative. That said, Ravenlok remains a competently made game, and although it offers very little that would appeal to anyone older than 12, for a younger audience, it might very well be a hit. I wouldn’t recommend it to the average gamer, but if you’ve got kids, they might have some fun with it for a few hours.

If you liked this article, follow us on our channels below and/or register!