|Platforms||PC (reviewed), Xbox consoles|
|Release Date||May 4, 2023|
From Cococucumber comes Ravenlok, a 3D adventure game based on the classic, Alice in Wonderland. Players will solve puzzles, fetch items, and battle against enemies in a graphically fantastic land. But are the visuals enough to keep players? Let’s review.
Violence: You fight with a sword, use explosive magic, and deal with monsters of all types. There is no blood, gore, or anything graphic.
Sexual Themes: None
Substance Abuse: None
Negative Themes: The tale of a dark queen wanting to conquer a land, using evil magic to bring inanimate objects to life for the player to fight.
Spiritual Takeaway: Sometimes greatness is thrust upon us. We serve a God that has a plan for us. We may one day get called to a mission field, we may get called to stay at our job and work through the ranks. And even if a white rabbit doesn’t hail our arrival, there is something out there only we can do, and God calls for us to do it. Just be careful cleaning mirrors…
The player’s character begins at a new farmhouse. They have just moved, and a new adventure for the family is beginning. After a few short fetch objectives, the player is whisked away through a magic mirror into a land, and a quest awaits her.
I first saw this game at a summer game preview, and was intrigued. It was a welcome shift from all the dark, creepy games and the mountain of farming sims showcased. However, after playing the game, it seems they were hiding some issues behind their glamour.
Ravenlok had the promise of exciting combat and fantastical visuals, but they left out everything else. For starters, the story is too straightforward. It’s not unusual for the beginning of a game to have fetch quests, but this is a clear indication of what the rest of the game is as well. Finding the mirror to another world felt underwhelming, and the pace of things is to the point that the charm of a fantasy land is lost. The characters all feel like they’ve done this before, like this is the last day of a weekend broadway show and everyone is over it, and only a few people are in the audience.
The main character isn’t any better. The game’s dialogue is stilted. While the game’s characters are quirky and unique, their dialogue often comes across as forced and unnatural. This is particularly true for the game’s protagonist, who is supposed to be a relatable and likable, but often falls flat due to her poorly written dialogue.
The fighting feels dry. It’s just button-mashing, with no challenge. The enemies have easy telegraphed attacks, and most of the grunts don’t even put up a fight. Ravenlok can use her sword, a magic attack, and items from her inventory to keep things a little mixed. Young gamers may find the puzzle dynamics frustrating since they are not easily found, or highlighted.
The visuals, as mentioned earlier, are spectacular. Things are designed between blocky and 3D voxel, which pleasingly blends to look like Minecraft and Pokémon Violet. The menus, the gameplay, and controls work well too. The soundtrack is catchy, and even the time it takes to beat the game is fairly short. This is another game that has potential, but with a glaring problem. Ravenlok relied a bit too much on the Wonderland, and perhaps next time could explore the Alice.
The Bottom Line
Good graphics don't make up for the rest of the game's issues.