REVIEW: ‘Ravenlok’ Is a Tepid Twist (XSX)

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Ravenlok — But Why Tho

A story that seems to get adapted quite a bit is Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. A fantastical tale of a girl from our world falling into and surviving a near-incomprehensible world. This one book has spawned countless movie adaptations, movies, and video games. Ravenlok, by Cococumber, appears to have taken those inspirations and made their own spin on this classic tale. With classic characters and new friends joining on the adventure, we dive down a new rabbit hole on this interesting action-adventure game.

Ravenlok follows a young girl who has just moved into a new home. While unpacking, this girl finds a mirror that pulls her into a whimsical world full of talking animals and dangerous nightmarish creatures. She quickly learns that she is the Ravenlok, a heroine of legend who will stop the caterpillar queen and bring back normalcy, or at least the citizens’ definition of normalcy, to their world. With the help of the white rabbit, Ravenlok sets out on her destiny and helps any citizen in need during her journey.

What stood out with the story was how go-with-the-flow Ravenlok is. This girl gets whisked away to this outlandish world, quickly learns that she is some hero of legend, and is just… fine with it. No questions about where she is or what happened. She just gets told what her destiny is and, without a second thought, goes on the hunt for a sword. She’s ready to throw down. Now, I’m not playing Ravenlok for a deep story. But I would like a little more buildup or pushback, especially when the intro builds on Ravenlok’s relationship with her parents, who seem never to get mentioned again after those beginning moments.

Ravenlok — But Why Tho

Story aside, the gameplay is fairly fun. It’s a mix of puzzle-solving and hack-and-slash combat. Where Ravenlok shines, though, is its art style. This world and its characters are all beautifully designed with 3-D voxel-style artwork. Every area feels unique from the last, with bright colors that always hide a more grim undertone. My favorite areas were, hands down, the mad tea party area and the queen’s castle, just from the sheer detail alone fit in every corner.

The combat wasn’t the most impressive. It’s very much a hack-and-slash style game, where you’re just walloping on any enemy you come across. There are some abilities that get unlocked as you play, like a sword flurry, fireballs, and a dash, yet they never felt necessary to use. The basic attack always got the job done. This may sound boring, but it still felt like it required some skill to get enemies just right to defeat them quickly. But this is where combat can get stale very quickly. Average enemies and bosses seemed to quickly and easily get stun locked. If I hit a random enemy first, I could take them out completely before they could even recover. I could be wailing on the same foe for a good 15-20 seconds with them not being able to retaliate at all.

Even boss fights, which felt like they could be spectacles, felt too easy after getting the hang of combat. There wasn’t much of an issue all the way through to the final boss, surprisingly. Boss attacks were overly telegraphed and could easily be dodged. On top of that, with the number of health potions that could be carried at a time, damage never really felt like an issue. Plus, with how easy it was to grind levels, especially near the end of the game, the end of the game felt like a joke at max level.

Ravenlok — But Why Tho

Fighting wasn’t the only thing going on in Ravenlok. This game is full of puzzles. These puzzles aren’t as much staring at a screen and shuffling pieces around. They’re moreso you’re given ideas of what to find, then you need to find them and implement them. This sounds interesting, but the puzzles are far too easy for their own good. There were more times when solutions to puzzles were discovered before a puzzle could even be found. Even worse, they don’t get more complicated or change in how they’re implemented. But, what was most tiresome was that most of these puzzles were played off as “quests,” which led to new areas and new fights. If they were actual puzzles with solutions, great. But they ended up being MacGuffins for the next adventure.

That isn’t to say there aren’t some puzzles that aren’t of the brainteaser variety. Just, those are all memorization focused and become trivial with a simple pad of paper and a pencil. There was never anything challenging besides finding collectibles that had me sit there and think about what had to be done.

Ravenlok was an interesting concept. One that drew me in with its interesting art style. The art style is where the intrigue ends. It’s a fun couple hours for a turn-your-brain-off game, but hoping for anything beyond that will quickly become disappointing. Its clunky and overtly simplistic combat gets dull. Most of the puzzles are not-so-hidden MacGuffins for what specifically to do next. With more refinement, Ravenlok could’ve been an interesting twist on a beloved tale. In its current state though, it’s just simply okay.

Ravenlokis available on May 4th Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC.

  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10


With more refinement, Ravenlok could’ve been an interesting twist on a beloved tale. In its current state, though, it’s just simply okay.

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