when i first saw Ravenclaw during The Game Awards 2022, I knew I had to dive into Wonderland one more time. That Cococucumber is behind one of the most beautiful projects of the year adds up, especially when the fabulous voxel art aesthetic dominates the screen. However, a couple of bosses have been enough to discover that it is all a facade for one of the great disappointments of 2023.
Free the kingdom of evil
He does not walk with consideration Ravenclaw, because in just a few minutes of departure we are already immersed in the middle of Dunia, a world in which fantasy, nonsense and inexplicable beings populate the place. It is essential to pass a tutorial on the farm where our protagonist lives, although the developer has decided not to waste time with a place that we will not visit again. The only thing we need to know is that the mirrors become the means of transport to a hubbub of fantastic realms.
The very name of the game is taken by the character we control, since she is the heroine prophesied by the inhabitants of the place to End the Caterpillar Queen’s tyrannical reign of terror. That is what Finn, the classic white rabbit from the story that we all know, warns us about, but he will not be the only one we will meet.
Alina, the crane, will receive us before the labyrinth zone, Poe will instruct us in the arts of combat, Mr. Hatter will reveal that he is involved in a web of textile exploitation and Idris the deer imposes his law in the mushroom forest. Each one of them fulfills its mission: they offer a bit more context about Dunia, we help them to free themselves from the yoke of some threat and they reward us by unlocking the next path.
A lifelong fairy tale that takes inspirations from JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and even Studio Ghibli filmsas recognized by Vanessa Chia, screenwriter and director of Ravenclaw. Thus, we will find scenarios that are as varied as the Mask Mansion, Tea Party, Clock Tower or the queen’s own castle. And yes, the names are in English because the game doesn’t come with a Spanish translation, so you have to adapt if you don’t speak Shakespeare’s language.
Despite this, each level oozes enormous charisma, being very recognizable for the themes that inspire them. The artistic style that Cococucumber has imposed in what he calls his voxel trilogy works like a charm, regardless of context. Each corner is very well worked, full of details on the tables, walls, characters and even beautiful lighting. The work is excellent in this section and drives it to be one of the most beautiful games so far in 2023.
Slash the sword, drop the shield
Although Echo Generation was betting on turn-based combat, now Cococucumber has wanted to jump into real-time action. If you watched the trailers for Ravenclaw, I already anticipated that we were facing a kind of Souls in which we would face fearsome bosses. This is completely true, but in practice the result is really disastrous, since there are serious shortcomings when it comes to capturing the mechanics that FromSoftware has popularized.
We have two main elements: a sword in the right hand and a shield in the left. The first is the main attack force and we can hit with it as much as we can, since the resistance bar is not affected in any way. Here is one of the main problems, because we can uncontrollably mashing the button to attack and not give the enemy a single second of respite.
Whether they’re legged mushrooms, elusive ninjas, or well-armed card warriors, we’ll cut their animations by torturing them with the sword. As if that were not enough, each time we advance we will unlock unique abilities such as earthquakes and sword strikes at high speed, so the destructive power only increases. The only thing that does reduce our resistance is defending ourselves with the shield, since a blocked attack will lower the bar.
Nonetheless, I have practically never needed to use the shield due to another ability such as dodge. A fast dash, without penalty when executing it, and that is used to even move at full speed through Dunia. If we add to these characteristics the fact that the artificial intelligence of the rivals is really bad, the resulting cocktail is boring and without grace.
The fearsome final bosses that we saw in the previews are a joke, being able to overcome them with astonishing ease without being touched, since their attacks are telegraphed for kilometers and always cover the same range. In this way, the most sensible strategy is to stick to the body of the enemy, leave the life to zero from that position by pressing a single button and wait for the next cinematic to jump. In addition, we can also level up with the feathers that we collect after each battle, so in a very short time we are an unstoppable tank.
On the other hand, there are defects to improve such as not knowing exactly which character you are going to hit, beyond the body orientation of Ravenclaw. And it is a pity that one of the main assets of the work does not fulfill its mission, because until the end I was looking forward to a real challenge that never cameregardless of how huge, imposing or monstrous the opponent was.
Explore every corner of Dunia
With everything, Ravenclaw He doesn’t want us to focus solely on the struggles. Away from the main missions, we will come across quite a few subplots that make us pay more attention to what we will see around us. Recovering a lost painting, getting a very juicy gift for a tiny mouse or activating a series of ancient statues are some examples of this. One of the basic ways to extend the life of the title, although always with a reward in a chest.
It is easy to embark on an adventure to complete them, since the multiple mirrors that we will see throughout Dune act as a method of fast travel transportation. In addition, in each situation we will be forced to pick up some kind of object or solve a mechanism that blends into the environment. Natural, simple and a method to oxygenate the carousel of combat that we always have ahead of us.
The same cannot be said of stealth, as there are contexts in which we will have to camouflage ourselves to get past enemy lines or not be discovered in full swing. Once again, the AI of the opponents leaves a lot to be desired, their field of vision is ridiculous and they don’t know if you are close to them or not, regardless of whether you run or walk.
the promise of Ravenclaw was to throw ourselves into a beautiful version of Alice in Wonderland to mess with our slaps with the hosts of the Queen of Hearts. In his own view, Cococucumber used a trademark artistic section, recognizable at any distance, and an appetizing combat in real time against huge creatures.
In the first aspect, it has been fulfilled from start to finish, giving us a gift for the eyes that remains deeply engraved on the retina. However, all this collapses in one breath as soon as you get behind the controls. The developer has taken the jump to real time very badly, to the blows without stopping to think, creating a tremendously unbalanced system that does not despair because of the difficulty of its proposal, but because of its simplicity.
Ravenclaw enjoys a performance like a rock, being able to show off its magnificent settings with all of the law, but it penalizes that a title of this category no llegue with the Spanish translation. It is not a mortal sin, although it is a rare exception today. A custom from the past that today we thought was forgotten.
Ravenclaw It is available for Xbox and PC from May 4, 2023 at a recommended price of 24.99 euros in its standard version on all platforms.
The duration of Ravenclaw It varies depending on how much time you spend on the side quests, but I’ve been able to complete the main campaign with a large number of tasks completed in just under five hours. In case you want to get as much juice out of it as possible, the duration may be extended up to seven hours.
Platforms Xbox Series, Xbox One, and PC (Reviewed Version) Multiplayer Non-Developer Cococucumber Company Cococucumber Released May 4, 2023
The voxel art style is amazing The alternative Wonderland breathes personality
The combat mechanics are completely unbalanced It does not arrive translated into Spanish The final bosses are totally wasted
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