Review – Ravenlok

Ravenlok Cover Image

I’ll be honest, I had never heard of the indie developer Cococucumber before seeing a trailer for Ravenlok. What surprised me even more was that this wasn’t the studio’s first title. In fact, Ravenlok is the third and supposedly final entry to their Voxel Trilogy franchise. Their first game was Riverbound, released in 2019 to mixed reviews, followed by Echo Generation in 2021, which was met with more success. Cococucumber’s development growth can be clearly recognized when looking into their previous titles, which all feature casual gameplay among their signature vibrant, blocky art style. With their games becoming more refined with each entry, it was time to see if Ravenlok was a fitting end for the Voxel Trilogy.

Ravenlok Alina the Crane

Happy to finally join the party!

Ravenlok follows a young girl named Kira, whose family moves out to the countryside after inheriting a house from a relative. While helping her parents get settled in to their new home, Kira is pulled through a magic mirror as she attempts to clean it. The mirror transports her to the magical realm of Dunia, which has been corrupted by the evil Queen Dreda. Kira takes up the mantle of Ravenlok, the prophesied hero of Dunia, and sets off upon her journey.

Being a fantasy game, Ravenlok has clear sources of inspiration from several of the classics, such as The Lord of the Rings, Labyrinth, and The Chronicles of Narnia. However, the most prevalent source of inspiration comes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. After arriving in Dunia, Ravenlok meets a nervous white rabbit, a not-so-mad hatter trying to throw a tea party, and a door mouse with culinary aspirations. She’ll also have to fight her way through guards made from playing cards, robotic twins Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and Queen Dreda, a caterpillar monstrosity with an affinity for heart-themed decorations and costumes. Not to mention her ability to fast-travel is done by stepping through mirrors.

Ravenlok Finn the White Rabbit

Let me guess, you’re late for a very important date?

But this is not the more common depressing and twisted depiction of Alice and/or Wonderland we’ve seen in other games, such as American McGee’s Alice. Instead, Ravenlok focuses more on the fantastical, rather than hinting at some sort of mental illness. That’s not to say there aren’t dark depictions of tainted versions of classic characters, but there’s nothing in Ravenlok that’s overtly scary or too mature for younger audiences. Which is great because that seems to be exactly who Ravenlok is targeted for.

This is further proven by the combat system, which is about as basic and bare bones as it gets. Right away Ravenlok equips herself with a sword and a shield, and never receives any other weapons throughout the game. Since Ravenlok is an RPG, she’ll be able to level up her stats by collecting feathers (the equivalent of XP in this game) and turning them in to a mouse named Decker, who is located in front of a witch’s house. The leveling system feels cumbersome, as you have to frequently make the conscious effort to travel back to that one area and turn in your feathers, especially before taking on your next boss. The same goes for buying healing items and bombs, which are also located right in front of the witch’s house.

Queen Dreda's Castle

Within these pink battlements, lies a horror most foul.

With that said, it’s also worth mentioning that you won’t often have a need for bombs or healing items. This is because Ravenlok is incredibly easy. At first I thought I had accidentally set the game to Easy mode, but that wasn’t the case. I had no troubles whatsoever playing it on Normal, and only died once because I got distracted by my children. I even bumped it up to Hard, but even that didn’t provide much of a challenge. Don’t even get me started on the “stealth” sections, which you can only fail by basically running straight into an enemy.

Ravenlok does unlock some special magical abilities, but these are really only a means to look flashy while you dispatch your enemies even faster. Throughout my whole playthrough, I kept wondering what on earth the green bar under my health was for, since it never seemed to deplete, regardless of whether I was running or using my magic. I didn’t find out until after I had beaten the game that the green bar was to show how long I could hold up my shield for. The game was so easy I honestly never used my shield once, hence my bewilderment.

Ravenlok Weeping Fungi

I’m pretty sure the developers ate something like this before designing each level.

What Ravenlok lacks in challenge or enticing combat, it makes up in pure creativity and beauty. Ravenlok is a remarkably striking game the whole way through. As I mentioned earlier, it features Cococucumber’s trademark art design, with character models looking like more detailed Minecraft sprites, set amidst vibrant and often trippy environments. Every area explored in Dunia is vastly different from one another, but they are all equally captivating. From neon mushroom forests, to steampunk clock towers, to lush manicured gardens- no area feels the same. They each bring their own magic to the table.

The sound design is extremely hit and miss. There’s no voice acting, but some characters will make expressive grunts, groans, and guffaws. The combat sounds are absolutely atrocious, though. Every time the sword strikes something, no matter what it is, it makes a tinny, plinky noise, like a spoon tapping against an aluminum can. Thankfully, this can be turned off in the settings menu, which I highly recommend doing immediately. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is wonderfully majestic and perfectly fits each of Ravenlok‘s areas. Honestly, I enjoyed Ravenlok the most when I turned off everything but the music, which almost made the game feel even more like some sort of fever-dream.

Toppy's Tea Party

I love a good cup of tea, I’m just not sure about the rotting macarons.

Ravenlok won’t be to everyone’s liking, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience when you’re looking for a palette cleanser in between so many of the other AAA RPGs in the market right now. Sometimes it’s nice to get away from a massive hundred hour epic adventure, and have a short jaunt with something fun and whimsical. Hardcore gamers will likely find its shallow gameplay lacking, but it’s the perfect game to introduce younger children to for their first fantasy adventure. Ravenlok won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I was happy to partake in this tea party.


Graphics: 9.0

A remarkably striking art style, with characters looking like more detailed Minecraft sprites, set amidst vibrant and trippy environments.

Gameplay: 5.0

The combat is about as simplistic and bare bones as you can get, but it’s serviceable.

Sound: 8.0

The combat sounds are atrocious, with the sword strikes sounding like a spoon tapping against a tin can, but thankfully, this can be turned off in the settings menu. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is wonderfully whimsical.

Fun Factor: 7.0

An enjoyable, easy-going experience, with just enough creativity to keep it interesting for the duration of its relatively short runtime. It’s the perfect beginner fantasy RPG for casual players or young children.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Ravenlok is available now on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X.