Ravenlok is a nice surprise and a must play addition to Xbox Game Pass

Echo Generation was a game that took some people by surprise, putting Cococucumber on the map.

A young, newly minted studio caught all the attention from Xbox with their unique voxel art adventure with turn-based action. So much so, they’ve worked more closely with them on game number 2, Ravenlok.

Alice in Wonderland themed, storybook action RPG, this is a game that also defies expectations despite following familiar tropes. You have opportunities to level up by visiting a vendor, use and purchase bombs and potions, and complete quests. But there’s almost this feeling of a point and click adventure to Ravenlok to cap it off.

You need to complete one quest to gather the item needed to make progress on another and to move through the world one step at a time. Whether it’s a clock hand, lever for a lift or even a moldy cheese cake, there are plenty of inhabitants in this weird and wonderful world who need Ravenlok’s help.

It’s a really clever way to tell a story but equally keep you invested, fighting through the nightmares en route to the Queen and even opening up possibilities for side quests and optional activities. Ravenlok is actually a really good video game.

True, it may not be much to look at, but it has one of the most engaging, enjoyable core loops I’ve experienced in quite some time. I actually found it really tough to stop, put it down and take breaks as I just wanted to make a little bit more progress every time.

Thing is, everything feels quite accelerated. The speed at which you can move around and breeze through the game might be offputting to some. It never feels like there’s much time to digest what’s happening as by the time you’ve picked up a quest to unlock a new area, you find the item required shortly afterwards. And the combat feels like it’s on 1.5 speed.

The other wrinkle to it is that you always feel slightly overlevelled – provided you’ve visited the appropriate vendor – compared to everyone else. And especially when you unlock all your key abilities, plus you can actually grind levels.

The other disappointment is combat is mostly just button mashing, which becomes quite irritating after a short while, especially when you’re dealing with waves and waves of enemies. The use of bombs and potions does pause time and enable you to take a breather between tense moments, but you scarcely need to use the shield you acquire, and grunt pathing is pretty samey all throughout.

Some boss battles are quite epic, with a really cool confrontation with a sorcerer midway through, peppered with various patterns you need to learn. Though, again, quite a few of these confrontations are a little too easy for the liking. Some you could even sleepwalk through.

Which, perhaps then, makes it difficult to define what Ravenlok is and who it naturally appeals to. You barely need strategy for battles – save, perhaps, much later duels and the clock tower fights which see you fight increasingly difficult opponents. And the other half of the game is solving puzzles or doing grind quests like you’re in an MMO.

Yet it all comes together in a really entertaining package that, honestly, reminds me of classic 80s games and makes me wish for more like it. Even if Voxel art is not your thing, there’s shades of a really well gelled adventure that tells an intriguing enough story to keep you invested and introduces you to some really fun characters.

It’s not traditional Wonderland but the halmarks and traits are there and are enough that you’ll feel at home seeing tea cups, caterpillars, mad hatters and white rabbit dolls you have to dance in front of to collect them.

Ravenlok is a game full of little surprises all the time and is one of the best experiments I’ve seen in a long time that blends a lot of different game types together. At times, it actually reminds of a classic Codemasters game, Cosmic Spacehead in terms of the speed of control and the easygoing nature it has  upon approach. And even Kingdom Hearts with the free flow combat, the gathering of coins and items and the theming and framing of its worlds.

It definitely suffers from camera issues, though, with the right stick locking at certain points when you’re trying to pan around, particularly in battles. This gets really old when an enemy is behind you and you’re never quite sure if you’re walking into a trap, projectile, or an enemy coming in from offscreen.

The game also starts a little slow, with its opening section really doing nothing to help you understand the game you’re about to step into or encouraging you to stick around. But once you’re into the first combat area, everything picks up and the achievements just keep rolling in.

For a game lurking on Game Pass, it is 100% worth your time checking out. Few indies have been quite so memorable or enjoyable for me this year, and despite its general sense of easiness and lack of a real reason to return to the game, that is also one of the game’s main strengths.

Many indies these days try to do too much and often overcomplicate themselves, frustrating you long before the finish line. With Ravenlok, there’s actually a good chance you will finish the game and you’ll want to because you’re actually having a great time while doing it.


Ravenlok is a game full of surprises and felt incredibly satisfying to play, tapping into a genre I actually need a whole lot more of. Its lack of real combat strategy, button mashing and frustrating camera, as well as the speed you can blaze through with no returning hook do, unfortunately, limit the game’s potential. But what’s here with story, characters, setting, and style will, ultimately, make sure you have an enjoyable time while you’re playing.


+ A really enjoyable gameplay loop
+ Good flow with steady stream of achievements, and narrative progression
+ Easily approachable for anyone


– Camera issues affect gameplay
– Combat relies on button mashing and is a bit lite on strategy
– Not much incentive to return once you’ve beaten it and the game is quite short

Ravenlok is now available on PC, and Xbox Game Pass.

Code Kindly Provided by Cococucumber

Played on Xbox Series X

About the author

Sally Willington

Sally is relatively new to gaming since a newfound addiction to Nintendo Switch. Now they just can't stop playing, anything and everything. Sally especially loves a good RPG and thinks that Yuna may just be one of her favourite characters ever.
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