A new talent arises
Raccoo Venture is a game made by a sole dev (Diego Ras). When I heard that after playing the game, I simply did not believe it. Why? Because the entire feel and look of the game. First instinct would be to say a group of at least 5 people worked on the game. But no, just one dev. It blew my mind.
With the help of QUByte Interactive Diego Ras has his first release on Xbox. Raccoo Venture released on December 14th 2023 and was moderately well received. You can buy it for € 14,99 and it’s available on Xbox Series/One, PS4/5, Switch and PC. This review is based on the Xbox Series X version of the game. Let’s see what makes this game tick.
Let’s talk about chess baby…
At the start of the game the entire plot of the game is clear. A typical cartoon villain has taken hold of all the chessboards and all the chess pieces you had in your house, and has scattered them all over the world. Why would he do such an evil thing? No idea, but apparently it causes enormous chaos in your world. Enter evil laughter here….
Well to cut things short, it’s up to you to restore peace and quiet to your world. So get of your arse and start looking for all missing chessboards and chess pieces. By the way, did I already mention you’re a raccoon? Nope? Well, here it is: you’re a raccoon and you’re gonna save the world! And you’ll be doing that by collecting the chess boards, the black & white tiles that shape the chessboard, and off course the chess pieces. All of them are hidden all across the world. Apart from these you’ll also be collecting costumes. So if you like collectathons, you’re in for a treat.
The world consists of a number of levels which you can enter through a hub. The hub is also (I thought) the least interesting of the game from a visual point of view. It is average, but that’s ok.
As soon as you’re off you are led through a small tutorial world. And even in the tutorial you will notice that beating this game will be no easy task. Walking around is pretty easy, but that about sums it up. At first when you are walking around you’ll be in awe of how this platformer looks. As mentioned before, it is really hard to believe only one person made this. The environment looks really good. The characters are perfectly modelled and ooze charm. The rocks, the grass, the bushes, the enemies, they’re all top notch visually.
You are gradually acquainted with the controls, which in its own are fairly basic. In the earlier levels you will find they work pretty well. It definitely has a huge flaw, but I’ll come back to that later. The thumbstick is used for moving around (yes Raccoo is a bit sluggish, especially compared to most platform heroes), X for picking things up and A for jumping.
The minute you meet enemies and try to fight them, you notice there is something really important missing from this game: a decent attack. Unlike platformers from the past, you have no easy-to-use attack. No punch nor kick. The only attack at your disposal is jumping into the air and slamming straight down into the ground (or preferably an enemy). There is a secondary attack, but it can only be used when you have picked up something that can be used as ammo. This is also the only attack you can use against spiked enemies. Slamming on top of them will only kill you.
Back to the first attack and the issue I had with it. This attack just requires too much precision. When you jump up, your enemies are still moving around. Combine that with a slanted view of the level, and you can imagine the difficulty unneededly ramps up. Most of the time you will miss with your slam attack, leaving you open to attacks from the surrounding enemies. As you only have a couple of hearts, it’s a quick “Game over”. Also when you land a slam attack its area of effect is very small. So there’s no room for any error.
Then the secondary attack: throwing things. You will need to make use of this attack on two occasions. When encountering spiked enemies and during mini games where you have to break targets. When you encounter spiked enemies there’s usually some form of throwable around. You just need to find it and get lucky hitting your foe. Because the game doesn’t provide you with any form of aiming assistance it’s up to your gut feeling (or talent) to throw objects. If you miss, you have to find, pick up and throw another object.
During mini games the game provides you with ample ammo. You also are gifted with plenty of time. But still expect to fail as you will most likely miss most targets.
In the later levels the sluggish movement of our hero is causing difficulties. The platforming gets increasingly hard (rotating platforms, jumps that need to be perfect). The sluggish movement does our hero no favors when you reach that part of the game.
Collect just about everything
If there ever was a game that will please your craving for collectibles, well that’s this game. This game is completely packed with them from easy to spot money, to keys, chessboards, costumes, black & white tiles, chess pieces, hidden switches, hidden paths and lots and lots more. This game has them all. The nicest collectible for me are the costumes. They look great and lets face it: a dressed up raccoon always looks good.
There is, however, a catch to the fun game of trying to get all collectibles. A lot of them are often really hard to get. And on several occasions you need a specific collectible to even progress through the game. This happens as early as level 2-2. It looks like a simple circular level. Nothing special. You move around the level, find some secrets and collectibles and start searching for the exit. Which seems not to be there….. In this particular level, you actually need to find a secret lever, find a timed crystal in the level, ánd get to a specific point where there’s a secret path that the timed crystal would reveal. Finally the exit.
Check out more Xbox (One and Series X/S) on our Xbox review page!
Raccoo Venture looks lush and has great audio. Its weakness lies in the combat and platforming mechanics. No real quick to use attack and no targeting system for your projectile attack. It leaves you in a world of hurt. The difficulty of this game makes sure younger kids will try this game out, and will leave it at that. If you like self flagellation this game may just be the thing for you.
- Great visuals
- Interesting and packed levels
- If you are into collectibles, you can go wild
- Good music
- Slam attack just not accurate enough
- No aiming system when throwing stuff
- So bloody difficult. Is this even meant for kids?
- Death to the pigeon (IYKYK)