Aye Eye – It’s A Ravva And The Cyclops Curse Review

Oh no - the cyclops has put a curse on your mother! Time to put all that wizardry training into effect in Ravva and the Cyclops Curse on PS4.

I wanted to like Ravva And The Cyclops Curse, I did. As per the earlier news piece, it reminded me of an old Amiga game (like they all do) called Warlock. This should have been a winner with the friends Ravva can call upon, but it mostly made me mad.

That madness or tantrum power was my inability to get past a level without dying far too many times. In the game, you start with two lives, and once they’re up, it’s game over. Ravva And The Cyclops Curse isn’t a rogue-like, so you can restart the level again and again, but when you get to the end, then backtrack to kill some enemies, then go back once more, it can feel very… inconvenient.

How did we get to this status? Let’s begin with the tutorial as that’s where we find out how special Ravva is. As the daughter of a top summoner, she heeds her calling when the EVIL CYCLOPS LORD APPEARS. Sorry, just wanted to try that for dramatic effect.

Ravva And The Cyclops Curse Review

As the swine curses her mother, the onus is on Ravva to save the day with her four trusty minions to shoot fear into the hearts (if they have them) of the baddies through each level. The tutorial is… ok. I mean, we’re not ranking it here or anything, but during this guide, it gave the impression that some of the mechanics are a bit fiddly.

Ravva And The Cyclops Curse Review - Portal 3
Portal 3. Source: PR

For starters, you need to scroll through the minions in order. Besides her standard firepower (upgradeable with power-ups, which also apply to your minions), Ravva can scroll through a minion that fires upwards, one with a bomb-like effect, ice powers to freeze/slow enemies and a monster that can reveal secrets.

Though not powerful, the standard attack is pretty versatile as it shoots in a straight line, but the bomb-like green monster was my favourite. Not that it matters. If an enemy is above you, you’ll need to switch the appropriate monster to attack, remembering to switch back when you need to. Also, they’re colour-coded, and a select few can only damage certain enemies.

Eye Of The Beholder

Switching between these sometimes felt clunky, only because of the urgency. Each level in Ravva And The Cyclops Curse (developed by Galope and published by Eastasiasoft) has a timer that continually counts down. It feels like there’s ample time to complete a stage, but if you want to uncover the hidden items with your selected minion, you may find yourself skipping it to finish on time.

Another aspect is the number of lives. When Ravva is hit, there’s a knockback like in Cathedral, and while there’s temporary invulnerability, there are the odd occasions where you might have to dash back to a safe place, fighting off flying enemies. They look like they’re bobbing in slow motion, but the number of times they got me was uncanny.

Ravva And The Cyclops Curse Review - Map
Map (said in Dora’s voice). Source: PR

With the timer and other optional objectives like finding the secrets, the better your hi-score is to get on the leaderboard. However… If you die, the score resets. Aaarrgghhh! Again, it’s optional, and I’m sure plenty of people can fly through this, but there are a number who can’t and will find this mechanic quite irritating.

Back To The Future

Everything about Ravva And The Cyclops Curse feels like an NES game. If you’re a fan of the system, then this is a bonus, but it has that same brutality at times of boss rushes, punishing lower level enemies that catch you on the off-chance and, of course, resetting your score each time.

It’s almost like a port of an NES game as the visuals, such as the use of colour and repetitive tunes, feel a little dated. That might give you a pixel boner, and I know I like my retro games as a retro gamer in general, but this game pushed me a little more than I had anticipated.

Ravva And The Cyclops Curse Review - Early Thwomp
Early Thwomp. Source: PR

But it’s not the visuals or tunes that put me off, but the old school gameplay. Even while playing it, I couldn’t help but think of the times where you’d stick out a game as there was nothing else to play. I didn’t want to give up on it, but the sheer frustration of some of the mechanics didn’t have me enjoying this as much as I’d like to have.

Of course, I can be objective and say that Ravva And The Cyclops Curse is an authentic 8-bit experience. Again, if this were exposed as a game from the late 80s reworked for consoles, I’d believe it. It has promise, but as it borders more on the unfair, I can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed in this one. Or maybe that disappointment is in my ability? Make your own mind up…

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