Ravva and the Cyclops Curse Review: A Retro Romp With Adorable Owl Girls
Ravva and the Cyclops Curse is the story of a young girl, her mother, and a power-hungry Cyclops Lord. Both Ravva and her mom are summoners, able to conjure magical creatures to aid them. But, for an unspecified reason, the Cyclops wants that power for himself. At the beginning of the game, he battles with Ravva’s mother, winning by turning her into stone and then taking her powers. He plans to use these to summon an army of dangerous monsters. Meanwhile, young Ravva must confront the Cyclops and his minions in her quest to restore her mother. And though the game is charming in many ways, it ultimately failed to make a lasting impact on me. Find out why in this Ravva and the Cyclops Curse review.
Just Trying to Save Her Mother
The game is fairly linear, comprised of ten stages, including a couple of boss fights. By playing through the helpful tutorial, you’ll grasp the basics of combat. Though Ravva herself is fairly weak, her magical prowess helps compensate. She can summon 4 different monsters, each providing a different ability. Additionally, Ravva herself can fire standard magical bullets, though these are pretty weak.
You choose which monster to summon with the shoulder buttons. Each provides something different. One fires a disc that freezes all in its path; another vomits green sludge in a sloping angle; one shoots two projectiles upwards; and the last doesn’t actually attack, but instead reveals secrets in a radius around it. Besides all that, Ravva can also find powerups. They’re pretty standard, boosting her attacks, providing temporary invincibility or extra lives.
The reason I’m not referring to the summoned monsters by name is that they inexplicably don’t get named. Though that’s relatively minor, I feel it would have gone a long way to familiarizing and personalizing my constant companions. Additionally, though they all have a different strategic purpose, they also felt somewhat underwhelming. Maybe because you have access to them all from the beginning, or maybe because they can only solve so many platforming puzzles. All I know is I saw the potential for these powerful creatures to really make the game dynamic, but they didn’t actually succeed at that endeavor.
That Seems Familiar…
Though it’s fun platforming about, finding hidden objects, and defeating foes, the game starts to feel real familiar pretty quickly. It’s hard to distinguish one level from another, other than by how it looks. While you will find the occasional element that mixes things up, such as dangerous vines you have to backtrack to destroy, there’s not much variety. And one unfortunate recurring theme is enemy portals. Each level will feature some, and once you get close, they start spitting out large monsters in quick succession. Until you destroy the portal, monsters keep coming, and worse, they can often jump around and reach new areas. These just weren’t fun to deal with, especially since they’re combined with other foes and hazards in stages. And when you factor in a short time limit in each stage, they’re even more onerous.
Such a Bossy Cyclops Lord
Now, there are technically two boss stages in the game. However, I hardly count one since it’s more of an exaggerated mini-boss. It’s an annoying beast that rushes you and occasionally leaps into the air. That may not sound bad, but Ravva’s not much of a jumper. I didn’t realize until repeatedly dying that she actually can jump over it, but just barely. Thankfully the other boss fight against the Cyclops Lord is much more entertaining and features multiple attack patterns. I just wish the game had more battles like that since the other one felt very much like filler.
Amazing Retro Artwork
The one area Ravva and the Cyclops Curse really spoke to me was with the artwork. I love retro, and this game is very much dedicated to 8-bit games of the past. There’s great pixel art, and everything has a lot of personality. I especially loved the static artwork used for the cutscenes. It’s really attractive and made it worth beating every stage. Musically the game is all right, but not nearly as compelling. Still, aesthetically it’s a great experience.
Nightmares Are Made of Rainbow Bats…
Though I enjoyed most of my time with the game, the inconsistent difficulty gave me some heartache. Though you can beat the game in an hour or less, two stages kept me from beating it sooner. One had rainbow bats that kept spawning and hounding me through stage geometry. I nearly rage quit here, until I randomly discovered my non-aggressive summon could dispel them with ease. The other example was a stage you can walk from the beginning to the end without pause, but can’t reach the exit unless you do a really difficult jump early on. I honestly thought Ravva couldn’t make the jump, but it’s indeed required for beating the level. Other than these, the adventure was pretty fun.
Perhaps a Bit Too Old School
While I wish I was more charmed by Ravva and the Cyclops Curse, I’m still glad I played it. As a fan of pixel art and retro flair, this is a pretty satisfying game. It’s definitely challenging and occasionally unfair, but for the minimal asking price, it’s hard to say no. And though the game is very linear, I am aware of one hidden area you can discover. If you’re a fan of retro and want a new platformer, I’d check out Ravva and the Cyclops Curse. Here’s hoping the next title by Galope makes good on the promise of this game.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One; Publisher: eastasiasoft; Developer: Galope; Players: 1; Released: September 1, 2021; ESRB: E for Everyone – Mild Fantasy Violence; MSRP: $4.99
Editor’s note: The publisher provided a review copy to Hey Poor Player.