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Ravva and the Cyclops Curse - Review

If there’s one thing we came to appreciate in today’s video-game industry, it’s the huge amount of indie developers from all over the world working and publishing their games. Despite the genre, in the past years, games have been reaching out to most people through Steam and several other digital distribution stores, including those old school-inspired titles that we all love!

Developed by the small Brazilian studio Galope, Ravva and the Cyclops Curse is the second game published by The Hidden Levels, a publisher that we had the pleasure to meet and get to know a little more about their work here at Sinical Anime Network, plus, Interview one of the founders and responsible for the group. We’ve been waiting patiently for the release of this side-scroller inspired by classic titles, and it’s finally here!

Ravva and the Cyclops Curse is an appreciation piece of work, dedicated to those classic gamers who first got their hands on a NES and enjoyed those 8-bits like they were the most amazing thing in the world. Today, 8-bits bring many of us nostalgic memories of enjoyment, but also an opportunity for new generations fall in love with those colorful 2D visuals, and simple yet complex gameplay. If anything, Ravva and the Cyclops Curse is more recommended to newcomers rather than those classic hardcore gamers, but all alike will definitely love this title.

Ravva is just a small child summoner, but already strong, strong enough to follow his mother's footsteps and becoming powerful. Like every good story, evil always finds a way to disrupt a happy family. The Cyclops Lord, a fearsome creature emerges to deliver chaos and the poor summoner was barely any match for the beast, who unleashed a curse, turning her into stone. Now, it’s up to little Ravva, to save his mother and possibly the world.

Ravva and the Cyclops Curse doesn’t need a huge deep concept of storytelling, but still delivers the necessary background, just like in the old days, where gameplay was definitely the main reason to pick any game, expecting large doses of platforming action! Players can jump straight into the main adventure, or complete a tutorial, that will introduce the most basic functions, using our cute companions as faithful guides.

Little Ravva’s adventure won’t be complete without his trustful minions, a pack of strong and special creatures, each with a unique powerful talent. These summons can throw elementary projectiles, such as fire or ice, but also a green toxic slime that happens to be my favorite. There’s even one to spot hidden secrets, now that’s surely handy! Players travel across the map through 10 different stages, in three distinct areas; The Forests, Deserts, and Dungeons before reaching to the very final Boss, located in his evil Castle. Each stage is not particularly large, but has some hidden secrets that may extend your stay in each one.

Gameplay itself is fluid and simple. Players move Ravva and select different power-ups (which are unlocked from the very beginning) to traverse through the level, or just unlock secrets to earn extra coins or massive bonus points. At the final of each stage, there’s a score, which sums the total amount of coins collected, enemies killed, and time saved. That’s right, there’s a timer, but don’t worry, if the timer goes out, you just lose a life and carry on. Isn’t that nice? Not like those old school arcade machines that ate all your lunch money.

Little Ravva can also upgrade his shooting skills, with a more powerful one, which can and will be handy to fight big monsters. Although there are only two bosses, some beefy enemies will surely test your jumping and shooting skills. As expected, jumping and platforming is an important part of the game, but it’s completely fluid and very responsive, which is always a pleasant factor in any game, but more specifically in 2D side-scrolling ones. Dying is still a part of the endurance, and although there are some lives scattered around the levels, it’s still a challenge not to underestimate.

Developed with Unity, players have the choice to select the desired resolution, enable V-Sync, and even Window or Fullscreen mode. In-Game options are more basic and not so technical. Gameplay is overall a nice surprise for those who aren’t used to 2D gaming, and since there’s a “Kid Mode” available, will be perfect for those who have young gamers at home, you might want to teach them what real games are all about!

Visually, it’s 8-bits to the core, but in a new wave of high quality and good taste. Very strong colors, portraying each stage and area, but thanks to the design of each level, they are easily distinguished, even for someone playing in just 30 minutes. Well constructed levels, with interesting and challenging platforms with a pleasant color palette that comes as a nostalgic wave for any retro fan out there.

Cutscenes are done within the same style, maintaining its original idea of 8-bit generation, but with all the convenience of 16:9, looking absolutely amazing. It’s the simplicity of its details that shine through the pixilated art, in which we all grew so fond of. There are no in-game voices, but text and subtitles are translated in 10 different languages, including English, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Polish, and others!

The great soundtrack for Ravva and the Cyclops Curse doesn’t come with a surprise, considering how developers treated this game, with passion and care, but it’s just surprisingly good to see indie developers supporting just amazing tunes in their games. At some point, we all expect classic retro tunes, but still, here we have an impressive new age of retro melodies, in an amazingly well produced soundtrack which will get stuck in your head, in a good way. Very melodic, with fluidity and doesn’t add up to whole stressful in-game pressure, but still delivers that emotional kick when the melody kicks in!

Ravva and the Cyclops Curse is an extremely well done Arcade-style 2D action adventure game, with a 3 to 4 hour experience, depending on each one skills, but nonetheless, remarkable as a cute and fun experience, that will most likely make you go back for more!

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