PC Games

Published on December 17th, 2023 | by Marc Rigg

Raccoo Venture PC Review

Raccoo Venture PC Review Marc Rigg

Summary: A cute platformer that aims to mimic collectathon games of the nineties, unfortunately let down by some frustrating level design.


Cute but frustrating

The collectathon platformer is a genre that hasn’t been seen all that often in recent times, steadily declining in numbers since their heyday on the Nintendo 64 in the nineties, with only a few releasing outside of Nintendo’s first-party offerings every year. Raccoo Venture is developer Diego Ras’s take on the formula.

On the surface, it looks like Raccoo Venture is aiming for something similar to Banjo Kazooie or more recently Yooka Laylee. Cute anthropomorphic animals serve as the protagonists, a raccoon, and a bird in this case, who have to work together to save their respective kingdoms, gathering collectibles and defeating their enemies along the way.

In reality, though this is closer to something like Super Mario 3D World than Banjo Kazooie. Levels are mostly linear rather than miniature sandboxes, and while the game has a huge number of collectibles to find, there’s only a handful in each stage. A world map houses all of the levels, and the player can freely travel between any that are unlocked. Progression throughout the world is gated at set points by the number of collectibles found, and while I don’t have an issue with this kind of system in general, I didn’t really like how it’s been implemented in this.

A lot of the collectibles are often very well hidden, to the point where it’s entirely possible to play a level and miss most of them on the first run-through. Many of them are hidden down secret paths or offscreen. This on its own wouldn’t be a problem, however the camera is locked at all times with no way of moving it around. It led to a lot of backtracking, frustratingly replaying levels looking for collectibles to progress, without the faintest clue as to where they could be. The player should be left wanting to go hunting for secrets, rather than being forced to in order to move forward.

The platforming itself isn’t without its faults. There’s a huge amount of ‘leap of faith’ gameplay, sections where it isn’t possible to see where you’re supposed to be going before you make the jump. This is made worse by a vast amount of any given level being surrounded by instant death drops.

There isn’t a lives system per se, on death 50 coins are subtracted from the player’s total. These coins are used to take part in the various minigames scattered across the world and thankfully there are thousands in the game, so while death does have a consequence, it’s a minor one. Thankfully, Raccoo Venture has tight and responsive controls, so while the level design is occasionally questionable, it’s easy to pick up and play.

Graphically, Raccoo Venture is relatively basic in presentation, I don’t mean for that to sound detrimental though. Simple polygonal architecture makes up the environment, everything is bright, colourful, and stands out, even on the more visually busy levels. When blown up on a large screen it can look a little on the sparse side of things occasionally, but generally, it isn’t a problem, and conversely, when played on the smaller screen of a Steam Deck it looks positively fantastic.

Another highlight is the audio, the music is largely very pleasant and matches up well with each of the world’s themes. Some tracks could use a little more variation, as they started to get a little repetitive when spending a long time in one area looking for collectibles, but overall, it’s a well-done soundtrack.

Final Thoughts?

I’m conflicted about Raccoo Venture. On the one hand, it’s a very pleasant entry into an underserved genre, at least from a presentation standpoint, and it runs great across a wide variety of hardware, including the Steam Deck. There’s a huge variety of things to collect and unlock, and levels will no doubt require several playthroughs. On the other hand, I found it frustrating to play more often than not, in part because of this. Ultimately I found myself not enjoying it as much as I would have liked, but if you’re a fan of this type of platformer then it might be worth your time.

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