I have many fond childhood gaming memories which I doubt will ever be forgotten or replaced as time goes by. I have many years ahead of me to make new memories with my gaming experiences but none will ever surpass the moment my brother and I opened our joint Christmas present which turned out to be a brand new NES complete with Super Mario Bros. Or the time my Dad got us Street Fighter 2 on the SNES which we had to wait what seemed like an eternity until my primary school’s Summer Fete was over so we could go home and play it. Let’s not forget the time my brother and I begged and begged our Dad to trade in the SNES for an N64 which he finally agreed to, then booting up Super Mario 64 for the first ever time was a feeling unlike any I had ever felt before. Ah yes the N64, an absolute relic of a machine that pushed graphical boundaries further than our imaginations could handle at the time. A lot of games on the N64 may not have stood the test of time graphically compared to todays standard but still play like a dream. It gives me great pleasure to be able to say that Raccoo Venture takes me back to a time that I adored as a kid which I am indeed thankful for.
The first thing you will notice about Raccoo Venture after the opening cutscene has finished is that the game looks absolutely charming! Developer Diego Ras has opted to go for the very eye catching brightly coloured visuals with crystal clear waters and a bright summers day feel. You will spend a lot of the time wandering around the levels because the style is so visually appealing you will want to look at everything. To go with these visuals is a sound track that you will find gets stuck in your head after a while which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, it will have you whistling along to it regardless. Without much delay you will get to go inside Raccoo’s home and you are hit with the nostalgia factor immediately. Raccoo has an N64 and a bunch of pictures hanging on the wall above it that represent games that are on the N64 like a jigsaw piece from Banjo Kazooie, a turtle shell from Super Mario 64 and a balloon with bananas on from Donkey Kong 64. As if the inspiration from this age of gaming wasn’t apparent enough, we now have physical evidence in the main protagonists home!
Speaking of the main protagonist, have you ever seen one cuter than Raccoo? Nintendogs doesn’t count! Raccoo’s home has a wardrobe where two outfits are available to change into in the demo and more can be unlocked. Putting the pyjamas on just makes Raccoo even more cuter, but the winter outfit was my favourite. We could go on about how cute the lead character is or how nostalgic and awesome the game is graphically but just like the missus says, it’s not all about looks. Once you boot the demo up, you are advised to use a controller for the best experience which makes sense with any kind of platformer let alone a 3D one. Having played with an Xbox One controller, I can inform you that the controls are simple but work very well. You move with the left analogue stick (naturally), jump with “A”, ground pound with “X” after jumping and pick up and throw objects also with “X”. Very simple controls but maybe more complexity will be added in the full release. One thing absent from these controls is the ability to rotate the camera which for me personally is a small bug bear when it comes to aiming jumps in 3D platformers. Apart from that, the controls work fine.
As far as the story goes, Upon entering your home Raccoo notices that a great relic and family air loom left by your Grandfather has been stolen by evil creatures known as the “Tattooed Tatus”. The relic was created by equal factions of goodness and wickedness and divided it into small pieces and hid them in the middle of the forest so that it would not fall into evil hands. This relic happens to a chess set and it is up to you to retrieve it as the sole heir of the power of the guardians and find all the chess tiles and chess pieces scattered across the levels. This encourages players to explore each level thoroughly as there are several pieces to collect in each level and while it is not a necessity to get them all in order to complete a level, it adds replay value. There are many puzzles to overcome in the demo that are by no means mind boggling, but it is a sign of things to come later on which hopefully will push our platforming brains to the max. You will be picking up lots of coins throughout the levels which at this point I am unsure of their purpose apart from using them to place bets with a vulture in order to win more. All I know is you lose them when you die! After you complete a level you are taken to the world map where you can move freely and enter any unlocked level you desire, much like in Super Mario 3D World.
The rodent like enemies Raccoo Venture don’t pose much of a threat but I expect this won’t be the case once you hit a later stage in the full game. The normal enemies require just a ground pound to defeat while others require you to stun them or blow them up by throwing explosive mushrooms at them. Their is a boss fight too, at the end of the third level you will be challenged by the boss who actually isn’t all that much of a challenge either. I was expecting him to change his pattern after the second hit making the third hit harder to achieve but it didn’t happen, this isn’t a complaint as the charm of the game is the exploration and finding secrets rather than boss battling. That being said, I am sure there will be tougher boss battles further in the game. I’m not completely sure how far along in development the game is but I am certainly looking forward to seeing how it progresses. As far as I am aware the game has only been announced for PC as it stands so PC gamers do yourselves a favour by adding Raccoo Venture to your wish list on Steam. Also try the demo if like me, you often yearn to be taken back and fill your nostalgic needs with a bit of 3D platforming from the golden N64/PS1 era.
I’d love to hear what your impressions of Raccoo Venture are in the comments down below, thanks for reading!
Written by Sammy J on 23rd August 2019