Embark on a new collectathon adventure with Raccoo Venture

Posted on December 21, 2023

Raccoo Venture is a new collectathon platformer in the vein of Donkey Kong Country and Banjo Kazooie, developed by Diego Ras. It’s a fun little game where the effort put into it is clearly on display, from its charming visuals and soundtrack to the challenging gameplay. While some mechanics are a bit frustrating, the game overall has a lot of appeal to it and fans of the golden age of 90s and 2000s collectathon platformers will likely have a fun time with it.

Raccoo Venture sees you playing the titular character, an adorable anthropomorphic raccoon. The plot is set in motion after the creatures of chaos known as Tattooed Tatus steal and disassemble the ancient relic maintaining the world’s balance. Raccoo, the sole heir to the power of the Guardians who created the relic in the first place, is sent on a quest to recover the relic pieces and defeat the Tattooed Tatus. It’s a fun premise which is a cute throwback to the similar platformers from which the game draws inspiration.

As far as the gameplay goes, levels in Raccoo Venture are entered via the world map, wherein Raccoo must reach the end and collect various collectable items, such as Breath Orbs, adorable outfits to dress up in, and relic and chess board pieces to unlock new stages.

Gameplay is largely from an isometric viewpoint with a fixed camera, comparable to many levels in the Crash Bandicoot franchise. However, Raccoo Venture lacks a clear indicator of where Raccoo will land whenever he jumps save for a faint raccoon shadow. Said clear indicator was a handy feature that Crash Bandicoot 4 implemented, and its absence made many of the platforming challenges in Raccoo Venture feel somewhat awkward and frustrating due to frequently misjudging jumps as a result of the camera perspective.

The game can often be quite difficult, with platforming sections requiring precise timing and swift responses. I appreciated the lack of an obligatory lives system to penalise failure; while you do lose a certain amount of acquired coins when you die, the game showers you with enough coins throughout the levels and via a gambling minigame which shows up occasionally that I rarely felt too dismayed whenever I was sent back to a checkpoint for whatever reason.

To take out the Tattooed Tatus, Raccoo’s main means of attack is a ground pound move. There are a decent number of enemies who are immune or resistant to it, often requiring the player to get creative with locating and throwing exploding mushrooms or luring enemies away with special items. While the way that different enemy types would often rush Raccoo became kind of annoying (particularly when normal and spiky enemies crowded together and made attacking them very risky), I appreciated the focus on pure platforming and puzzle-solving over mindless combat in this instance.

While many of the collectables, particularly the outfits and Breath Orbs which allow you to stay underwater for longer, are optional, Raccoo Venture doesn’t allow you to just rush through the levels missing things. Each set of levels in the overworld is gated off unless you have collected a certain number of hidden chess and board pieces. On one hand, it’s not a bad idea to encourage engagement with the puzzles and secrets placed in the game, however, the steep requirements and well-hidden chess pieces in particular have the potential to kill the game’s pacing stone dead by preventing progress to later levels until the existing ones have been thoroughly combed through. A more lenient approach to progress for those with less of a completionist inclination would have been desirable.

Ultimately, Raccoo Venture is a charming little game with some room for improvement. While its vibrant visuals (accompanied by a very detailed photo mode, by the way) and enjoyable puzzles were a delight, many aspects conversely held it back. These include occasionally weird controls on the Nintendo Switch version (wherein the “Accept” button changes from “A” to “B” depending on if you’re inside a house or not), irritating camera issues during platforming sections and overly strict collectible-hunting requirements just to progress to later levels. Despite these problems, it’s not enough to stop Raccoo Venture from being a decently fun time, as long as you are a diligent secret hunter and have some tolerance for camera issues.

Raccoo Venture is currently available on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.