Raccoon Rising Review

Here we go again, another ‘physics-based’ game. Newsflash: even Mario Bros. had physics, so it’s nothing special. Sorry, we just can’t wait for that buzzword to die a fast but painful death.

Nonetheless, that’s what Raccoon Rising is touted as on the App Store by Romper Games, Inc.: a ‘physics-based platformer.’ Though if we had to liken it to something we weren’t especially good at in high school, it would probably have to be geometry. Funny how physics sells, but geometry apparently doesn’t.

In truth, Raccoon Rising’s description on the App Store feels like it kind of oversells the game, and we’re left wondering if perhaps some of the developers were left scratching their heads when they saw it, too.

Wake up! It’s time to count the licks in this Tootsie Pop.

Raccoon Rising starts off with a comic book-style story presentation, and the art sort of reminds us of the original Mirage Studios’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles– that is, if you replaced the turtles and rat with a raccoon and owl, New York City with a forest, and black & white with color. That’s right: If you did all that, we could sort of imagine it looking like this.

To go by the wise owl sensei’s assertion, we apparently got the Michelangelo of raccoons, rather than the Leonardo, Donatello, or Raphael, as he is given the ‘lazy bum’ treatment while sleeping, which then brings you into a rather lengthy training mode.

Remember above, when we said the ‘physics-based’ part of ‘physics-based platformer’ didn’t really seem to fit? Now that we think of it, ‘platformer’ doesn’t really fit, either. Sure, there are indeed some platforms, but most of the time, you’re sticking to one wall or the other, like in Ninjatown: Trees of Doom.

Your goal is to climb from wall to wall, avoiding hazards to reach checkpoints and keep your raccoon rising to the top of each level. Doing so involves drawing a line from your raccoon on the screen, pointing in the direction you wish for him to go. You can also change direction in mid-air.

Giant squid is not amused.

In either case, going down is never really an option, even if you miss something important– including something necessary to move on. When that occurs, you pretty much just have to die and repeat that leg of the journey, which can get a bit repetitive at times. At least there is no limit to the number of lives you have, so you can turn your hero into coonskin caps all day long, if you wish.

The App Store page boasts ‘revolutionary touch controls built for iOS that let you decide where, when and how to rise against the robots,’ though they don’t seem too unlike the controls we’ve used in other games with slingshot-like movement, nor does it seem to really offer much in the ‘where, when, and how’ category. In this game, it usually feels as though there are two ways to proceed: a right way and a wrong way. And needless to say, the wrong way doesn’t tend to let you progress very far.

Raccoon Rising can also feel a bit sluggish, in more ways than one. Sometimes it feels as though the controls don’t respond as quickly as you need them to for some of that really precise maneuvering. Even getting the game to pause can be tricky. Rather than touching an onscreen virtual button, you have to slide the word ‘Pause’ across the screen to the right, and it’s not always very responsive.

There lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon.

Raccoon Rising tends to chug along in other areas, too. if you’re someone who plays on the go, the subway train will probably arrive before the game loads up, a problem worsened by the fact that the game only sometimes stays where you left it when exiting the app. On top of that, loading stages aren’t much better, and it’s difficult to tell when you’re supposed to touch the screen to go on.

Another quirk of note: As you move along, there are credits you can collect, which the developers strongly urge for you to do. Why? Heck if we know– there is no purpose to them yet, and the App Store only tells us ‘you will need them someday soon.’ Isn’t that something they should have worked out before releasing the game?

Despite these nuisances, the game is fairly fun… at least, at first. Even as obstacles change while you progress, the game begins to feel a bit repetitive as you go on. Rather than playing many stages in a row, perhaps Raccoon Rising was intended more for playing in brief spurts now and then. This would be fine, except you’d still run into the previously mentioned loading problems, which can drag down or kill a short game session. Keep this in mind if you decide you to purchase Raccoon Rising.

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