Raccoon Rising Review

Of all the gaming platforms available to us in this great age the perfect one for physics-based games may just be iOS. The platform is steadily becoming a hotspot for developers trying to outdo each other when finding new ways to create meaningful gameplay using simple input methods. The limitation afforded by an iPhone forces developers to be more inventive in creating new games, and to some extent even new genres. Raccoon Rising from Romper Games is an excellent example of what is being achieved by this trend. Playing as a ninja-esque raccoon – that is to say he is acrobatically talented but slightly lazy – it is your duty to stop the evil foresters who are about to cut down all the trees around your home. It’s time to to tap, tap, tap your screen in the name of forest preservation!


One of Raccoon Rising‘s many strengths is the simplicity of its mechanics. You jump from side to side by tapping the screen. Tap and hold for a more focused jump and tap one of the sides in the air to jump sideways. That’s it really. The aim of each of the game’s 60 levels is even more simple than the controls: get to the top. That does not mean the game is void of a challenge though. In fact, hidden beneath that simplicity is an old school, hardcore, precision jumping platformer. Raccoon Rising offers the satisfaction of conquering its many challenges; quick reactions are a must. Unfortunately there are bossfights that, while cool to look at and imaginative, are not as fun as the rest of the game.


Buzzsaws, spikes, cannons and hefty spiked balls are just a few of the obstacles on your way to the top. It’s a perilous journey to say the least. Perhaps more of a threat than the obvious falling obstacles is the sudden change in perspectives later in the game, designed to catch you off guard as well as to provide some variety when the game begins to get a little stale. Attempting to chip in to this sense of variation is the game’s story. Each new “world” is bookended by some comic book panels that advance the story, but they serve better as a breather between the otherwise chaotic nature of the game. Raccoon Rising would not be any worse if you were to ignore what happens in these cut-scenes.


Back to the experience of actually playing Raccoon Rising: the learning curve is relatively steep. I was actually on the verge of deciding this was clearly a very polished game, but a considerably bland experience once you get over the initial delight of playing a cute raccoon. Then suddenly, I got it. It’s hyperactive snooker! It’s constantly scrolling pinball! It’s a vertical Sonic! It’s all in the angles, man!


You could cue an epic montage of my consequent playing time here; envision a frantic madman conducting a virtual raccoon to the top of his phone’s screen, setting up jumping combos, dashing from side to side, and gasping at the constant scrapes with death. Then almost as suddenly as it got started the montage comes to a halt while I scratch my throbbing temple, stumped by a devilishly difficult section. That aside, I was in the flow and while that lasts Raccoon Rising is enticing in a way that you rarely find on smartphone games. The excellent graphics and high production value blended perfectly together with the gameplay. It is served as an impeccable dish that is hard to not have fun, oh did I have loads and loads of fun. I was gleefully hurtling my ‘pet’ raccoon through explosions, bosses and untold dangers, with a huge satisfied grin on my face.


It took a while to get to that place though – and that is a shame for Raccoon Rising is undoubtedly a really good game. Still, it fails to instantly hook you. The loading times are bordering on unacceptable and it feels like it takes a long time to just start up. You really have to commit to playing the game to get the most out of it. You must also be a certain type of gamer. The jumps must be timed to perfection and that takes patience and a lot of concentration. This is not a casual gaming experience – this is for the hardcore. Needless to say, I cannot put it down.


Raccoon Rising has that “just-one-more-go” feeling to it, but it’s best described as like a really expensive wine – at first it tastes a little off, but in time it opens up and gives you a completely new and fresh experience. Give it a go!


More information on Raccoon Rising and Romper Games can be found over at the official website.


Review summary Pros:

Looks amazing, exiting gameplay and excellent puzzles



Long loadtimes, neglible story and initially confusing


Rating: 90%

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