Ravva and the Phantom Library (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

This is actually a sequel to a game I reviewed a couple of years ago called Ravva and the Cyclops Curse.  Ravva is a young owl sorceress who has adventures with her four summoned monster friends.  One day while exploring the forest, they came across a mysterious library that wasn’t there before, and inside are magical books that can take you to different worlds.  But evil ghosts suck Ravva inside the library, and now she has to get out!  This game is a retro 8 bit styled 2-D platformer and it’s available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

After the first level, you’ll start at a menu screen and you can choose which book (6 in all) to enter, and when you complete them all, a final boss area opens up.  The game is pretty much the same as the original, except now you get an energy bar instead of dying in one hit.  So the game is a bit more action oriented while the first one was more about solving puzzles.  It’s kind of like a slower paced Mega Man game now.

Like the first game, Ravva can jump and has a basic shot, but if you press the L and R buttons she can cycle through her summoned monsters that have different abilities.  The blue ghost monster can freeze enemies and certain spikes, which you can then shoot to destroy.  The green glob fires powerful shots downward like bombs.  The red thing with horns fires two diagonal fireballs upwards.  And the one-eyed bat can detect secrets.  You’ll use all these monsters to defeat baddies and solve puzzles.  There are also power-ups that can give you a temporary shield, double jump, better shots, and more.  New to the game is the ability to fuse summoned monsters for a short while when you get a power-up, but I found most of these less useful.  You get unlimited lives and there are checkpoints at the middle of each stage as well as right before the bosses.

There are three difficulty selections, but the only difference is the amount of energy you get when you pick up a food item.  My only problems with the game is that they don’t tell you what things do when you pick them up, and there are no instructions.  Luckily things are pretty easy to figure out.  And I wish you had multiple save files.  But other than that, this is certainly an improved sequel from the first game, and feels like something I would’ve rented and enjoyed as a kid back in the NES days.

Kid Factor:

Ravva and the Phantom Library is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  Defeated enemies just disappear when defeated, and you just fall over when you run out of energy.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, but not necessary just to play.  Even though there are multiple difficulty selections, younger gamers may still need help with the tougher jumps and bosses.

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