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Ratyrinth Review

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Coming from Solluco and Eastasiasoft, purveyors of cheap software with easy achievements, comes something of a departure from the norm. I don’t mean in the presentation or the action on offer, but in the structure of the achievements.

The game in question is Ratyrinth, a very clever mashup of “Rat” and “Labyrinth”; it’s those two words that pretty much tell you all you need to know about the game. So let’s head to the maze and see if we can get our rat through it…

Ratyrinth review 1
A rat, in a labyrinth

Being an action adventure platformer, apparently, you’d expect Ratyrinth to have a bit of a story behind it. But perhaps you shouldn’t hold your breath for there’s not too much in terms of lore. We are a rat, or maybe a mouse (it isn’t clear but judging by the game name…), and we have been “drastically” separated from our family. It’s here where we are dropped into a scary forest that is filled with scarier creatures, left to work through numerous levels in hope of being reunited with the family again. Sounds like my drive home in the evening…

With the story held on with PVA glue, it’s probably best to turn our attention to that of the presentation. And it should come as no surprise to anyone that Ratyrinth is unashamedly retro. In fact, it is so retro that it put me in mind of some ZX Spectrum games I used to play decades back. But that said, strangely, this 1-bit, monochrome, pixel art approach does actually work for this game. 

Each level is viewed from a side-on perspective, as we begin at the left of the screen and have to reach the right hand side, with various obstacles in between the two points. The screen is simple and uncluttered, whilst the overall aesthetic is very cute, almost cuddly. If it wasn’t a rat, of course! The sound is also just fine, but I’ve personally found the music that accompanies the adventures to be pretty cool – it fits the action perfectly and adds to the experience. It must be said that this is an oldie but a goodie. 

Ratyrinth review 2
Retro Rats!

There are no real surprises found in the gameplay on offer either. There are various creatures that we have to avoid (no combat here) ranging from snails, through jumping frogs, to egg chucking birds – and that is only in the first ten levels! Later foes include fish and squid that frequent some water based levels, while the environment itself is also a major killer; there are spikes and various other traps to avoid. Our little rat can jump, wall jump, cling to walls as he descends, and also swim – what a talented rodent!

As you’d expect, Ratyrinth is largely about timing and learning the levels. While you will die (a lot, based on my extensive research) you are never sent further back than the start of the level that you died in. However, if you are anything like me, you’ll probably find the level hazards will kill you more than the enemies. Perhaps that is a little bit down to my aging reflexes, but there does seem to be a tiny bit of lag in Ratyrinth, especially between pressing A to jump and the rat actually doing it. It’s about that time in which I’ve run into some spikes. With a bit of careful recalibration it is possible to make sure that you press the button that split second before you think you should, but with the rest of the game priding itself on absolutely perfect timing, it is a bit weird to have to do this. Still, it is what it is!

Apart from this issue, the rest of the gameplay on offer in Ratyrinth is of a pretty high standard, and the game runs absolutely silky smooth on the Xbox Series X, which given the way that it looks is perhaps not that surprising. Still, the animation, while minimal, is effective while the levels do look very nice, in a retro kind of way. 

Ratyrinth review 3
A good amount of content is found in Ratyrinth

And whilst I’ve had fun, I have to admit to not caring overly if the rat made it home. However, due to a change in the way that Eastasiasoft usually dishes out achievements, at least there is a reason to keep pushing through – progress towards that 100% goal of getting all 1000G is tied to progress through the levels, with achievements given out roughly after every five levels. In addition, a title update has already been released, adding another 1000G – in order to claim everything, you will need to finish level no 75. Consider that the levels do get a lot more difficult as the game progresses and you’ll find a bit of an incentive to keep plodding through.  

Ratyrinth is an enjoyable game, with only some weird input lag spoiling the party. Get used to that and there is a lot of content to go at. It may not be the best looking game out there, but there’s no doubt that there is still some fun to be had.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Lots of levels
  • Lots of achievements for those levels!
  • Looks good in motion, in a retro style
Cons:
  • Input lag makes things harder than they need to be
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Eastasiasoft
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 24 April 2024 | £4.19
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Lots of levels</li> <li>Lots of achievements for those levels!</li> <li>Looks good in motion, in a retro style</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Input lag makes things harder than they need to be</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Eastasiasoft</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 24 April 2024 | £4.19</li> </ul>Ratyrinth Review
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