Hidden Path Entertainment, The makers of Defense Grid 2: Enhanced VR Edition, and Brass Tactics, just released their newest game for the Rift and Quest, Raccoon Lagoon. Journey to this fun island filled with stories, quests, and plenty of tasks akin to the likes of Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley.
Raccoon Lagoon is a curious, relaxing exploration-based game that tasks you with building a home for a group of marooned sailors. Overarching this is your quest to “repair the island’s, broken heart”. Not your typical cast, the “sailors” are a ragtag group of cute and cuddly animals that you must help as you rebuild the island together.
From the start, you are introduced to your basic controls and shown how to navigate the island. Your main goal is to help the marooned sailors rebuild the island. You accomplish this using well-designed loot and trade systems. Essentially, every animal needs something; a sea shell, wood, a particular type of fish, etc. In exchange for finding what they need, they will give you something you need. The islanders can give you hearts, which you use to purchase items from shops or unlock other parts of the island. They can also give you additional items that you cannot get by yourself. These items can be used for a secondary trade with another islander. It might sound confusing, but it’s actually quite a fun puzzle. As you progress, you unlock additional “biomes” (there are eight in total) in which to explore in Raccoon Lagoon.
Despite having a LOT to do, I find myself getting frustrated with issues not directly related to the core gameplay. My first issue is one of optimization. I cannot seem to play this game for more than 20-30 minutes without getting noticeably nauseous. I should say that I don’t get nauseous often. What causes this is not the game mechanics, but the amount of stuttering and frame drops that I experience. In-game, you can choose to walk at an average pace, or “jog.” I prefer the latter, as I feel that walking is too slow. My issue with this is as I play, I experience constant frame drops and stuttering. It’s even worse when I am moving between biomes. I feel this is something the developer can optimize in an update. As the game is otherwise enjoyable, I sincerely hope that they do.
My second issue is where they position the character in-game. If you’re standing, it can be a bit uncomfortable at first as the “floor” in the game is at your waist level. I understand there are reasons they chose this mechanic, but I feel it would be more enjoyable if my height matched reality.
I have mixed feelings on this point. On the one side, the island is vast, and it takes time to unlock each biome. Additionally, the game launched with basic multiplayer functionality that allows you to play with random people or friends. At launch, there is not much happening with multiplayer, but there is potential for some fun mini-games with future updates. Both of these aside, the game mechanics can feel very stale at times as you’re mostly repeating the same task over and over until you unlock all biomes. Despite the size of this game, your enjoyment will depend on how much you like this style of gameplay. Personally, it begins to feel like a grind to me after only a short time.
Do you like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing? Raccoon Lagoon might just be perfect for you. Despite its repetitive gameplay and sometimes frustrating grind, this is a good casual game for lovers of the puzzle and building genres. If the developer can fix their optimization issues and add more multiplayer functionality in future updates, this game could certainly become a hit.