Ravenmark: Raven’s Dusk Overview

Witching Hour Studios’ Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion is the gift that keeps on giving! That’s right, the masters of mobile Turn-Based Strategy just rolled out another huge content update, and we were lucky enough to gobble it all up before it hit the App Store today. Following on the heels of “Suneaters” and “Deepwood Dragoons,” the new campaign – “Raven’s Dusk” – expands the game by ten missions. Now that Ravenmark stands at 42 missions and around that many hours of gameplay, this title is pretty much three times the size it was when it released, folks! And once again, we’re excited to report on what Ravenmark fans and newcomers can look forward to.

If “Suneaters” and “Deepwood Dragoons” left you hungry for the highly varied armies and formation-centric gameplay Ravenmark debuted with, “Raven’s Dusk” won’t disappoint. Here the story comes full circle, returning us to the Empire of the Raven and finally threading through that enigmatic intro mission that made us all scratch our heads when we first picked the game up in November 2011.

That’s not to say “Raven’s Dusk” treads old ground. What makes Ravenmark expansions so special is that the devs have managed to keep mixing things up in a way that justifies the game’s episodic nature. Our heroes Calius Septim, Livia Cassianus and Vidius Harper find themselves enmeshed in an imperial civil war this time around, forcing the player to fight fire with fire as it were. Ravenmark veterans spent the initial campaigns getting in tune with the strengths and weaknesses of the Empire’s assorted units, and that knowledge will get stretched to its absolute limit if the heroes have any hope of surviving this most uncivil conflict. Turncoat surprises and daring jailbreaks abound, and naturally there are some new friends to be made — mystical hobbit assassins being my personal favorite. I know I say this every time, but if you thought Ravenmark battles felt epic before, you’ve got another thing coming. Some missions in “Raven’s Dusk” are so big, the devs had no other choice than to implement a system where the player controls two entire armies at once! Game Center Achievements and crisp graphics specially prepared for the iPhone 5’s Retina screen are an added bonus. Check out some screenshot evidence here.

Equally impressive is everything that’s happening outside of the game — specifically on the official Ravenmark series website. Interactive maps and a wiki that makes for hours of reading hint that many more campaigns or full-fledged sequels could be in the pipeline. Series fans also have a web comic to look forward to, and that promises to be a real treat considering the luck Witching Hour Studios have had in finding talented artists.

The only hiccup that comes with “Raven’s Dusk” is an unexpected shift in Witching Hour Studios’ revenue strategy. “Deepwood Dragoons” was intended to be the first in a series of In-App Purchase updates, but now buying the main game will net you all current and future content as part of the package. The game’s App Store price has risen from $4.99 USD to $9.99 to reflect the current amount of content. Witching Hour Studios aren’t the first development team who’ve reassessed pricing to make ends meet in the mobile market, but they do plan on giving a special perk to fans who’ve purchased “Deepwood” — see their recent blog post for details. Also, the devs just rolled out a special Episodic Edition that lets players experience the first campaign for free, and then purchase individual campaigns one by one as IAPs — with prices fairly reflecting the amount of content in each campaign. You totally need to give that one a free download if you haven’t bought the standard edition yet.

Keep an eye out for yet another content update that could hit before the year wraps up. And we’ll see you on the battlefield when Ravenmark multiplayer hits in early 2013!