Raventhorne Trial Impressions

The inaugural Indie Games Summer Uprising has finally begun and the first entrant, Raventhorne by Milkstone Studios, has come out of the gate a day early.  While most games can take up to 24 hours to get through the review process and go live, this title made it in a mere hour on Sunday and jumped the intended release date of Monday.  No one’s complaining, though, as the excitement has been building up within the indie dev and gaming community for the event to finally start.

Raventhorne is a Norse epic telling the story of a fallen warrior battling his way to the truth behind his demise all while helping to hold off Ragnarok from occurring.  It’s a rather lofty plot for the types of games we typically see on XBLIG.  The introduction to the story is presented to your character through three creatures that appear to inform you of what’s going on and what you must do.  I was a little put off at first when I spotted a typo within the first minute of playing, but aside from that the production quality seems to be right up there with the best in the XBLIG market.  I’m very curious to see how the remained of the story is presented and what it will entail.

Your character, Raventhorne, is drawn and animated well both while moving and during battle.  You have a number of controls at your disposal including both a strong and weak attack, blocking, dodges, stances, and more.  As you progress through the environments, markers are set up that each include a tip on how the controls work or strategies that might help you as you learn the game.

As you battle each foe, your stamina meter slowly decreases.  Letting it drop all the way down will make you vulnerable to damage, represented by your life meter.  In other words, the game is designed such that you shouldn’t waste too many attacks or button mash.  You can slowly build up your special meter through defeating enemies and collecting gems scattered through the game.  Filling up the meter will allow you to activate one of four temporary powers of your choosing that will either give you a buff or hurt the enemies.

Sadly the trial is only long enough to throw a few enemy types at you, but it was enough to get a feel that the combat is solid.  It’s a balance between slipping in attacks while dodging or blocking those from the enemies.  The game will often throw multiple enemies at you from every direction so it’s important that you keep a defensive mindset rather than run in Rambo-style.  In fact, the game even rewards you for your well-timed blocks.

I was impressed with what the trial had to offer: a solid combat system, excellent visuals (not just for an indie game), and an intriguing story.  As always, I recommend you try before you buy, but with the start of the Indie Games Summer Uprising event, this is definitely the time to start trying.

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Author:Brandon Schmidt

Brandon is the founder and managing director of The Indie Mine in his free time. His preferred medium is video games and he's not shy about his support for the indie development community. You can follow him on Twitter @TheIndieMine.

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