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Ravenswatch’s Day & Night Dynamics Deftly Double the Roguelike Strategy

time limit short Ravenswatch from Passtech Games, the developer of Curse of the Dead Gods, doubles the roguelike strategy with a day-night cycle in preview.

The creators of Curse of the Dead Gods have set their sights on the roguelike throne once more. Passtech Games’ latest title Ravenswatch throws heroes of folklore into randomly generated maps packed with foes and loot. And while these heroes play very differently, the game amplifies this diversity with a day-and-night cycle. Character abilities change as dusk approaches, meaning that the same strategy won’t cut it. Some characters take on new roles entirely, making for a dramatic switch in how battles are approached.

Take Scarlet for instance. Based on Red Riding Hood, she’s a frail but deadly assassin who can stab her way through enemies and toss bombs to devastating effect. But come nighttime, her body begins to morph. She turns into a hulking werewolf, complete with a new skill set. In addition to having a meatier health pool, her abilities also grant her life-steal, letting her feast on her foes. Pairing this with claw attacks and a large bite means that the werewolf can take a beating and pummel through powerful foes, stealth be damned. It’s a sharp turn from the nimble form Scarlet returns to at the crack of dawn. While she isn’t helpless in her mortal form, I found myself waiting for the dark before hunting powerful enemies. But Scarlet isn’t the only one blessed by moonlight.

Franz, inspired by the Pied Piper, sends out rats or strikes a chord of notes to damage his enemies. He plays more of a support role, with abilities that can make enemies vulnerable to attacks. An ability of his sends out music in a spread-out pattern during the day. And while this is great for crowd control against weaklings, I’d have to sacrifice my safety if I wanted this damage to hurt a single target. Fortunately, this ability switches to a concentrated line of musical notes at night, handy for tanky enemies. Other heroes also have stat changes as the sun sets.

Ravenswatch from Passtech Games, the developer of Curse of the Dead Gods, doubles the roguelike strategy with a day-night cycle in preview.

With only a limited number of revives per run, I had to measure my options. Ravenswatch only gives you a couple of days to level up before tackling a boss alone or in a party of four to close a chapter. The game scales with the number of players, meaning that solo runs are feasible too. Ravenswatch’s heroes have bonuses that strengthen party members, so do keep that in mind.

With nightfall changing the core traits of heroes, Ravenswatch doubles down on its day-and-night cycle. This decision works well with the challenges scattered across the map, be it the time-limited grimoire or the game’s mini dungeons. The former asks you to survive an onslaught of foes for a set duration. Survive and you get a new perk to boost your character’s abilities. These can be quite the challenge, so I usually took them in werewolf form as Scarlet.

But there were instances where I had no choice but to take them in my arguably weaker form. With only a limited amount of time to prepare for the intense boss fight, I couldn’t delay challenges. This dynamic, placed on top of the solid combat mechanics in Ravenswatch, asked me to weigh my options during each run. Other staples of the roguelike genre like post-death upgrades and optimized builds were present and accounted for. And while I only got to experience one sidequest during my run, I’m certain that Ravenswatch will get more content with time, as it has just entered early access.

Ravenswatch from Passtech Games, the developer of Curse of the Dead Gods, doubles the roguelike strategy with a day-night cycle in preview.

The game already has a healthy serving of heroes, from Melusine of Starbucks lore to Aladdin with his wife trapped in a corrupted lamp. While they fill traditional roguelike roles, they make up for it with unique abilities and traits. Melusine is particularly interesting as she can control a projectile through foes but at the cost of her movement. Being rooted to the ground is never a good thing in a roguelike. Melusine’s high-risk, high-reward style elevates the already tense nature of Ravenswatch.

The only real shortcoming I felt was that these characters’ backstories weren’t explored at all. A little bit of exposition could help them feel grounded in Ravenswatch’s world of deceit and despair. Narrative aside, Passtech Games has a promising roguelike on its hands. And with the right amount of polish, Ravenswatch could challenge stalwarts in the genre like Hades and Dead Cells. The game is available to play through Steam Early Access now.

About the author

Antony Terence
Antony writes on everything from games and consumer tech to fiction. When he isn't rediscovering his love for retro strategy titles, you'll find him at tech stores or board game cafes.