App Army Assemble: Raven's Path - Does the road lead to greatness?

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Raven's Path - Does the road lead to greatness?

Raven's Path is a real-time strategy game from developer Evil Villain Games. It features several grid-based battles where the positioning of your troops will be key to victory. Our App Army members are a tactically astute bunch, so we sent them down the Raven's Path to see how they'd get on.

Here's what they said:

Raymond O'Donnell

Raven’s Path is a tower defence-esqe real-time tactical RPG. It draws on the nostalgia of a classic Knighthood and tabletop styled character spread but integrates swipe mechanics and a stat system for a multistage campaign that puts the player in control of a team.

Using a randomized treasure and purchase system, you’re drawing characters of rarity like cards to build your team and conquer each world stage to the sound of crisp and fitting audio. The game is simple to grasp but hard to master and the hardcore mode is but all unforgiving. If you want a time sink, you need to try this game out

Patrick Garlotte

I played Raven’s Path on iPhone XR. It’s billed as a strategy game, and while it does have strategy RPG elements, I’d consider it more of an arcade action game. Your party members march forward and you can align them with lanes of oncoming enemies in order to defeat said, enemies. The combat is simple but there is a lot of variety in deciding which classes you want to carry into a battle and how you want to outfit them. Raven’s Path is a straightforward (literally) action game with RPG elements and a unique take on combat.

Michael Purdy

It’s a simple strategy game where you arrange units to defend attacking units from above. In the beginning, you have attackers and healers. Enemies come straight down so you need to block their path to prevent them from reaching the bottom of the screen. Decent time waster with nice pixel graphics. Though I’m not a fan of the scrolling background.

Oksana Ryan

This is a good game to spend half an hour or so. The graphics are retro pixelated, the controls are easy to use and the game straight forward to play. There is a brief tutorial and straight into the game, which then chugs along at a moderate rate.

You can do all the usual upgrading of weapons, etc as you earn gold on level completion. Although I did find the backgrounds a bit lacklustre. It’s all very familiar and the gameplay is a little repetitive, but on the whole, it’s a good example of the genre and worth a go.

Dries Pretorius

When I saw the trailer for Raven’s Path I wasn’t overly excited, it reminded me of my short-lived experience with the now ‘disappeared from my library’ Swap Cops. The premise is that you have a grid on which you arrange various troops who attack forward, enemies come down from the top of the screen in the style of auto chess, you have got the limited organizational influence to trigger abilities, change formation, or drink potions, etc. while surviving the battle.

But on playing it became clear that there is a depth here that Swap Cops did not have: jostling your troop positions in real-time to adjust for enemy formations, equipping gear which changes how a unit functions, many different units with widely varying abilities which synergize with other unit abilities around them. After peeling back several layers I feel that Raven’s Path is closer to the excellent Dungeon Maker: Dark Lord, with its interlocking layers of mathematical complexity as different abilities, interlock in powerful ways.

I am having a lot of fun with Raven’s Path, and developing an appreciation for what the genre has to offer. You can download the game and try it for free if it doesn’t look like your cup of tea, I’d advise you try it in any case, I am glad I did.

Matt ARen

Rave’s Path is billed as a tactical RPG, but plays more like an arcade puzzler, with some strategy elements and twitch gameplay thrown in.

Music and Sound: Serviceable for the setting, but ultimately forgettable.

Graphics: I don’t expect every game to shine like a triple-A title, and I can be charmed by retro styles, but this game is just kind of ugly. Actually, something in the art is actually off-putting to me. This might be a case of personal aesthetics, but it’s to the game’s detriment for me.

Gameplay: I enjoy the strategy elements and levelling aspects. What I don't care for is the twitchy arcade movements necessary for victory. Am I playing Tactics or Tetris? Again, this may be a personal thing, or maybe it’s less of an annoyance on a bigger screen.

Overall: Raven’s Path went a bit off track for me. It isn’t terrible by any means, but the ugly art and twitch gameplay don’t really work for me. I like some thinking time in my tactical RPG’s.

Mark Abukoff

I can see myself spending plenty of quarters on an eighties arcade game like this. The gameplay is pretty simple, which helps. Swipe to move your characters in different directions to either attack lines of oncoming enemies, or to heal your troops. There are different units and upgrades available. The controls are simple and worked fine. The music matched the graphics and overall presentation.

The game is pretty simple and straightforward and that’s not a bad thing. While this is described as a tactical RPG, I put it in my arcade category because it perfectly delivers what the arcades used to. A simple and fun challenge. Not over-thought or designed, but effective in what it tries to do.

Subscribe to Pocket Gamer on
Paul Manchester

Enjoyable little tactical puzzle RPG. The look is a bit dated but it did the job, however, I thought the character designs were a bit bland and could have been better drawn. The difficulty felt just about right and I have been making steady progress, certainly looks like it may take a while to build my team to full strength. The controls are simple which is nice when the action gets more frantic. I have had a couple of sessions where the game has frozen which will hopefully get patched.
Recommend for fans of similar titles.

Jason Rosner

Some types of mobile games just seem to fit perfectly on your smartphone and Raven’s Path by Evil Villain Games nails it. This is a real-time tactical RPG which means you swipe on your characters to position them where you want them, when you want them, as you are constantly moving and enemies keep coming until the stage is clear.

As you progress you unlock new types of units to strategically place on the battlefield as well as gain additional abilities and items to equip your team with. Stages are short and sweet, and I really liked how well the music complements the artistic pixelated graphics. The best mobile games take advantage of things like presentation, sense of progression, and touch screen controls, and Raven’s Path does all this in a strategy game that’s fun to play.

Makara Nou

Raven's Path is a tactical game with some tower defence elements. Players must make sure the enemies can’t go past their heroes. Each hero can be different too as they have to move up, down, to the left or to the right in order to make an impact. Plus, there are items for players to decide to use, and that’s where tactics are implemented. Personally, I appreciate the idea and simplicity implemented into the game. I enjoy it some bits but it couldn’t keep me hooked and encourage me to play more.

Matthew Jay

There is a lot going on with Raven’s Path. It reminds me of a hybrid between Plants vs. Zombies and Tower Keepers by Ninja Kiwi. With that said, the game’s stand-out feature is its movement system. Enemies move on screen from top to bottom. As enemies move on the screen, your job is to constantly and frantically move your units in the path of the oncoming doom. Sounds easy. You might want to rethink that idea.

For me, the enjoyment of the game was lessened due to the game’s difficulty. This was highlighted when on-coming enemies would pass through my units so easily. I played the first level of the first mission several times and had the same result. Overall, as I said at first, this game has a lot going on. Maybe too much. Other features include a unit upgrade mechanic, an achievement system and a building system to help progress your units.

What is the App Army?

The App Army is Pocket Gamer's lovely community of mobile game experts. As often as possible, we ask them for their thoughts on the latest games and share them with you.

To join, simply head over to either our Discord Channel or Facebook Group and request access by answering the three questions. We'll then get you in right away.