Developers: Reikon Games
Price: 19.99 euros
Available on: Xbox One, PC, PS4
Review console: Xbox One
A bit about the game:
RUINER is a cyberpunk, top-down action game that is set in 2091, in the metropolis of Rengkok. As the silent protagonist-referred to later on as “puppy”- the player will encounter hordes of enemies and difficult bosses in their attempt to rescue their abducted brother from the ‘Boss’, leader of ‘Heaven’-the company that controls Rengkok and the surrounding area. The masked protagonist has a lot of tools in his arsenal to aid him in his mission such as ranged and melee weapons as well as abilities like dashing and slowing down time. The game features a striking visual style, tight, fast-flowing movement and combat controls, a ‘mindfuck’ story experience as well as cyberpunk characters with stories to tell and side-objectives to give.
- Great ability tree that allows exploring abilities thoroughly and experimenting with different combinations of abilities, as skill points gained by leveling up are re-spendable.
- Abilities are also extremely useful, distinct from each other and support different styles of play.
- Variety and depth is also seen in the weapon options available, with big, powerful but slow guns alongside faster, more agile but less powerful guns. Same applies to the melee weapon options giving the player lots of opportunities to test out and pick their preferred style.
- Combat encounters are, for the most part, enjoyable and challenging with a few different types of enemies and some notably fun boss battles.
- Movement and controls feel fine and fluid enough, on most occasions.
- Score based rating of each level gives reason to come back and get the best rating possible.
- One of the biggest strengths of the game is its visuals, but in gameplay, the style often irritates the player as the character is easily lost to the background alongside enemies and smaller details that result in you getting stuck on something you couldn’t see and dying.
- Some combat encounters feel too reliant on certain abilities and on certain play styles, for example bosses that move too fast and too quickly to rely on a slower weapon without the dash or the slow motion abilities.
- While the movement and the controls were fine for the most part, there were times when I found myself battling the controller instead of engaging with the game.
- Although there are a few different enemies, I found myself battling the-seemingly- same enemies, in the same rooms, with the same objectives too many times.
Visuals& Technical Performance: 8/10
- Striking and fresh visual style that is an absolute treat.
- Good character models-specifically the models that show up when there is dialogue- with some interesting and cyberpunk-ish designs.
- Besides the gameplay related issues with the visual style, level design suffers as well. Visually, the levels don’t vary as much as I would have liked which leads to the player progressing through almost identical levels that don’t reflect the progression made thus making the player feel like they have not progressed.
- Some janky animations from in-game characters; some UI elements could have been better, for example the text in the menus is hard to read.
Sound& Music: 9/10
- A great synth soundtrack that adapts to what happens in the game. When in battle, a frantic and blood-pumping track enhances the combat while when the story is being delivered there are moody, ‘mindfuck’ tracks that help with the task in-hand; Overall, I really enjoyed the soundtrack.
- Sound design is also done quite well with environmental sounds like heavy machinery and steel hitting in the background and the slow motion sounds are just some examples of the effort put in to the sound design.
- I would have enjoyed a bit more variety in weapon sounds, for example using an SMG from a different SMG should be more distinguishable.
- Moody, ‘mindfuck’ experience is appropriate with the style and genre of the game.
- There are some genuinely great moments in the story that make you feel uneasy. The game also does a good job of mounting tension as throughout the story, you have a feeling that the game is screwing with you and that something will happen at any point that will throw you for a loop.
- Ultimately the story gets too complicated and too ambitious for its own good, as it crumbles over its thin premise. The execution of the grand ambitions the story had should have been a lot better or be dialed down to provide a simple, yet effective story.
RUINER could have been and should have been a lot better than the end product; that’s not to say that the end product is bad or unplayable. It is to say that you can see the wasted potential of this game because you can see the solid foundation in the gameplay but you can also see the details of the gameplay were not executed as well. You can see and adore the visuals of the game, but you can also see how it influences negatively the experience and no matter how beautiful the style is to look at, it could use some variety-in the same style. You can see the grand ambitions the story has and you can feel it in the moments the game nails what is going for, but for the most part it lacks execution. As it is, RUINER a solid foundation Reikon games can work of and improve in the future-let’s not forget that this is their first game as a development studio. As for the present, RUINER is a good game but it had potential to be amazing which leaves a bittersweet flavor after finishing it.
As always the G.R.IN.D. is recommended for those who want a more in-depth analysis. You can find it by clicking here.