Up for spending hours in a game before getting to the good stuff? With our Ruiner Review let us explain the pros and cons of this cyberpunk shooter from Reikon Games published by Devolver Digital.
Ruiner is a straight up revenge story where you are tasked will killing a lot of bad guys before ultimately achieving your goal. Based in the year 2091 the game oozes style with its Cyberpunk aesthetic and cell shaded artsyle. If the game doesn’t initially grab you with the well crafted environments of fictional metropolitan city Rengkok then the gameplay certainly will.
Devolver Digital are no stranger to supporting well-crafted frantic indie shooters, you only have to glance back to uncover the publisher’s heritage with Hotline Miami. Ruiner’s development team REIKON GAMES are a young outfit based out of Warsaw, Poland and as you can imagine there is a strong influence from Cyberpunk 2077 and previous development experience brought over from the Witcher series. These combinations help deliver a great first title from the studio founded in 2014.
At Ruiner’s core it’s a top down corridor shooter where as you control the main protagonist manoeuvring your way through a series of corridors and rooms of enemies where progression is locked to your ability to surpass each enemy encounter. Doing this is no mean feat either with Ruiner being unashamedly difficulty. The initial prologue which acts as a tutorial is about as janky as it comes with regards to controls, these initial basic movements do take a little bit of getting used to but through good level design you get to a pretty comfortable stage post the end of the prologue. That being said don’t expect not to die and by die I mean often.
How difficulty is Ruiner?
Ruiner will spit you out and mock you as much as it will reward you with occasional loot and gadget upgrades. It’s really not until you surpass the main campaign on the first playthrough that you will begin to actually enjoy it. It’s a horrible thing to label a game but Ruiner on a first playthrough really did feel like a trial and error practice run. Death is inevitable regardless almost of difficulty level and the waves of enemies are plentiful to the point where in many instances I wasn’t even sure what was killing me.
Thankfully the game does have some well-spaced out checkpoints so respawn doesn’t result in large areas of repetition before you can tackle the bottleneck of death each time. Overcome the frustration of death and play with the expectation of defeat then Ruiner will help you craft your skills into a more rounded killing machine, the game empowers you as you progress through the chapters and with unique unlocks and an ability tree that’s very extensive you can alter your abilities and strengthen your offence regularly. One nice if not frustrating element was the ability to always refund and re apply your upgrades. Its great in that it helps you discover and explore the ability tree to help unlock the means in which to get past some tough spots however in doing so this mechanic becomes a requirement where far too often I find my abilities don’t match the needs of the game.
Does Ruiner have a new game plus mode?
Look beyond this small element and Ruiner is a brutal tough shooter but one in which the post-game replays become the most enjoyable feature, although there is no end game new game plus mode you can still unlock more of the skill tree and gadgets by replaying as your super powered self. A great way to increase longevity but more importantly deliver the fun element this game badly needed in my first play-through. Hopefully the developers will add this extra layer in at a future date however we are aware of no current plans for them to do so.
So if you’re up for a challenge and want something short but stylish to sink your teeth into then Ruiner is a worthy choice for any shooter fan. I can only hope that the other major Polish game factory CD Project red can deliver as much style through their take of a Cyberpunk era.
Ruiner was reviewed on Xbox One and was provided by Devolver Digital for our Ruiner review.
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