Thank you to Super Rare Games for the Steam review key!
Lone Ruin is a twin-stick shooter roguelite that takes place in magical ruins with the goal of reaching the center of the city. To get there you’re equipped with a bunch of magic spells and trinkets that you can upgrade to become more powerful.
To start off a run you’ve got three difficulties to choose from and then you get to choose from 8 spells to be your primary attack. Afterward, it’s all about killing enemies and clearing rooms. After you complete a room, you’re given a choice between two paths that give different benefits. Lone Ruin is a lot more about building the run you want than it is about RNG. The decision-making process is pretty fun, and I find the half-hour run completion to be a perfect length.
The run variety throughout the game is serviceable at best. I had seen all of the content the game has to offer in just a few hours. I’d say this is my biggest sticking point for Lone Ruin; it doesn’t have enough to it as a roguelite. That being said, there are enough items in the game to make decisions about, and I like that you can upgrade every spell and item. Lone Ruin feels a lot better thinking about it as a slightly more complicated arcade game than as a full-blown roguelite.
I really appreciate the game design choices Lone Ruin makes. Enemies are designed in such a way that you can’t get away with circle strafing forever. They actively cause problems by running away from you or slightly backing up when shooting. You really gotta pay attention to all angles while in combat. While there are only 3 boss fights, they’re all surprisingly tough fights that keep you on your feet. The choices in upgrades you make are meaningful and have a lot of impact on the run. Certain spells synergize super well for powerful runs and every spell has its uses. Lone Ruin doesn’t have a ton going on, but it manages to get everything right.
Lone Ruin’s presentation is fantastic. The artwork is gorgeous, combining 2D character sprites with 3D environments, while still telegraphing the gameplay perfectly. The soundtrack consists of upbeat and eerie techno, and the game feel has a lot of oomph to it, feeling heavy and responsive. It’s hard for me to be too upset about the content shortcomings when the things the game has been so tightly designed. It’s a very polished experience from top to bottom and that is exactly why I keep coming back.
With a few content-heavy updates, Lone Ruin could be one of the best-designed twin-stick shooter roguelites I have played within the last few years. The perfection of the game design elevated my enjoyment of the game a lot and I’d definitely recommend picking it up when it releases. Lone Ruin is really good in its current state and has loads of potential in the future. Be sure to wishlist the game before it releases on January 12!
Works like magic
+ Fantastic presentation
+ Fun upgrade system
+ Smart game design
– Low on content