Ruiner comes in at a great time when people are hungry for games with a cyberpunk setting and there aren’t too many good ones in the market right now. Ruiner takes inspirations from the likes of Bladerunner & Ghost In The Shell, and adds on top of it a layer of fast, frenetic combat that is as challenging as it is satisfying.
The plot is rather simple – you’re out to kill guys who have kidnapped your brother, with the voice of a woman being your only source of direction. It’s the setting itself that’s really unique, filled with tons of neat details, and presented really well. The color palette is vibrant, and the mix of industrial-techno look is fascinating. There are occasional darker sections that can be a pain to navigate, but they’re are often really small zones, and hardly ever really get in the way of your progress.
The game is set in 2091 where a megacorporation called Heaven has exploited the weak for their own gain. You’re tasked with a simple objective – KILL BOSS. The objective flashes on the screen time to time, as well as on the display on your visor. The setting and the visual presentation are absolutely dripping with cyberpunk style, but sadly the story rarely builds up on that. This comes after the fact that the developer, Reikon Studio, comprises of some of the talent behind Dying Light & The Witcher games. However, for a first project, Ruiner is an excellent foundation to build upon. The only reason I wanted a better story is because of how lavishly detailed the setting is, and I wanted to be given more reasons and means to explore the game world.
The game plays from an isometric perspective, and is a fast action shooter. And by fast, I mean really fast. You can die really quickly, and always need to stay on the move. You can dash across, but so can your enemies. You need to be avoiding damage, while dealing it, and often it can become a frantic weave of dodging and attacking with precision. The gameplay is incredibly fun, and even with the difficulty, it’s very satisfying to master. There are definitely moments of frustration when some deaths can feel cheap or even confusing. However, repetition always feels like a learning process because of how tight the overall gameplay feels.
There are multiple enemy types that attack using different tactics. Some will come up close and melee, while other keep their distance and shoot at you. The key is to keep moving, and often things can get overwhelming. You have a skill tree that lets you upgrade your abilities. You can also respec in order to prepare for particular encounters. There is not a lot of exploration to do outside of the main missions and the single central hub. Combat is the main focus here, as you keep improving your character and getting better weapons.
The boss fights are the main challenge in the game, and you can expect to give them a few tries before being able to defeat them. There are some difficulty options available, but even on the lowest difficulty, the game offers a fair challenge. Learning boss patterns, and assessing each encounter is the only way to win here.
Ruiner is a good game that could easily be a lot better. As much as I enjoyed the combat, the weak story and lack of exploration feel like a missed opportunity. If Ruiner is laying the foundation for what the studio intends to do next, I really can’t wait to see what that looks like. However, despite some issues, Ruiner is an absolute blast. The action is fast, fluid, and overall feels fantastic.