Your brother has been kidnapped. Find those who are responsible and erase them, RUINER.
That’s the premise of the shoot-em-up / smash-em-up set in a gritty Neo-Tokyo amine-inspired cult vibe. Playing as a nameless anti-hero with an LED mask that functions as the only way to clue in on what he’s thinking and feeling, RUINER takes you through some of the most brilliant and hyper-violent levels that have graced the gaming realm quite some time.
On the surface, RUINER offers much in the way of aesthetic service to the player – but it’s only once you’ve undergone the compulsory introductory levels that serve to help you gather your bearings in this new and strange world, the floodgates truly open.
Although the combat-centric levels are structured in a linear fashion and the devs do their best to funnel you to the next objective, the central hub that you return to after every excursion does have plenty to offer to the lore-hungry gamer – and boy are there some juicy morsels. But we won’t give anything away – a large part of the joy of playing RUINER for the first time is discovering the structure of the world you inhabit first hand.
Although hacking, slashing, and shooting your way through legions of cyberpunks, gangsters, and ghouls will be your primary method of interaction with the denizens of RUINER’s world, you won’t find yourself wanting. Reikon has truly done their work to make moving through the world an absolute pleasure to experience. In fact, once the final credits roll, don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving more.
Should you find yourself craving more precision-oriented cyberpunk wanton massacres, RUINER ensures that it makes itself open to replayability right from the get-go.
Each stage wraps up with the old-school arcade-like grading system where you receive a report card for your performance. Not happy with your performance the first time round? Go right ahead and redo the level immediately. Or perhaps you’re far more interested in going through the storyline first? No bother – all those delicious top-tier scores will be there for you to claim at the end.
While replayability is an added perk, there’s far too much to enjoy on the first pass to even worry about what Round Two will look like. The wide variety of skills and levelling systems in the game ensure that you’re always given options for how you want to level up your character.
Want to me a fast-dashing assassin that phases through your enemies before they can even hit you? Or perhaps you want to be a bullet-soaking brute that can withstand any hailstorm levied your way? Either option is yours for the taking.
For what is marketing as an indie/small-studio game, RUINER certainly packs one hell of a punch. A dark and thumping soundtrack combined with a sharp, clear, and effective aesthetic with top-notch tuned gameplay is a recipe for success no matter what way you look at it.
So, do yourself – and your brother – a favour: and bash in some cyber-junkies head while on a vengeance quest to reclaim your brother.