When Ruiner was first given to me I was expecting a very edgy experience. Just looking at the colour scheme and the main characters face saying “KILL YOU” made me prepare for a dark game. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was mostly right. Ruiner is a top down action game, set in a cyberpunk city. Perfectly timed with the return of the new Blade Runner, everyone has been craving this style recently. However this game forces you into the action very heavily, and you will die a lot. Not as easy as sitting on your arse watching Ryan Gosling do it for you.
Developed by Reikon Games the game is the kind of action packed cyberpunk adventure you should expect. It starts off with you having a simple objective “KILL BOSS”. After doing this you’ll delve into a plot of betrayal and a plot to rescue your brother which is a blast to play through. The ending here is the main goal and leaves a satisfying taste in your mouth. However the game builds hype towards this moment by keeping you in the dark a lot, meaning you’re not that invested into the characters and outcome up til that moment. To me the story isn’t the main focus here and fades into the background as you focus on the core gameplay.
As a top down shooter I was expecting not to be immersed in the game and find myself bored. However there’s a great combination of graphics, sound and fun going on at once that kept me hyped through the game. Visually the game is dark and stunning, effects from weapons and lights bounce around the screen in an immense manor. When you blast someone with a shotgun you’re gonna sure see some blood fly out in the way you expect. Even the way you dash around leaves a satisfying silhouette that reminds you of the cyberpunk environment you’ve found yourself in.
If you’re a bad review site then you’ll say that this game is too hard and is only fun when you’re fully upgraded. However, if you actually play video games then you’ll have fun throughout this adventure. It’s definitely not “the dark souls of top down shooters” but it’s a worthy challenge for people looking to get some time out of it. Of course the more you progress and upgrade your character, the more powerful you feel. But to me its the experience you take to get to that moment that makes it worthy. You wouldn’t just call Breath of the Wild boring until you’ve done everything, because that’s stupid.
The soundtrack is also an element working in favour of Ruiner, if you remember the extreme pace and excitement of Hotline Miami then this will ring bells. It has a perfectly timed electronic cyber soundtrack constructed by multiple artists, and together it really sets the atmosphere and mood to kill a bunch of bad people. It’s one of the most fitting soundtracks I’ve heard this year and there’s been some good ones.
As for the enemies you’ll face off against, there’s a fair share of mini-bosses and full on boss battles throughout. The boss battles are not always made in an interesting way and will use mechanics from an earlier level so it just feels like a rinse and repeat section. However they do become quite tough so you might need to balance or rework your upgrades in order to conquer them to the best of your ability.
Despite the amount of working elements in this game, I also love end game content. It’s disappointing that there’s not much to do after the main story. I would have loved for some type of arcade mode where you’d just horde against millions of foes wave after wave. However if you’re into it, you could always go back to do a speed run mode or challenge yourself a bit with the upgrades you chose through the story.
At the end of the day you have an exciting cyberpunk experience with a beautiful atmosphere and soundtrack. You likely wont be picking this up for the best narrative of the year, and find most of the enjoyment in taking down fools while improving your skills. Overall I had a lot of fun playing this game, getting around 5 hours out of it. While I do wish there was more to do and ways to make a second round more appealing, I did enjoy going through it.
For these reasons I’ll give Ruiner a 8/10