Reclaim The Ruins
I have a confession to make. If I see the word “rogue” in a game description, I immediately become interested in it. And sure, I don’t love every rogue I’ve played. But the vast majority I spend time with leave a favorable impression. Which brings us to my latest Freedom Games demo of Ruin Raiders. Developed by OverPowered Team, it’s a turn based, tactical rogue-like. It features customizable squads of animal soldiers investigating ever-changing ancient ruins. Their goal is to find a fabled gateway which supposedly leads to heaven.
One of the developers was kind enough to show me the basics before I dove into the game. I’m glad that’s what happened, cause I got to see firsthand how it looks when someone knows what they’re doing in the game. While I wasn’t horrible at Ruin Raiders, there’s a definite learning curve. It’s inspired by series such as XCOM, which I have never personally played. What I am familiar with, however, is a game called Code Name S.T.E.A.M. Both that and Ruin Raiders make use of Overwatch abilities, and force you to constantly pay attention to your surroundings. The area this game is a bit unique is the rogue nature of Ruin Raiders.
Like any good rogue, you’ll gather a resource (called Entium) which you can pay forward for progressive upgrades. You can unlock more weapons, unit types, classes, abilities, technologies and much more at your home base. One of my favorite elements are the anthropomorphic animal soldiers at your disposal. Each species has a unique specialty, such as allocating additional action points, coating foes in poison or guaranteeing accurate shots. There’s dogs, cats, lizards, rhinos and a whole bestiary besides. My favorite species were the dogs, since they could guarantee hitting foes, as well as the tanky rhinos. That said, there’s no wrong choice when it comes to your units. Success depends solely on your strategic choices.
The developer did confirm there’s going to be 3 distinct biomes in the game. Each has different foes you face, as well as powerful boss fights. The game is being tailored to be accessible to fans new to the genre, as well as diehard gamers. I personally think the game might need a bit more tweaking, since it’s definitely more skewed to the difficult side of things. But that’s not a complaint. I think this is a game that grows on you the more you play, so long as you get accustomed to the basics and can learn the complex tactics required.
Though the game doesn’t require you to care about the plot, you will find snippets of text as you play. These will slowly reveal what happened in the ancient ruins, and what really lies ahead. Though the choice of using animal creatures doesn’t serve a distinct plot function, there’s one fun aspect about controlling animal soldiers – you can name them whatever you want. So if you have a beloved pet, you can name your soldier after it. Just keep in mind, once your entire squad is downed, they’re gone forever. Which might be hard on those mourning a beloved pet.
Speaking of death, it’ll be a constant companion in Ruin Raiders. Like I said earlier, the game is hard. But not unfair. It allows your downed units to revive with one HP so long as your team is victorious in battle, for example. And you’ll come across healing items to help lighten the load, as well as chests full of goodies. Additionally, you’ll find different tiers of weapons to help take down your foes, and some 100+ items.
One of my favorite parts of the game is that it supports both keyboard and mouse as well as gamepad. Though the dev was quite adept with a keyboard and mouse setup, I found the gamepad much more comfortable. It wasn’t too hard to flip the camera around, letting me get a birds eye view of the map before I acted. And I love how the game gives a preview of how likely it is your attacks will hit. There’s a lot of good ideas on display in the game. The only minor complaint I have is that 3 biomes seems a bit on the light side. That said, the devs are open to the idea of possibly adding more content down the line. Here’s hoping that happens, cause more is always better with rogue games.
Overall, I had a lot of fun with Ruin Raiders. Though the game kicked my butt a little, that didn’t stop me from playing the demo a handful of times. If you’re a fan of tough but fair games and love cartoony artwork, then pay attention to this one. I think it’ll be worth your time.