Get out of that cyberfunk with this cyberpunk thriller!
Top down, twin stick shooter
Linux, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
If there is any type of game that I can just pick up and play, it would have to be an arcade-style, top-down, twin-stick shooter. I have a lot of fond memories trying to beat my brother’s score in Robotron:2084 or the rush of playing the fast-paced Hotline Miami for the first time. Being a somewhat busy adult I have found myself with less and less time to actually sit down and play games. This style of game is perfect for quick play sessions. I’m on the constant lookout for twin-stick shooters to play, so this is where Ruiner comes in!
Ruiner is a cyberpunk top down twin-stick shooter created by the Polish studio Reikon Games. It was originally released in 2017 for most platforms, but was released for Nintendo Switch on June 2020. Reikon Games shows their love for both cyberpunk and arcade style twin-stick shooter genre with this game. Without wasting too much time, let’s hack into Ruiner!
Set in 2091 in the metropolis known as Rengkok, the player wakes up with one objective: “kill the boss” without further direction. While traveling through the compound it is revealed by a hacker, simply called Her, that the player is actually being controlled by another hacker named Wizard. With her help Wizard’s control over the player is broken. The player, now referred to as Puppy, escapes the compound under her direction to meet up at a location within Rengkok. Upon arriving at that location she explains to Puppy that Wizard had hacked into you to attempt to take down the conglomerate, known as Heaven, that controls Rengkok. To add to his security, Wizard also kidnapped your brother to make sure that you stay loyal to him. With the help of Her, Puppy begins his quest through Rengkok in search of his kidnapped brother.
The concept for Ruiner, while not the deepest for a cyberpunk game, fits perfectly for the style of game. That doesn’t mean the world is not expanded upon. In between levels Puppy is free to explore the hub of Rengkok and interact with some citizens. Some might offer subquests that expand on the lore of the game. Completing both levels and subquests will net Puppy karma can be used to gain skills that you’ll need in order to make it through waves of enemies.
The combat in Ruiner is very fast-paced, even compared to other twin-stick shooters like it. It has the same rip and tear mentality I felt while playing DOOM. It was really exciting to think about how I was going to get out of a situation where I was running low on energy and health, not stopping until I saw the stage clear icon popup.
For this review I played the Switch version, and for a majority of the game, it performs really well. There was only one time that the game experienced a major slowdown. When it happened it was pretty annoying because it was during a huge boss fight. It felt like I was fighting more against the poor frame rate than the actual boss. I’m willing to overlook that because I’m unsure if this only affects the Switch version.
Apart from the main story, which you can clear pretty quickly, Ruiner also features a ton of extra modes like speedrunning and arena that adds a lot of replayability. With a lot of collectibles and goals for the player to reach, it never feels like there isn’t something to do even if you only pick it up for 10 – 15 mins. I found myself not wanting to put down my Switch, but when I did it was very easy for me to come back to it. A majority of the environments really seem to just blend together without much variety up until the final moments of Ruiner.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the game’s setting, it’s just that a lot of areas started blending together making it feel like I wasn’t really progressing. The soundtrack is simply amazing and really helps you keep the pace up while you wander around these repetitive environments. The character designs are all interesting and the art is well done. I found myself looking for NPCs with popout art just to see what they looked like. The only part of the game that made me think this was an indie title are cutscenes that, while they don’t happen often, did look like they were early PS3 style graphics.
Overall, Ruiner provides a wonderful experience for fans of this style of the game without overstaying it welcome. With an easy pickup and play feeling, fast and interesting combat,a simple story, and tons of replayability, I can’t recommend it enough. Ruiner deserves its place on the shelf right next to classic games like Hotline Miami and Robotron:2084. Any would be hackers should check out the game’s official website here!
Makings of a classic
Ruiner provides a wonderful experience for fans of this style of the game without overstaying it welcome. With an easy pickup and play feeling, fast and interesting combat, a simple story, and tons of replayability, I can’t recommend it enough. Ruiner deserves its place on the shelf right next to classic games like Hotline Miami and Robotron:2084.