50 Best Games of 2017: #48 – RUINER

Ruiner PS4 review

Developer: Reikon Games
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform(s): PS4, PC, Xbox One

Our 50 best games of the year countdown isn’t in any order, we’re just going through fifty of the finest the year has given us. Find out more here.

Featuring more neon than a particularly rowdy A-Ha concert and just as much blood, RUINER is a top-down shooter that revels in mayhem. It’s one of the most chaotic yet enthralling games of the year, dashing from making you feel like a god one second and the puppy that you are the next.

Your vessel into this world is a faceless protagonist who only has Her, a demanding and mysterious accomplice, for support. The early goings of the game, where you are repeatedly instructed to “KILL BOSS”, give you an indication of what kind of game Ruiner is going to be. Throughout roughly eight hours or so of gameplay, it has lashings of the old ultraviolence and an attitude that doesn’t quit.

RUINER excels in the fluidity of its diverse, which, although fairly vanilla at first, evolves to the point where you feel like an overpowered anime character; a big inspiration for the game itself. With a blend of brute force, wits, and plenty of stubbornness, you can really sink into RUINER’s dark and unsettling world.

Rengkok, its version of Bangkok, is a mess, its citizens either washed-up or opportunistic scumbags. There’s no right or wrong in this world; ethics flew out the window once the Heaven megacorporation stuck its tendrils in and started poisoning everything it could. Perfect playground for a bit of killing, no?

Controls are precise, if a bit sluggish to begin with. You can dash around the game’s claustrophobic levels and pick your enemies off with strategy, or just go for sheer power and unleash the wild weaponry that RUINER provides. A favoured tactic of mine was too mow through the weaker enemies with my sword before slowing things down and using serious firepower on the bigger enemies; it was a bit of a cheese ploy, but it usually worked. When it didn’t, though, it’s easy to switch things up.

Arguably RUINER’s greatest strength is that it allows players to switch up playstyle on the fly to find the right skills for the right enemy, or just to change the formula if it isn’t working. Keep getting slaughtered by a giant laser? Unequip some skills so that you can go for maximum shields and repel the beam. Much has been said about RUINER’s difficulty level, and while it certainly is hard, every obstacle can be overcome with some tactical fiddling and gritted teeth.

No cyberpunk-esque game would be complete without an outrageously synthy soundtrack to match, and RUINER is no exception. Featuring tracks by the likes Zamilska and Skeletons and Sidewalks, RUINER’s soundscape is dark and brooding while never overwhelming what’s going on on-screen. It’s quite the opposite: its almost hypnotic music helped me to concentrate and sucked me in deeper and deeper.

RUINER may be short and sweet, but it’s the kind of game that will stick in your mind thanks to its mesmerising style and just-one-more-go replayability. Be a good boy and play it as soon as you can.

Ruiner (PS4) REVIEW – Who’s A Good Boy?
INTERVIEW: Reikon Games, Developers of RUINER, Talk Inspirations, Difficulty & More

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