Ruin of the Reckless Review

From Faux-Operative Games comes Ruin of the Reckless, a self-described lightning quick roguelike brawler that retains the feel of the old 16 bit games. That is quite the big description and quite the big boots to fill. After playing the game, however, I can say it more than achieved that goal.

In Ruin of the Reckless, we just died. Yup, our hero is actually already dead. When he wakes up, he is greeted by the Whisperer, a foxlike creature who welcomes us to the Ruin of the Reckless. In order to escape, we must climb the Ruin and reach the top, where we will have one wish granted to us. That’s easier said than done however.

After a tutorial by an adorable little penguing in armor, we can begin our ascent. In terms of core gameplay, Ruin of the Reckless is similar to Nuclear Throne, especially in terms of combat and the camera. In each floor, we have a set amount of time in which we must find a key and its corresponding elevator, so we can ascend to the next floor. Following that timetable is not mandatory, but it is in our best interests to adhere to it. If we don’t the floor becomes unstable, causing rifts to open and launch fireballs at you, adding some extra challenge.

Ruin of the Reckless has a bit of a difficulty curve, like most similar games. Reaching higher than a few floors at first will seem like an impossible task. Luckily, the game offers us a lot of resources. Our standard attack is initially a punch, but we can change that for other weapons, which we can either find or buy from the shop, which appears every few floors. Every weapon is different in its own way. For example, the scythe is slower than a punch, which is an issue against faster enemies. On the other hand, it can hit more people at once since it has a wider arc. My favourite weapon thus far is the rapier, which lets you dash while attacking with it.

Speaking of dashing, this is what boots let you do. When you start out, you only have the basic boots, but just like weapons, you can find or buy more, changing your dash and adding some things on top, like flying. On top of that, you can also get spellbooks and trinkets. The first lets you throw lightning and fire on top of enemies, doing a bunch of area damage. The second does many things, depending on what trinket you have, like give you a pet that attacks enemies with you. Before picking up a trinket or spellbook, however, read the label carefully. Some are cursed, meaning you can’t pick up a new item in its place until the run ends.

My favourite mechanic in the game, however, has to be the orbs. You can find orbs in shops or floating through a level. You can absorb a certain number of them, which rises depending on your level. There are two orb types. The first is the power orbs, which add a special trick to your arsenal. For example, there is a teleport powerup. The second type is more general, random upgrades. For example, there is an orb which regenerates one heart at the start of every level, one that lets you hit harder, and one that makes you spout lightning every time you are hit. This second variety reminds me a lot of the Nuclear Throne mutations, with the key difference being that you get them in a level, not after it. Another small difference between them is that, if you don’t need an orb, usually because you can’t pick up another one, you can hit it and send it flying towards an enemy, making it explode and stun them.

In terms of art and music, the game is absolutely fantastic. The game looks just like an old 16 bit game, only much much more sleek and clean. Its choice of colours and its general feel remind me on Titan Souls, another very beautiful game. I have to say, however, that the music is the real star. It’s just so fast and arcadey. It also manages to keep that “dirty” sound of old 16 bit games without becoming annoying. Instead, it pumps you up and gets you ready to speed through the game. Ruin of the Reckless even has its own original theme, made by the SLIME GIRLS.

Ruin of the Reckless also has a lobby, similar to another game of the genre, Enter the Gungeon. In the lobby, one can talk to a few NPCs that you can also meet in the Ruin itself, swap characters and also acess the Chaos Mat. The Mat is where you can put the cards you find across the game. Once placed on the Mat, the cards are activated and change the game. Some cards are balanced, some are hard and some are easy. Some of their effects are giving you more time before a level becomes unstable, giving you starting items and making monsters harder. In essence, cards are the game’s way to adjust the difficulty, which I found brilliant.

The only thing that didn’t sit that well with me in Ruin of the Reckless is its variety, escpecially on enemies. While there also are not many environments, the fact that they are so well-made and that levels are randomly generated kinds mitigates that. However, while enemies are equally well-made and unique, they are too few. You can find starting enemies all the way through the Ruin, which is a bit of a bummer.

All in all however, Ruin of the Reckless is fantastic and up there with Enter the Gungeon and Nuclear Throne on many levels. While more enemies would be great, the game has this feeling of urgency and speed that has on the edge of your seat. This is complimented by the game’s music and look, making it a great way to spend many, many evenings.

You can find Ruin of the Reckless on Steam, starting April 26.


Verdict

Ruin of the Reckless is yet another fantastic roguelike game with a unique look and sound. Its use of a timer on levels makes you embrace the speed throughtout its course, with its replayability being through the ceiling, only hindered by its little variety in enemies.


+ Its music and look.

+ The orb system.

+ Its frantic pacing.

 Not enough enemy variety.

Score: 8.9/10

– Philip “Snowchill” Alexandris