One of my highlights from last year’s June’s Steam Next Fest was a roguelike twin-stick shooter called Lone Ruin – a game where you venture into an old, magical ruin to seek an ancient power. This game stood out to me due to its incredibly pretty design direction and fast-paced combat. And now, the new title by the studio behind Hell Is Other Demons came out and I was incredibly excited to write about it, so here’re my impressions of this roguelike title!
Developer: Cuddle Monster Games Publisher: Super Rare Originals Genre: Twin-Stick Shooter, Action Roguelike, Indie, Bullet Hell Release Date: January 12th, 2023 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC (Win, Lin, Mac), Switch, PS4, XB1 Copy was provided by Super Rare Originals.
Lone Ruin is a spell-based roguelike twin-stick shooter that lets you set out into a corrupted city overrun by monsters. Here, you’ll find yourself, picking up to three of many different spells, creating unique and interesting combos, fun builds, and trying your best to survive in both a Roguelike-mode as well as a Survival Mode.
The magic happens when you pick the spells that best fit your playstyle and try to make them work at all costs.
There are a plethora of spells available to add to your arsenal, so you’ll have many opportunities to create fun builds, especially when one factors in the “blessings” that you’ll find along the way that can enhance your damage, grant you survivability or possibly allow you to completely change how your build works.
In one run, I was experimenting with the boomerang spell, for instance. You shoot it out and it stays at a specific point where it will constantly deal damage before eventually returning if you recast the spell or pick the boomerang up manually.
As my run continued, I claimed plenty of upgrades for the boomerang, allowing me to shoot three boomerangs at once… but what really made this build work was the inclusion of an icy barrier that I’d cast to trap enemies at the tip of the spell, inflicting plenty of damage to those pesky foes!
Similarly, there are also other spells that can synergize rather well. The black hole, for instance, travels along a path and sucks in enemies, dealing damage to them in the process. This made this laser spell I had incredibly viable as I suck at aiming in fast-paced games and as the black hole would group up enemies quite nicely…
And then there are other single-target spells or AoE spells that can also inflict status effects and good amounts of damage… and there’s just a lot to try out here from a melee-focused build to heavy AoE damage that is relatively slow in terms of cooldowns… to runs where you simply dash around, flinging orbitals at people.
In Roguelikes, I love it when you have synergies, and I believe that Lone Ruin captures that incredibly well!
What Lone Ruin also does well is the atmosphere. The buildings and areas really give off that ominous and “corrupted” vibe that the game is going for. On top of that, the game’s colour palette and soundtrack are just outstanding and magical. It works really well. Heck, the soundtrack really gets my blood pumping and I wanna listen to it in the gym.
What I didn’t like, though, is that the game sometimes doesn’t project damage well. At times, I’d get hit and I wouldn’t know what it was.
Sometimes, enemies are abound but you don’t see them because of trees and walls blocking the sight of them…
At the same time, I’d imagine that this issue is even worse for people with some form of colour blindness, given that most of the game is painted in this purple and red aesthetic with some cyan mixed in. I’d love to see a colour blind option or some way of adding more contrast.
Another issue I have with the game is content.
There is a Survival mode and there is a “normal Roguelike” mode… but after roughly two hours, I feel like I’ve seen everything. This is definitely a “here for a good time, not a long time” game, as some Steam Reviews state, but especially for this price tag, I would have hoped for more content… Maybe alternate bosses, challenges, some difficulty modifiers, or even some form of endless mode in the standard game.
To sum it all up, Lone Ruin is phenomenal, in theory, if there was more content and if those accessibility concerns are ironed out. I seriously hope that the game will receive more updates given that it sort of feels like an Early Access game at the moment, even though it’s a full release.
I mean, the game is incredibly polished and at times, I felt reminded of the fast-paced nature of Hades and Enter the Gungeon. I really enjoyed my time with the game but I’d love to play more than just two hours if that makes sense, and I don’t think two hours is what one would think of when one reads “highly replayable” in the store description.
If I were to give the game a score, it’d be conflicted. If there was more content in the game, this would easily be a 4/5 or 5/5. Currently, however, I’m leaning more towards a 3/5 if anything. I hope that there will be more updates to the game, especially regarding accessibility concerns. I’ll revisit this game in the future if there are any updates.