The double stick shooters do not go out of style; so much so, that there are few studies or developer companies that keep alive a subgenre almost as old as the video game industry itself with real experiences of action and debauchery . Proof of this is the new feature of Reikon , a young Warsaw-based developer studio formed by industry veterans with extensive
experience in titles such as The Witcher saga, Dying Light or Shadow Warrior , among others. Together with the publisher Devolver they bring us Ruiner, a tribute to cyberpunk anime, an isometric freestyle-driven shooter that opts for audiovisual spectacle with countless references taken from the cinema or anime, with a dystopian and decadent society as t
he central axis of its plot, accompanied by revenge as the only catalyst of such a tremendous orgy of blood, bullets and explosions . Welcome to the future dominated by HEAVEN; Welcome to Rengkok .
Ruiner transports us to a dystopian world in which society tries to survive under the yoke of technology, a future in which multinationals campaign freely while subjecting the weakest to the benefit of a privileged few. We traveled to the suburbs of the metropolis of Rengkok i
n the year 2091 , where a masked psychopath with LEDs on his face confronts the HEAVEN corporation in order to rescue his captive brotherand, by the way, free the minds of millions of people abducted by a utopian permanent virtual reality. With the help of a mysterious hacker, we will discover a plot that fans of the genre will appreciate but that the practice is so
mewhat insipid, since Ruiner bets openly for a narrative that tries to tell us something beyond the action itself, authentic protagonist of the title. Soon we will discover the true capabilities of our mysterious protagonist, innate abilities for combat enhanced by the cybernetic implants of his body .
Kill the boss
Authentic late motive of Ruiner, the title proposes a gameplay that we could define as an explosive mix between Hotline Miami and Housemarque’s most demanding near-shooters , like the recent Nex Machina or the not less recommendable Alie
nation or Dead Nation . But Ruiner intends to go a different way, either by an audiovisual packaging simply overwhelming and brimming with
personality-special mention to his masterful soundtrack, which will be discussed later- or by countless options for progression and personali
zationof our foolish protagonist. In Ruiner we must kill, yes, but with style, something that is evident from minute one with the constant evaluations of the combats, marked by our murders, deaths or time spent.
For this we have a real arsenal that we can get from fallen enemies, as well as different weapon stations – after hacking – that we must learn to use in each situation, taking into account the type of enemy and the power or cadence of each of weapo
ns; from semiautomatic rifles to laser cannons, passing through guns, shotguns and even melee weapons, such as iron bars or swords. Mobility is another of the pillars of his game proposal; in Ruiner we must move wit
hout stopping, either to dodge bullets or projectiles, the own blows or onslaught of the enemies or collect weapons, thus achieving an authentic choreography of death and destruction. And the result can not be more rewarding. As we overcome the different combat arenas, we will learn to move with ease, changing weapons constantly -with a
practical bullet time effect with each barter- and resorting to our skill tree, which we can assign to each button and in real time through a practical menu in the form of roulette. You may overwhelm so many options at first, but we will quickly feel comforta
ble and we will know how to empower our protagonist in the right direction according to the situation and our style of play. All this through the allocation of skill points achieved through the experience points collected in the matches and the loot boxes scattered across the stages.
Skills like the sprint – essential in the fighting – or the shields of protection, in addition to several types of grenades and explosives, the ability to momentarily hack the enemies to fight in our favor, the bullet time or the increase of our damage with the we
apons, among many others. Each confrontation will require one side or the other , especially against the most intense waves or clashes with the final bosses, each with their own mechanics and an army of lackeys in their favor, although all of them are little worked. Naturally, the title has several levels of difficulty; in this sense,
Ruiner is shown as a demanding title, maybe not suitable for inexperienced in the genre, especially in the higher difficulty levels. Even so, the easy level is quite accessible for less experienced players in this type of experience, where reflexes and skill at the controls are key pieces.
But Ruiner wants to go a step further with a development punctuated by small doses of exploration; we are facing a totally linear title divided by chapters although between acts we can explore with some freedom the alleys of Rengkok. These episodes try to expa
nd minimally the lore of the game, with conversations with certain characters, the occasional secondary mission with collectables … And little else. In fact, we appreciate the intention of its developers to expand the context of the plot, but the result does not contribute much to the whole and hinders its development , thus becoming one of its main setbacks.
Where Ruiner shines with its own light is in its staging, both in the visual and in the sound; and is that although its graphic section is
not particularly brilliant at the level of modeling or animations, it does manage to become an authentic reference of the spectacular . Explosions, particles, large amounts of characters on the screen … And all with great ease at the level of performance. In addition, his artistic direction with obvious references to anime is as captivating as it is stimulating , especially in everything related to his soundtrack. If you like electronic music you will enjoy
a whole collection of songs by artists of the scene such asSidewalks & Skeletons, Zamilska, Antigone & Francois X, DJ Alina and even the famous anime composer Susumu Hirasawa , author of soundtracks of anime works like Berserk, Mi
llennium Actress or Paprika, among others. Musical pieces techno, dance and electropop -very well measured, by the way- that will inevitably remind us of the feature film Akira and other cyberpunk works of the time.