“Another exciting addition to this popular rebirth of dungeon crawler games…”
Right now, you would have to be living in a hold of some sort if you hadn’t noticed that the dungeon crawler adventure genre was making a grand reappearance in the gaming world. Titles such as The Binding of Isaac and Torchlight have brought a stunning new episode of popularity to these types of games, and developers have been throwing out new and similar titles left, right and centre to try and take advantage of this. What the gamers who love this style of play are looking for now is a title which can really capture their interest and give them the fun, excitement, challenge and adventure that they so desire. Could the upcoming release of Rack N’ Ruin then be the answer to this craving?
Rack N’ Ruin is a debut indie development by a former artist of Blizzard Entertainment; Tyler Hunter. Having worked on titles such as Diablo 3, World of Warcraft and StarCraft 2 before leaving the company, industry expectations are high and more than one or two eyes have been focused on the development of Rack N’ Ruin for some time. Continuing its fight to make an impact on the gaming community despite falling short in its initial Kickstarter campaign, the game has already faced its fair share of challenges up until now. What is important of course is what it is, how it plays, and whether the end result will be worth it.
As we have already established then, Rack N’ Ruin is an action adventure, dungeon crawler style game It boasts an open world for exploration, a vast arsenal and set of items under the belt of your character, and an array of enemies that you will stand in your way and challenge you in more ways than you can shake even two sticks at! It sells itself well in words, and is certainly not disappointing when you sit down to play either. Despite the lengths which the development has gone to in order to offer it some relatively unique and deep playability in these ways, the game is very easy to learn to play when you jump in. Opting to teach you how to play in an almost natural way rather than by using a dedicated tutorial level, instructions for controls are placed welcomingly around the beginning of the first level, and within thirty seconds you can learn everything that you need to know. This is not because the games controls are limited, but rather because you have been given lots of things to use which can be used in a simple way. This allows you to play in whatever way, at whatever pace and making the game as easy or difficult as you like as you go. It is very open and very simple; an almost perfect combination of qualities in this type of game which will no doubt please fans of the genres into which it fits.
So the playability is good, but how is the story? Well, unlike the traditional dungeon crawler stories where you will often play either a hero or a character who has found themselves in an unfortunate bit of a pickle, this game places you in the boots (and other funky-looking attire) of a villain. Your character is named Rack, and Rack is a demonic wizard on a mission to corrupt the land and inspire chaos. As you play, your powers will grow, both through your knowledge of how best to use them and the discovery of new abilities alike. You must find your way through these dungeons defended by great hordes of heroic defences in order to learn the secrets of the land you hope to conquer using them. It can, at times, be easy to forget your purpose. Your mind naturally tells you that the creatures you fight are the “evil enemies” rather than the reality that in this case that is you. The look of your character and the nature
of your powers however is often quick to remind you of your place here. Rack is dressed in what might be considered the “typical” attire of a villain. You have your Dracula-style red cape, but this only complements the frank awesomeness of your MASSIVE horns. The character looks, in essence, the perfect classic villain. Your abilities to manipulate fire and lightning from the off is a further reminder, should you need one, that you are a master of evil in this land.
So there is some great gameplay on offer here, and a story which while it is not always entirely clear and heavily played has a background to it that you are not easily allowed to forget. Further to this, the look of the game is awesome. It has a sort of retro feel to it, but maintains a drawn style which makes it quite unique and interesting to look at. The look and style of combat is quite basic as a result if the graphic style though, which does not take away from the gameplay you are given but probably did limit the opportunities to make this feature more dynamic. On the topic of combat, it is probably worth giving the dungeon bosses a mention. Of course, you have to go in expecting the nastiest, most overpowered adversaries in these adventures, and Rack N’ Ruin is not a game which forgets that tradition. Fighting opponents around the map is a breeze compared to the task of tanking on some of these big bast… enemies! The preview copy of the game gives you what is pretty much a giant golden head to fight at the end of the level, and while this might seem like a situation you can handle without too much heartache, you can rest assured that it is. It took a few goes to win this fight, which was enough to show you that the game definitely isn’t too easy, and it sure as hell has stuck to the overpowered boss tradition of its genre.
All in all, Rack N’ Ruin is another exciting addition to this popular rebirth of dungeon crawlers, bringing adventure, excitement, openness and most importantly fun to the menu. The game has a lot to offer, sticking to the genre’s core, traditional qualities but throwing in its own unique style and features to offer games something new and different to have a go at. Will it make its name up there with titles such as Isaac and Torchlight? Well, only time will tell, but it is sure to make an impact and gather its own fan base even if it doesn’t go further. Not a bad first time indie development from this former Blizzard artist, and it will be interesting now to see what follows in the future…
What Is Good?
Rack N’ Ruin offers an exciting adventure, easy to learn yet open and in-depth gameplay, and most importantly the all important factor that is fun for the gamer. It sticks to its genres traditions and at the same time offering its own new touches to it!
What Could Be Improved?
The game could do with, and the final release may well already include, some more prods and reminders of your purpose and story within the world and the adventure. There is also some space for the basic combat style to be played with and improved.
Who Would I Recommend It To
Fans of the adventure and dungeon crawler game genres who are looking for another fun release to have a go at, or gamers in general who are looking for an exciting but pleasantly casual type of game to spend some time having a play with.