Game Review: Ruiner (Xbox One)

Ruiner is a cyberpunk top-down, twin stick-esque shooter video game developed by Reikon Games and published by Devolver Digital. The game takes place in 2091 and is set in a metropolis known as Rengkok. The player takes control of a silent, masked protagonist who attempts to rescue their kidnapped brother from a failing conglomerate, known as Heaven.

At the beginning, you’re led by a rogue hacker named Wizard to assassinate the Boss, the leader of Heaven. Before you reach the Boss’s office, the signal from Wizard to the protagonist is overridden by another hacker known only as Her. Her refers to the nameless protagonist as “Puppy” and explains that Wizard was contracted by another group. Also, that his brother has been kidnapped, and urges him to track Wizard down. From then on, “Puppy” sets out on a quest to hunt down his brother.

Ruiner immediately grabbed my attention with its beautiful, dark, cyberpunk aesthetic. After playing through it a number of times, here are my thoughts. Firstly, if you’re at all into these types of games then I implore you to check out Ruiner. Genuinely, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better top-down shooter than this one. The gameplay is swift, savagely violent and very satisfying. However, be warned in that the game can be fairly challenging on higher difficulties. If you want a stress free experience and simply want to enjoy the story then I recommend playing it on easy.

The level layout is straightforward which is welcome. They are designed to feel very industrial, almost Terminator-like. In between the blood splatter and hails of bullets are short sections set in a small hub area.

Here, you can interact with NPC’s and do one or two side missions. It’s a nice change of pace, giving you a small breather before you ride back into the chaos.

Accompanying you is one hell of a soundtrack that suits the cybernetic style perfectly. The track “The End” by Sidewalks and Skeletons is simply stunning. I’ve literally been listening to it on repeat, it’s one of the finest pieces of gaming music I have heard in a while.

There is a section in Ruiner when this plays, it really elevated it for me.

You’ll need a sizeable arsenal if you are to have any hope of saving your brother. Thankfully, Ruiner delivers an impressive variety of weapons and abilities. It’s mostly what you’d expect but each feel unique and powerful in their own right. Also, there is good diversity within the design of the enemies. Unfortunately, these do end up feeling recycled early on. In fact, the same goes for the level design which lacks variety.

Although the game isn’t particularly lengthy, it does slowly lose steam around the halfway point. Nothing is bad but it simply could have benefited from some kind of shake up.

Overall, Ruiner is a murder-fest that makes you feel like a badass. The environments, characters and story are stylized like a cool anime. Everything combines to deliver something dark, twisted but depressingly beautiful. This is a hidden gem that can easily be enjoyed through the Game Pass program.




Ruiner
  • The Final Score - 8/10
    8/10
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