Explore the depths of an ancient civilization in this tactical roguelike.
One of the hottest trends in gaming in recent years is the rise of the roguelike. Adding mechanics that encourage multiple runs of games that let you improve over time, when done right, provides an extra hook to keep you coming back, but when it’s off by a little it can result in a game just feeling repetitive. Unfortunately, Ruin Raiders falls into that latter category a bit too often.
In Ruin Raiders you control teams of adventurers exploring ruins that are the remains of an ancient civilization, gathering resources and fighting tactical battles. The strategy gameplay is similar to games like XCOM or Mario & Rabbids Kingdom Battle, with turn based battles that emphasize the importance of cover. The core mechanics of these battles are solid, but the procedurally generated nature of the ruins leads to a lack of variety in environments, with battles feeling very similar each time.
Winning these battles and finding secrets in the environment can get you new equipment, perks, and the primary resource of the game, Entium. Entium can be used to craft items or upgrade your base, and is essential for progressing further as you make more runs through the game. Crafting items requires blueprints, which you find along the way but do so at a pretty slow pace. Because of this and the fact that your units’ classes and customization abilities rely on expensive base upgrades, it takes a long time before you see much of any variety in weapons and abilities.
While the ruins change with each run, they’re always made of the same basic components, which again makes it feel very similar each time. There will be treasure chests every few rooms, and basic switch puzzles that can unlock things like healing rooms and crafting areas, but again, it’s all very formulaic. The cartoony presentation and low key ambient soundtrack aren’t bad, but don’t really stand out in any way.
I don’t want to seem too down on Ruin Raiders, because the core strategy gameplay works well. If you’re willing to put in the time, it does start to have more variety and more customization after you build up blueprints and base facilities, but the road to that point can be pretty monotonous. It would have been much better served to have more variety in the early stages, which would have been a much better and easier to recommend game.