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Lone Ruin Review

Roguelike magic

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on 🔥

Lone Ruin is rated Everyone by the ESRB

Game genres don't get much more specific than roguelike twin-stick shooter yet here's another one; it's the promising Lone Ruin.

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Lone Ruin screenshot 1
Time to spray some pesticides on the gardener

Simple yet effective

Lone Ruin is a very basic game at its core as you run around with the left stick, aim with the right, and use the shoulder buttons to cast a variety of spells that you accumulate throughout each run. At the start, you'll choose 1 spell to go alongside your basic dash move and I always picked Shards as it's simple, effective, and the most rewarding spell to upgrade. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154

Whatever you choose, be prepared to face a variety of nasty monsters that will swarm you, shoot projectiles your way, warp around, and leave trails as they dash unpredictably. Being able to take these baddies out effectively is a challenge that'll keep you on your toes, especially when the difficulty ramps up so make sure you're ready for some tricky yet ultimately satisfying twin-stick action. 😊

Easy on the eyes

On a presentational level, Lone Ruin looks great with its striking neon effects and gorgeous colour palettes that really pop. For the most part, it's easy to spot enemies and projectiles as they're clearly highlighted. However, there are times when enemies can be obscured by foreground objects only to give you a surprise and visual chaos becomes a substantial problem later in the campaign when the enemy onslaught behaves exceptionally aggressive. Besides that, I like the graphics a lot yet the audio is just okay. For starters, there's a very prominent electronic music soundtrack that ranges from glitch to drum 'n' bass but it doesn't complement the sound effects which become lost in the audio mix so I actually had more fun playing Lone Ruin with the music turned all the way down. 🔇

Lone Ruin screenshot 2
Some decisions are tougher than others

Feel the magic

Once the basics sink in which doesn't take long, you'll find yourself juggling all sorts of spells as you thin out the enemy waves in each room of the campaign. It's very cool that you can equip 3 spells in addition to your dash and acquiring an arsenal that works well together is always a rewarding moment as you decimate your foes while mashing the shoulder buttons. Plus, upgrading your spells to enhance their attributes and apply boosts such as status effects is fantastic. On top of that, there are plenty of upgrades that you can equip on your character that will do things like spawn fireballs around you and let you earn interest on your money so you can afford even more upgrades whenever you reach a shop. In the end, the variety of spells and upgrades makes Lone Ruin a solid roguelike experience. ✨

Longevity

You might be wondering what sort of content Lone Ruin has in store and it's really quite simple. First, you have a normal room-based roguelike campaign which features tough boss fights every handful of levels. Next, there's a survival mode where you fight enemies within a limited amount of time while trying not to bite the dust. Both of these modes can be enjoyed on 3 difficulty settings and each of the 6 combinations has its own leaderboard. See? I told you it was simple. Unfortunately, there aren't any permanent unlockables as far as I'm aware so the only replay incentive is the online rankings. This might sound disappointing to some folks but as someone who enjoys climbing leaderboards, I'm actually quite satisfied with this. If you play Lone Ruin, look out for A.J. because that's me! 🐻

Running out of magic

Before wrapping this up, I should stress that I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Lone Ruin but it's still an exceptionally limiting experience at the end of the day that caters to a very specific audience. If you love twin-stick action and the idea of one with rechargeable spells appeals to you then you'll certainly have a good time, especially if you enjoy comparing your skills via online leaderboards. There are still some hard-to-ignore issues, though, like the eventual graphical chaos, clashing audio, and general lack of content but overall, it's still a solid indie game. I just hope it gets updated at some point by adding a bestiary or something to offer a semblance of progression. 📕

Lone Ruin screenshot 3
Survival mode is fun if you're up for the challenge

If you enjoy twin-stick shooting and roguelikes then you'll certainly dig Lone Ruin. It may not be the most expansive example of the genre but what's here is still fun so if you decide to give it a go, let me know and I'll see you on the leaderboards! 😄

  • + Basic twin-stick roguelike action that makes it easy to play and fun to score higher
  • + Striking graphical aesthetic
  • + Great variety of spells and upgrades
  • - Very little content with leaderboard-climbing being the main replay incentive
  • - Gets too chaotic and visually ambiguous
  • - Music clashes with effects too much
7.0 out of 10
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Watch A.J. play Lone Ruin
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