Games like Ruiner are why I started writing about video games. The game may have slipped past some people but not for lack of quality. There is an evident passion behind the project, and I think it would be hard to find anyone who would dislike this game. Players can instantly sense the massive amount of dedication and detail that went into the game, and now you can play anywhere on Nintendo Switch. Also, it’s pretty much Cyborg Bad*** simulator 2091, and that’s a theme anyone can get behind. 10/10 style points.
Ruiner takes place in the year 2091 in the city of Rengkok. A cyberpunk dystopia filled to the brim with attitude. Gritty streets and neon signs reminded me of some of my favorite sci-fi classics, such as The Fifth Element or Judge Dredd. Gangs and mercenaries fill the streets, each with their own backstories and motivations.
The detail in the lore of the game was outstanding, and I’ll be first in line for a Ruiner comic book. Running around the city revealed countless minor interactions that offered vital insight into the citizens’ mood and helped to immerse me in the game even further. Special shoutout to the sassy street cleaning robots named “Yoshi,” I stopped at everyone I could to hear what they had to say.
Combat is at the core of Ruiner. Fast paced brutal action that can end in the blink of an eye connects beautiful set pieces that traverse the game’s exciting world. Players are pushed to their limits with each new battle and will need to master the many abilities in the game if they have any hope of beating it. What I liked most about the gameplay experience was how the game made me feel like I was learning a new skill and that new skill was kicking butt.
MILD SPOILER ALERT Near the mid-way point, I began to feel like I was so powerful no normal enemy could stop me. That’s when the game hooked me. Fights drastically started changing in their mechanics and made me stay on my toes, trying every ability I could to scrape my way to the next checkpoint. I mean it when I say beating this game feels like a tremendous accomplishment.
In most video games, your “build” or the way you level up your character is specific to how you want to play, and often choices are permanent, not in Ruiner. Abilities are easily swap-able, and the game’s design encourages players to try new combinations of skills to tackle each new task. Changing my play style so often was incredibly refreshing and worked perfectly with the exponential increases in difficulty. As Ruiner ramps up, players are forced to use different abilities to adapt. This is done in part by the numerous mechanically diverse boss fights. Each new challenge feels completely different from the last and requires thinking outside the box to conquer.
On Nintendo Switch
While Ruiner did feel substantially better with the Pro Controller, there was little to no difference in performance in handheld vs. Docked mode. Personally, I play 90% of the time with my Switch in handheld mode, and Ruiner was a perfect fit for my bite-sized gaming sessions. Levels are broken up into two parts, exploring the map and arena-style combat. Battle typically consists of the player fighting several enemies or a boss before opening a door and moving to the next area, with each door serving as the checkpoints. I must applaud the checkpoint system in the game because it was perfectly balanced. That’s where Ruiner shined on Switch. I could play anywhere anytime and never had to worry about losing progress or saving.
- GAMEPLAY - 90%90%
- GRAPHICS - 75%75%
- AUDIO - 85%85%
Ruiner is a vibrant punch in the pants that holds nothing back and brings a beautifully aggressive aesthetic to the Switch that is rarely seen on the console.The heavily detailed story provides players with a wealth of content to dive into even after they have completed the campaign. Relentless boss encounters will test even the most seasoned gamer and feel tremendously rewarding. Enjoyable until the last moment, I would recommend Ruiner on Nintendo Switch to anyone looking for something to spice up their Switch lineup.