When I first cast eyes on Ruin of the Reckless it was displayed in the form of a Twitter gif. Even on first sight, I could tell that there was something special about this gorgeous-looking indie title.

Developed in Game Maker, Ruin of the Reckless is a Roguelike standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Nuclear Throne and Enter the Gungeon.

You control a feisty underdog facing a difficult climb up a tower. Said tower is littered with a variety of dangerous monsters as well as lucrative loot and NPC’s.

This game managed to impress straight from the main menu. The options screen leaps onto your screen with such gusto and offers up a palpable number of options for you to tinker with.

Ruin of the Reckless is a Roguelike standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Nuclear Throne and Enter the Gungeon.

This small menu is bevelled with gorgeous pixel art that I could just sit and marvel at. This is one thing that Ruin of the Reckless astounded me with – detail.

The game also lets you know about the wide range of controller inputs it supports, all the while pleasing your ears with a pumping menu soundtrack.

When you jump into the main game you’ll be greeted by a hub screen. After some explanation you acquire your mission, and as you progress a host of compelling NPC’s fill the area.

My favourite friend was Pauliver, an adorable penguin cosplaying as a knight who shows you the ropes in the game’s tutorial.

The first thing to notice during these lightning-paced lessons are the mechanically sound controls.

Ruin of the Reckless controls like an absolute dream, and this leads to some essential and utterly satisfying gameplay. Your character has a number of different options for combat, defence and movement that work together to create a wonderful experience.

Your left click is your basic attack whilst its counterpart serves as your special ability. Found on each floor are orbs that can be tied to your character dependent on their level. Each provides a fun twist on combat that importantly makes you feel strong and keeps each playthrough unique.

Ruin of the Reckless controls like an absolute dream, and this leads to some essential and utterly satisfying gameplay

One tower trawl had me turn into Zeus, god of lightning as I summoned bolts to vanquish my foes and zipped around the map with my bull rush boots, toppling foes and collecting their spoils.

Another run had me using my Spirit Tether to latch on to walls and dash around the tight corridors. I found out that I could whip enemies towards me and dash into them with my Rapier, sending them flying across the map.

Your character also has a spellbook, a consumable item, and a weapon which can all change during play, and your boots can be modified depending on what you’re looking for. Some players might prefer to leap around the map, but some of my favourite moments came from using the dashing mechanic.

There is something inertly satisfying about landing a dash punch on a wizard or deflecting a spear from an enemy. Each movement even has a coordinating sound effect that tantalises the ears.

Each upgrade provides a fun twist on combat that importantly makes you feel strong and keeps each playthrough unique.

One of the only unfortunate valleys in my journey up the tower was that the game can become too hectic at times as the difficulty spikes and more enemies flood the screen.

Dashing into a big crowd creates slowdown and makes it easy for you to be bum-rushed and killed, especially if your eyes aren’t quick enough to register the vast number of things happening on the screen. This sometimes put the onus of blame on the game rather than your own performance, which is a thin difficulty line that may put some players off.

Whilst it was too few and far between that I could quite easily look past it, I can’t help but think that this small performance issue could be worked out to make the game fully sleek during its vitally important combat.

Whilst fighting the mid-level boss I found myself cascading into traps and foes and feeling overwhelmed by the breakneck speed, and at this point I even had a number of chaos cards equipped to make my ascent easier.

Whilst personally I enjoy the challenge, getting to the top of the tower is no easy feat, and definitely not for the faint of heart.

I enjoyed getting comfortable with a variety of the game’s weapons that really do change how you play. Your tactics must change if you’re using a projectile based weapon rather than a simple short-ranged blast, and it’s a fun learning process.

One of the most exciting weapons in the games large arsenal are the fists which provide a close range, hard-hitting approach if the rest of your build can complement with ranged spells.

Whilst personally I enjoy the challenge, getting to the top of the tower is no easy feat, and definitely not for the faint of heart.

Pets also feature and range from a number of cute animal archetypes that provide a service in battle. I was pleased to find out that an upgrade orb worked on both my spellbook and my pet, leading to my squid companion becoming a palpable force against the tower’s relentless evil.

One feature I noticed whilst making notes for this review was the ‘unstable’ floor system that occurs when you run out of time before leaving the area.

This turns Ruin of the Reckless into a bullet hell mini game for a short time as you race to leave the area. Loot frequently drops to incentivise this dangerous system and you must make the call as to whether its worth the risk.

Other small aspects of the game that surprised me were the remarkably good-looking shop and its jovial, earworm theme, as well as the Chaos Cards that add a level of permanence to the progression. The ‘Chaos Mat’ in which you pick modifiers to change your tower experience looks fantastic and is even satisfying to use.

You can even weaponize the upgrades the game throws at you. If you’re full of orbs and can’t stomach anymore due to your low level you can punch them away and into a crowd of foes to turn it into a time bomb that can change the tide of a battle.

Other small aspects of the game that surprised me were the remarkably good-looking shop and its jovial, earworm theme, as well as the Chaos Cards that add a level of permanence to the progression.

The soundtrack as a whole is also incredible and is definitely something that I’d listen to in my own time. Acoustic guitars truncate heavy synths and chiptune melodies, and some of the floors choose to incorporate vox samples, reminding me of an 8-bit version of some of Hideki Naganuma’s tracks from the Jet Set Radio series.

If you’re looking for an innovative roguelike with tough but mechanically satisfying gameplay, you can look no further than Ruin of the Reckless.

This review copy of Ruin of the Reckless was supplied by PlayerTwoPR representing Faux-Operative Games. The game releases on the 26th April. Our Editor In Chief Jordan Oloman spent 7 hours climbing, collecting and crushing foes.

 

 

 

Review overview
Visuals - 86 %
Audio - 85 %
Gameplay - 79 %
Fun Factor - 82 %
Summary Ruin of the Reckless is a wonderful new entry to the Roguelike arena that binds tantalising, mechanically sound gameplay with a gorgeous art style and an inspiring soundtrack.
83 %
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Jordan Oloman
Joint Editor-In-Chief of Quillstreak. Geordie Archaeology Graduate living vicariously through Nathan Drake. Loves old-school Adventure Games and anything made by Double Fine. Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp Wannabe.
https://twitter.com/JordanOloman

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