I normally stay clear from top down shoot ‘m ups or twin stick shooters. Why? I don’t fully know if I’m being honest. Something about the play-style that just irks me and doesn’t fit well with my kind of play-style. Though there are that I do enjoy yet these are thinly sown. Thus, it was with a weary mind that I installed Secret item Games ‘s iteration of this genre. Rack ‘n Ruin puts you in the role of an Anti-Hero called Rack. You are a demon sent to worlds to subjugate to the power of an almighty evil overlord. But, of course, as an Anti-Hero, you listen to no one. And wouldn’t you know it, you won’t have any of it! You just want to destroy those puny little worlds since you are an almighty DEMON! Muhahaha! But how will your tale proceed? Since Ruin, the overlord demands of you to subjugate a funny little planet called EARTH. So, get out your crucifix, or… Upside down crucifix? Ugh, I don’t know… let’s just jump right into our review of Rack ‘n Ruin!
We played Rack ‘n Ruin for 4 hours on the Xbox Series X.
What we liked!
- Visual style: Rack ‘n Ruin ‘s art direction is nice to look at. Why? Because that top down feeling of your 2D adventure shooter combined with a color pallet that just pops? Really looks and feels amazing. The character models and NPC‘s all have their unique feel. The dialogues have their own form of dynamic story telling that complements what is written. And while each map has their own theme with complementary enemies, it does an amazing job not becoming boring with the repetitiveness of the models being used.
- Humor: Rack ‘n Ruin is a satirical based and grounded game. So, if you’re not into that kind of humor? You ‘ll still get a laugh here and there. Trust me! Almost every conversation has at least one punch line. I wish games would go back to this ancient form of humor, and conversation in general. Most dialogue now all scream HERO THIS and FETCH ME THAT. Where is the actual banter? Where is that whimsical feeling of … Je ne sais quoi! I don’t know. But what I DO know is that Secret item Games has touch that makes a regular boring dialogue into something truly worthwhile to read. For if I would be honest? Then I have to say that deep down I skip a lot of those in-game fluffer conversations because they add 0,0 % to the game!
- Controls: While I was expecting rack to move around with clunky tank controls, I was amazed to find that everything just runs silky smooth. No FPS drops, no missed or clipping hitboxes. Nothing! And yes, the hitboxes are perfect! Again, something that seems hard to come by these days. Especially when it comes down to 2D games. A lot of smaller developers (and big ones as well) don’t really find the need to code their hitboxes well enough. Really becoming a huge bomb for me when it came down to enjoyment.
- Audio: The audio and music for Rack ‘n Ruin is top notch as well. I’ve played AAA games that were of worse quality than I heard here. The tiniest of details could be heard, and everything just sounded crisp and clear. Truly a dream for my tiny shriveled heart ladies and gentlemen!
- Nothing: Nope, move along young padawan. This isn’t the section you are looking for.
What we disliked
- No decent mini-map: My one and only infuriating thought about the game was the mini-map. There isn’t one. When you enter a dungeon, then you’ll get a mini-map if you open it. But even that one isn’t all to functional. You are represented by a static image in a square, if you move to another room, your blip moves to that one. But that is it. It doesn’t check off the rooms that you were already in either. There is a dungeon with a rotating room. Where every rotated room is represented by a “?”. If you enter one of those rooms, they don’t get removed. So even if you rotate it, you still won’t know. So why even offer this option if it doesn’t do anything but be an eye-sore! Either make it fully functional, or just leave it out entirely!
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