How exactly would one describe Rack n’ Ruin? There are several genres happening at once that it can be hard to put your finger on. I think the game’s artist and designer, Tyler Hunter, describes it best. “It’s an action/adventure game, meets Zelda with a little bit of bulletstorm style gameplay,” he said. And after the demo I played through I’d say it’s a spot on description.
I begin with Rack, a tiny demon wizard who has a penchant for destruction, meeting up with his overlord, Ruin. It seems Rack is being too destructive, by obliterating entire worlds instead taking the population as slaves. Ruin is giving Rack one last chance to get this right and sends him off to a new world to take over.
I pick up a simple fire spell as soon as I land and begin my path of destruction. Several peaceful looking cat-like creatures are my first targets. A few left clicks and I shoot my fire spell ending their peaceful lives. I move forward to a blocked pathway with a switch and a block nearby. When I approach the block a small yellow arrow appears over it and by simply holding down the space bar and using the WASD keys I can move block freely. I place it on switch and head on through.
I explore the forest for some time taking out a mix of peaceful and slightly more aggressive enemies. I find another blocked off area this time with a colored box. I figure out my way through and open the box. There I retrieve my first item, a set of bombs to blow a part enemies or blocked passages. Several other items can be used like small shards that can create spike traps, even a floating eye which fires off magical bolts in any direction.
Small little blue orbs are dropped after taking out each one and can be picked up. These are your enemies souls and can be used for currency and other more important means. I eventually reach a shrine to the goddess of this world. The ghost of a fellow demon informs me that by draining 40 souls into the shrine I can corrupt it and the surrounding area. I do so and the green, bright world around me turns into a dark grim swamp.
I head north to the next area, but I’m stopped by the massive dragon, Aman. She warns Rack to leave before she destroys him. Apparently, she is the reason our demon ghost friend is now…well, a ghost.
Continuing north I meet some tough knight enemies who can thrust and slash me quite easily. I eventually find my way to a large castle and get inside. I come across some of the bulletstorm style enemies in the form of wizards firing off intensely powerful orbs in every direction, forcing me to dodge and weave as I attack him from afar.
With the castle thoroughly explored I find my way to the top of the castle and finally face off with Aman. The fight is rough. With her immense size and varied attacks I’m left to dodge every attack. But with carefully placed attacks I wear her down and defeat her, ending my demo.
Rack n’ Ruin is entertaining and looks gorgeous thus far. It still needs to iron out some kinks, but it is well on its way to becoming a very entertaining game. Hunter informed me that the game will be released on PSN, Steam, Xbox Live and the PS Vita hopefully by early fall. And if it does well he and the rest of the team at LifeSpark Entertainment will be delivering many more games in the future. Here is to hoping they do.