Heroes of Ruin is a top-down action role-playing game very much in the same vein as Blizzard's Diablo 3, Runic's Torchlight and other loot-heavy dungeon crawlers. In the simplest terms possible, it involves a lot of hacking and slashing through dungeons in order to collect loot and complete quests.
Developed by n-Space, the studio behind Call of Duty, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and GoldenEye 007 on the DS, Heroes of Ruin doesn't stray very far from the tried and true top-down dungeon crawler formula, and with good reason. The satisfaction of picking up quests, scrounging for loot and swapping items and weapons in and out in an attempt to marginally increase your character's statistics is ever-present.
The meat-and-potatoes gameplay revolves around picking up quests from townsfolk, which tend to send players skipping into dungeons infested with all manner of ghouls, goblins, trolls and other creatures from fantasy lore. Naturally you won't be making small talk with them; the game provides you with a basic primary attack and an additional special one to smack them around with. Knocking an enemy over the head with an attack is rewarded with some lovely animations and audio effects that make the combat fulfilling and help it from becoming stale.
Like all good RPGs, Heroes of Ruin has a robust skill system tied to the various character classes available. Taking the role of the tank is the Vindicator class, who happens to be a lion. This is the class you'll want to pick if you like diving in front of attacks to simultaneously protect friends and deal out large amounts of damage.
The Savage is a less beefy character than the Vindicator, but is better at dispatching large groups of enemies, as his name suggests. To satisfy his bloodlust the Savage is able to aggravate enemies and draw them in close enough to beat them to a pulp.
The Gunslinger is a ranged combat specialist who doesn't fare very well in the thick of combat, but he's kitted out with pistols that are good for picking enemies off from distance.
Finally, the Alchitect is the game's mage class, and a bit of a jack of all trades. She's able to dish out a healthy dose of damage by lobbing spells from distance and also has a bunch of abilities designed for crowd control. Out of all of the classes, the Alchitect feels like the best all-rounder and a great character to start off with.
The variety of classes is a great way to keep the gameplay varied if you're playing on your own, but it comes into its own when playing online. Heroes of Ruin supports four-player online co-operative play, and if you can get a few friends together you'll be able to use the various strengths of each character to take on the tougher dungeons, and also use special abilities in unison for powerful combo attacks.
Running around defeating enemies, collecting loot and completing quests is a familiar but oh-so-satisfying formula. And the moment it starts to wear a bit thin you can draft in a few friends to inject some excitement back into the game. For RPG fans, Heroes of Ruin is everything they love crammed into a tiny cartridge for the Nintendo 3DS. Those who want a portable alternative to Diablo 3 should absolutely pick this up.
- Addictive loot collection
- Satisfying combat
- Fun co-op play
- Some might find it a little repetitive playing solo
- Not the best use of 3D
- Plays it safe by sticking to a familiar formula