All alone you approach a dilapidated ruin with one mission in mind: to seek an ancient and mysterious power! Nothing will get in your way as you battle hoards of enemies with a range of upgradable spells, and if it does, there’s no shame in trying again.

Perhaps Lone Ruin is the mysterious power you seek, or maybe it’s just that, a ruin of a game. Find out in our review!

Lone Ruin
Nintendo Switch
and PC
Developed by Cuddle Monster Games
Published by Super Rare Games
Released: 12th January 2023
Nintendo Switch copy provided by Super Rare Games

In Lone Ruin, you play as an unnamed spellcaster. Your mission is to discover a great power, rumoured to be lying dormant in a mysterious yet ruined magical city in this spell-based roguelike shooter. Upon entering this ruin, you’re greeted by an ominous stranger who gifts you with a spell of your choosing.

There are eight base spells, with a bunch more you can obtain during your runs. These range from Shards, a basic projectile spell, to Chain Lightning, an electrical ability that can arc through multiple monsters. You’ll also notice that three random spells include a bonus of a free upgrade for every run; this is great to encourage players to try different spells and see what works for them. You can of course play around with what you chose in the spell firing range and are free to swap the spell out for another before starting the run. Once you enter though, you’ve reached the point of no return… until you die of course! 

Upon entering, you’ll be tasked to fight off several waves of enemies. The controls are a breeze, use the control sticks to move an aim and the four shoulder buttons to use your spells. I wasn’t a fan of the default controller configurations for spells (the right-most slot uses ZL and left-most ZR), but these can be easily changed, something I very much appreciated. 

After a few waves, the room is cleared and you’ll be rewarded with a new spell, blessing, upgrade, treasure, or a nice chunk of health; keep an eye on the exits, they’ll tell you what goodies are in store for you in the next room. With each room, you’ll become more powerful, which can only be a good thing with how chaotic the battlefield can become. Luckily the retro-styled visuals are done in a way which doesn’t distract from the action and easily distinguish between what’s an enemy, projectile or the environment; I never felt like a death was the game’s fault. 

Once you conclude a set of rooms, you’ll be greeted by a boss for that area… when I say greeted, think more pummeled in my case! The game is definitely a challenge, especially the bosses, but as I said before, my many, MANY deaths never felt the title was at fault. It’s all about adapting to the loadout and rewards that you come across on your runs. Once you’ve mastered that, then it’s time to conquer the online leaderboards. If I had one word of advice to leave you with, make sure you become privy to your dash/dodge ability that you’ll always start with.

If you have a craving for true chaos, may I recommend trying out survival mode? Here you’re thrown into a large arena of sorts along with waves of nasty enemies with a thirst for blood… definitely not a hug, I can tell you that much now. You have ten minutes to thwart as many waves as you can. Though you may only begin with a single spell, each wave will grant you a choice for another spell, blessing or upgrade.

Lone Ruin was a pretty enjoyable experience albeit a little short. At the time of writing, there are only three areas in the main mode, each consisting of seven rooms. It’s great fun experimenting with the different loadouts but other than the online leaderboards there really isn’t too much in the terms of replayability. Saying this, there was a recent developer post that had addressed these concerns, giving hope for future updates to increase replayability, some of which are actually features I was pondering about.

Either way, I had a lot of fun playing and has left me with an appetite for more. The future of the title already looks promising, what other wonders and horrors await in Lone Ruin?

Final Rating – 4 out of 5

Leon Fletcher

I am a huge Nintendo fan, hence why NintyBuzz exists. I especially love all things Zelda and Metroid. NintyBuzz was started by me back in the Summer of 2014, it started out mainly as a hobby, though the site has gradually grown, and I hope it grows for many years to come!