Lost Ruins is Altari Games’ first project, successfully backed on Kickstarter in September of 2020. It is a different, unique game, combining different styles and mechanics and that alone is why I appreciated it so much. It is not perfect, and you probably need to be more than a casual gamer to fully appreciate it.
When you start a new game, you’re welcomed with the wisest words I’ve seen in a long time: “Those interested in enjoying the story with minimal obstacles are encouraged to try the Accessible difficulty.” Looks like I missed that part, because I started my game at the Veteran difficulty.
The game is very difficult but also very simple, as you need to learn about every enemy’s behavior if you want to succeed. There’s no luck involved here: use the right attack and time it right! Mastering the use of your different weapons and items is also a big piece of the puzzle: you will often need to switch equipments in the middle of a fight because of one enemy that is easier to beat with a different weapon.
There are many quests and bosses, and you can always go back and try your hand at something else if you can’t beat a particular room. Most of the time, there’s only one good timing to use your weapon and kill a beast before it kills you. You missed by a quarter of a second? You get slashed, frozen and then finished off... just like that, you went from full HP to dead. When you’re trying to find your way to a vending machine or to a boss you were too weak to beat yesterday, the map is of great help! There are also a lot of save points so you don’t need to repeat long sequences when you die (because yeah, you will die!). It can be a bit difficult to find money, as enemies don’t give you a lot of coins when you kill them, but you can always sell the stuff you don’t use (like that filthy plunger I found in the bathroom).
Overall, I think the game doesn’t really make sense : cute girls, cellphones scattered all over the ruins, completely different and absolutely not related enemies, a heroine that doesn’t look like the sharpest pencil in the box, etc. Cool thing is it all comes together and makes for a really great experience! The audio and visuals are top notch, the music is relaxing and you don’t really notice that it doesn’t change for something more exciting during heavy battles. I switched the language to French for a while and was pleasantly surprised by the translation, a very professional one, with jokes, rhymes and funny words that definitely weren’t choosen by Google Translate. The game supports a controller or a keyboard, and you can change key bindings as you prefer.
I recommend the game to almost anyone (besides kids, you know, there’s blood and gore) because of the adjustable difficulty. Be warned though, choose wisely because you can’t change it once you started your game! There’s also a hardcore mode for those who like an extra challenge, but you probably need to finish the game a couple of times before trying that!