Indie Review: Ruins
Ruins is a game developed by Cardboard Computer, and it's an experimental title that focuses on narrative and its audio and visuals in order to draw you in. It's like no other game you've ever played.
- Worth The Time?Yes, absolutely, you need to check this out.
- Things LovedThe visuals are stunning, the game is extremely interesting, the audio is haunting, the design of the world is fantastic, the game is unique, it deserves merit for being so compelling despite containing barely any gameplay elements, you'll want to play through it twice for its story.
- Things HatedYou sometimes feel like you're wondering aimlessly.
- RecommendationEvery gamer should try it, because it's free and there's nothing else you'll play that's like this, so I can't recommend it based on much else.
- Name: Ruins
- Genre: Experimental
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC, Mac
- Developer: Cardboard Computer
- Publisher: Cardboard Computer
- Price: Free
- Reviewed On: PC
There is only one other game I have ever played that I can compare to Ruins, and they’re not even that similar. That game is another indie title called Dear Esther, and the reason I draw the comparison is because both games aren’t exactly games. They’re more like narrative journeys, and audio and visual experiences. I will tell you this much though. Ruins is like no other game you’ve played, yet despite how unconventional and non-gamey it is, it manages to be extremely compelling and captivating, and for that it deserves both merit and attention. The game released in September last year, but having just played it now, I felt excited to write about it because of how unique an experience it is.
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Ruins has you play as a dog chasing white rabbits through a dark and dreamlike world. All you’ll be doing is walking or running around, and getting close enough to a rabbit to trigger the next dialogue sequence that provides you with more story. You’ll listen and select a response at the appropriate times using your keyboard. The story is really emotional and compelling, which I found to be impressive considering that it’s just text, but the game certainly knows how to pack a powerful punch with its haunting and beautiful visuals and music. The dialogue choices ensure that it’s not possible to complete the story in just one playthrough, and you’ll almost certainly feel intrigued to return to it after you’ve finished to find out more about the story and get lost in the world for a bit longer. Completing the game will take you about half an hour or so, and I still find it really amazing how the game gets you to feel something despite its simplicity. I guess that’s the power of a good and compelling narrative.
The world is fascinating to explore, and it’s fantastic to get lost in, but it isn’t that large and areas will have to be visited more than once in order to find all of the rabbits. I suppose there’s good in that, because if the place was too big then it could become tedious to traverse and find new rabbit locations. Your running speed isn’t that fast after all, although it’s enough to get you around this world, and the pacing of the game is quite good overall. There’s really not much else to say about a game that isn’t entirely a game, but I feel that it’s a meaningful creation and definitely something I appreciate for successfully managing to achieve something powerful – an emotional response – using such subtlety.
The game looks amazing, and it has a very unique visual style that is stunning to look at. It’s a big part of the reason why the game is so immersive. However, I feel that the on-screen text is not as smooth or as clean as it should be, and as a result it can look out of place and be a bit distracting. Although, chances are that you’ll be too interested to read what’s going on to care. The music deserves special praise though, because its haunting, sad, and together with the visuals makes the game feel very surreal and emotional. I honestly can’t stress enough how great the game is with its graphics and sound, and it really just goes to show that the right kind of execution can achieve amazing results.
Ruins is a stunning experience that is unlike anything you’ve played before. It may not be much of a game, but despite that it’s completely captivating and immersive, and it deserves an enormous amount of praise for how well it draws you in and manages to get an emotional response out of you. As such, every gamer should try this, not just because it’s free but because it’s completely unique.