Highland Piper

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Games! Steam Early Access Game Review: Rise to Ruins, a Godlike Stimulator!

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Rise to Ruins is “A challenging godlike village simulator…” where you have to build a village while defending it against monsters that come out in the night. Your defense can range from just a few guards punching some zombies to an intricate labyrinth surrounded by magic spell-shooting towers. You indirectly manage your village by assigning the villagers jobs, such as builders, lumberjacks, or carpenters. I like this feature because you don’t need to micromanage all your villagers all the time. For example, builders will automatically chop down trees if they need wood to build something, and then bring the materials to the construction site and start building. You can also invoke your godly powers to help your village. In addition to other skills, you can summon golems, move villagers and resources, grow crops and forests, or hurl meteors.

There are many things Rise to Ruins does well. First of all, the music is amazing. There is a huge variety of songs; some are more retro 8-b

it, some remind me of Battle For Wesnoth, and one song even has a ukulele in it. You can even change songs via an in-game music player. The music will also change based on what is happening in the game. For example, when night comes it will play darker songs, such as Whispers In The Night or Skull Hunter. The music goes very well with the beautiful pixel graphics, which are detailed enough to look nice while also creating a retro feel to the game.

While it is an amazing game, there are a few minor annoyances. For example, you can’t change which keys do what. While that’s fine if you use WASD or the arrow keys to move the camera, it may be annoying for people that prefer to use other keys, such as EDSF for example. Another minor issue is that Rise to Ruins is currently capped at 60 frames per second, which won’t be a problem for most people since most monitors can’t display above 60 frames per second anyway. Basically, unless you have an expensive gaming monitor it won’t be a problem. Also, because the game is still in Early Access, every time the game updates your world gets wiped and you have to start again.

Building scene from Rise to Ruins.

The way the difficulty changes over time is interesting. While on the first day you need to rush to build some defense by nightfall, the only thing you can do is watch your villagers build stuff. You can use the speed changer, which lets you speed up the game to 2x or 3x speed, but it still isn’t very exciting. However, the game gets more interesting after the first day once you can build more advanced structures, such as golems and magical towers. As you go through spring and summer, you can start to expand and improve your village. Something to note: your villagers will overheat and die of dehydration in summer, so you need a reliable source of water. The difficulty really gets hard around wintertime. The long nights and short days make recovering from the hordes of enemies difficult, especially while your villagers are freezing to death. However, you will have plenty of time to prepare, since you start at the beginning of spring. The added challenge is nice because at that point your village will be pretty well defended and strong enough to withstand most of the attacks.

Overall, Rise to Ruins is a fun game that I would recommend to anyone looking for a unique version of tower defense. Right now it is only $10 on Steam Early Access, and the bundle with the amazing soundtrack is only $2 more. It is very easy to sink a few hours into, with a sort of “One more turn” feel to it. While it is not perfect, the developer is very active, releasing updates every few weeks. For only $10, it’s well worth it for a game as unique and entertaining as Rise to Ruins.

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