Top-down twin-stick shooters aren’t really something you see too much of nowadays, and when you do, you certainly don’t expect to get an enormous sci-fi RPG with 30 hours of story mode, smooth and enjoyable gameplay, witty and well written dialogue, massive levels of customisation and multiplayer and co-op modes to top it off. But that’s exactly what Triple.B.Titles have managed to come up with, with Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages.
Life in Ring Runner starts out with you waking up on an operating table, with the classic RPG start of suffering from amnesia, probably caused by having a large chunk of brain removed in order to make room for Nero, your wise-cracking ‘Neuro-HUD’ who has a penchant for peanut butter cups. Nero acts as both the main point of comic relief as well dishing out the majority of the tutorial. It’s a good job you have Nero for company too, because Ring Runner has a behemoth of a tutorial â€“ with you being able to put a good few hours into it alone, before you get into the bulk of the game.
Thankfully, the tutorial itself isn’t too tedious, as you get to play around with the different classes of ship â€“ or archetypes as they’re called here â€“ as well as follow a thoroughly enjoyable story. It also gives you your first taste of just how many things there are to do in Ring Runner, as you’re thrown into race events, a gladiator arena, stealth missions and even a tower-defence styled mission, to name just a few. There’s an option to skip the tutorial too, for those who are desperate to jump right in, but it’s definitely not recommended.
In terms of the ships, there are 5 basic archetypes to get to grips with, the tank-like Arsenals, the melee-based Grapplers, the quick and agile Fighters, stealthy Rogues, and the Casters â€“ which are great for AOE damage. All the classes of ships have their own unique characteristics and abilities, and should cater for a large variety of play styles.
Don’t expect to be too quick at mastering all of the ships though, as all are incredibly varied in how they handle and each one has plenty of tricks available, and then things become increasingly more difficult to master once you’ve started fiddling with the customisation options.
The level of customisation is truly remarkable, with an incredible amount of options available to you once you’ve put the hours in. For every archetype, there are roughly 10 hulls to choose from, which is the layout of the ship, and on each hull around 10 equipment slots, which allows you to customise things like engines, shields and weapons, as well as class specific abilities. It’s even possible to create hybrid archetypes, allowing you to combine your favourite elements from two classes. Handy for when you can’t choose a favourite. All this customisation isn’t a necessity however, as there are plenty of pre-built ships for you to choose from, for those who would much rather just jump straight into playing.
Ring Runner features plenty of multiplayer game modes to keep you entertained as well, from the MOBA styled Space Defence League, to the self explanatory Zombie Survival and Wave Survival modes. There’s also a Gladiator mode, which pits you and up to 3 others against a series of bosses, who increase in difficulty the further you progress, a deathmatch mode, a free-for-all fight to the death, and Spire Battles â€“ where one team must destroy the other teams base while defending their own. All of these modes provide exceptional entertainment, especially Space Defence League which was superb fun, and worked fantastically well in a top-down twin-stick shooter.
Unfortunately however, the multiplayer does suffer from one flaw. An undeserved flaw at that, as it’s nothing to do with the actual game itself. The only real problem is the lack of people currently playing â€“ an enormous shame considering how much enjoyment can be had, and certainly not reflective of Triple B’s work.
Graphically Ring Runner is very appealing. With sharp, vibrant colours and stunning backdrops it can visually hold its own, even with some of the bigger titles, and yet still it’s able to capture that retro style perfectly. The music works incredibly well too, not only giving out vibes of sci-fi but also encompassing scale and enormity. Only fitting for a game with so much to do.
Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is a well thought out and wonderfully executed sci-fi adventure, unfortunately only let down by its lack of multiplayer community. Some may be off put by it’s hefty tutorial, but Ring Runner is genuinely one of the most enjoyable indie titles that I’ve played in a long while.
Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is available on Steam for Â£6.99
Reviewed on PC