Top-Down Trial: Ring Runner Demo

By Adam Smith on January 8th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

I wrote some impressions of Ring Runner’s early stages last year and they were positive, with the caveat that the game took a long time to open up. There’s an incredible amount of content and proceedings gracefully move from rapid-fire shooty-bang action to slow-paced scavenging and ship modification. Originally, the campaign introduced these elements piece by piece, becoming slightly bogged down in a sequence of (admittedly enjoyable) tutorial type stuff. That’s changed now and it’s far easier to reach the game’s succulent centre, which provides all the lunatic top-down space antics you could wish for. An updated demo is now available and I highly recommend it.

Here’s some of what I said last summer.

How pleasant to play a space shooter that mostly avoids lasers that go pew-pew and photon torpedoes that drift like silent hunters. In Ring Runner, I grappled with ships, grabbing them with a gravity cable, spinning, building momentum and hurling them into walls of spikes or the corpses of other ships. Sometimes I would yank them toward me and then fling them into one another, a space pinball wizard capable of pinging a wingman off his companions and destroying both.

Ping a wingman today! Download now.

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10 Comments »

  1. nimbulan says:

    I played a few hours of this on Steam and I’ve really been enjoying it as well. I know a lot of people are disappointed that it’s a rather linear experience rather than a 2D Freelancer, but it does what it does well. Perhaps if the developers are so inclined, they could go that route for a second game since they have a really nice engine built for it.

  2. Teovald says:

    I bought it a while ago on GOG. I have not gone very far yet (I am just at the beginning of the non linear part of the game, after many battles) but it has been a very fun & original experience.

  3. fooga44 says:

    Ring runner is a nerd wet dream kind of game, it just screams nerd from every pore.

    The problem with this game is tiny size of the ships and the screwed up ship physics. The way the ship moves could have used less inertia. All the challenge in this game comes from avoiding walls rather than more action oriented maneuvering.

    The game needs to take lessons from beat hazard on playability and how to do a top down 2D shooter properly. The physics gimmick really screws up the pace of the game and the game is fairly slow paced.

    • Tiax says:

      I strongly disagree, Beathazard was a very poor shoot’em’up without any feeling or oomphf.

      If this game handles anything like Starfarer, it’s gonna be the best surprise of this year, so far

      • dE says:

        But it doesn’t.
        In Starsector it makes sense, because you’re controlling bigger ships through space, with weapons that have a firing arc and a generally much slower and more tactical gameplay. Ring Runner has you fly tiny ships you can barely see, a nudge of the speed pedal sends you off at high speed but instead of flying through space, you’re navigating a field of random space debris. It looks like you’re meant to zip past those in a frantic speedrage, but the ships in Ring Runner control like Heavy Load Trucks at 300 km/h on a serpentine road made for Micromachine Toycars. Heck, at times it looks like bloody pinball with the ships pinging from wall to wall.

        Which is especially sad, because it quite frankly looks like a great game otherwise. So many customization options, so much content. On paper it’s almost like a dream. One held back by a movement system that could use a “screw realism, let’s have fun instead” mode. Especially since ships already come with teleportation and similar gadgets (so you know, realism has already been killed off).

      • fooga44 says:

        I don’t think you understand anything at all. The original beat hazard had inertia just like Ring runner but it didn’t overwhelm your ability to control your ship. In Ultra they removed inertia entirely for more fine control because Beat hazard’s pace and number of enemies increased so movement accuracy became a priority.

        If you played the original BH (which it’s obvious you didn’t really), you would have noticed that it had inertia system just not as pronounced as RR. RR’s big problem is in fact the sloppy ship movement. The difficulty of fighting ships in the arena has everything to do with the asstastic crappyness of ship controls.

        You die in RR because of the lethargy of the ship, not because you suck at videogames. That in itself speaks volumes when you are fighting the controls to beat a level.

  4. Stardreamer says:

    Are you saying they’ve changed the campaign in the full game? I bought RR just before Christmas there and got bogged down in the tutorial. The level that pits you up against your gladiator bunk-mate. Just couldn’t get past it. Left it for a week or two, went back, realised I’d forgotten lost my muscle-memory of how to play the game, which made it harder. Booted up XCOM instead.

    Would be nice knowing we could get into the meatier bits without having to slog, because I’m sure there’s a great game in here. I just haven’t seen it yet!

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