Tricks And Tomes Will Break Your Bones: Runers

It is not a photogenic game but it is handsome on the inside

Now this here story I’m about to unfold took place back in the early afternoon – just about the time of my deep submersion in a different game altogether, an enormous, deep RPG. I only mention it because sometimes there’s another game…I won’t say a masterpiece, ’cause, what’s a masterpiece? But sometimes, there’s a game. And I’m talkin’ about Runers here. Sometimes, there’s a game, well, it’s the game for its time and place. It fits right in there. And that’s Runers, on Steam this afternoon. And it may be a roguelite game…but sometimes there’s a game, sometimes, there’s a game. Aw. I lost my train of thought here. But… aw, hell. I’ve done introduced Runers enough.

Runers landed on my hard drive at just the right time. I’m writing a feature that has involved far more transcription than anyone should ever have to perform and during breaks from that, I’m playing a splendid game for review. It’s splendid but it’s the kind that swallows four hours and doesn’t even spit out any change. Runers entertains in five minute bursts and, hey, who’s counting how many five minute bursts happen to occur back-to-back?

Just released on Steam, it’s a “top-down roguelike shooter”, which translates as Robotron with a touch of character management, a host of classes and races, and a nifty spell creation suite. As you play, you’ll find that certain enemies drop runes and these can be converted directly into base level spells or combined to discover new magical formulae. There are 285 spells in total and even if the vast majority are little more than different kinds of homing and burning projectile, that’s a good number. The game is about shooting, burning, freezing and maiming things, so it’d be a waste to have 70 spells that altered the metaphysical nature of the world’s nation states, or turned rocks into ham.

Runers isn’t particularly polished (it has a ‘beastiary’ and it’s almost impossible to take an interesting screenshot because most of the screen looks empty) but I can’t stop playing it. I mean, I have, just for a bit so I can write about it, but I’m going to fall back in again instead of getting on with what I’m supposed to be doing. I just made a spell that lets me shoot rocks that I can control with my mind and I’m using it to squish a bunch of angry water mages. Everything is randomised (of course) so the next room might contain burrowing grubs or armies of skeletons. Either way, I’ll be hoping for some chaos runes to drop so that I can unlock some new dark magicks.

With a launch reduction of 25%, the price is £5.24 at the moment. I’ve already had precisely £7.46 of fun and I’ve only been playing for a couple of hours. There’s even a demo, for those who may have a fiver but are tempted to save the 24p for a pack of Space Raiders and a Chomp.

Oh, and Let’s Get Kraken is the best name for a game studio ever.


  1. Hyoscine says:

    There’s no way you can still get some Space Raiders and a Chomp for 24p.

    • padger says:

      Depends if you buy them from our local shop which imports sweets from 1987. (That or they just sell stuff a little out of date.)

    • angrym0b says:

      Tell us where we can find this 24p Space Raiders (pickled onion, obviously) and Chomp meal deal. I’m willing to go up to 50p if I can get a mini bottle of Irn Bru as well.

  2. Uglycat says:

    Am I supposed to not see any walls or floor? Can’t see where the hell the edges are.

    Edit: apparently known problem but drivers up to date :|

  3. Niko says:

    It’s an interesting game mechanically, it looks a bit messy, sadly. And I also can’t get my head around the fact that swamp mummy is a class, somehow.

  4. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    Gave it a go last night, actually. I didn’t find the gameplay very fun, but the spells were a neat idea.

  5. DeFrank says:

    Love the Big Lebowski intro. What do I win?

  6. DanceComm says:

    Reminds me a lot of “Pixel Boy and the Not Expanding Fast Enough Dungeon”, hopefully it doesn’t fall victim to the same issues (too short, too easy)

    • Sian says:

      I played the demo for a while and found it relatively hard. I’m not terribly good at these games, though. The demo ends after the first boss fight, three levels in, so I imagine there’ll be a bit more to the game than that.

  7. mandrill says:

    I watched the vid before reading the rest of the article. What was my first thought? “Well that’s a kraken name for a game studio”.

    What have you done to me?

  8. Excelle says:

    Looking forward to the new Endless Runer genre.