Cyberpunk twin-stick psychostomp Ruiner is out now

A red room in Ruiner

The blinking red light on my e-roomba tells me there’s a message. Oh, it’s about Ruiner [official site]. The cyberpunk twin-stick shootmans is out today, sporting its cool jackets and flashing facemasks. You play an angry fella going on a psychopathic rampage to get his brother back and take down a corporation that has everyone enslaved to VR, helped by a hacker sidekick who provides narrative voiceover as you flamethrow, hammer, and shotty your way through enemies. Hang on, the vid-cockroaches are forming into a screen. It must be a launch trailer.

Roaches, disperse. So yes, that looks like a cyberpunk world, for sure. John had a go at shooting his way through some brawls earlier this year and thought the Alien Breed style combat was fun but that its depiction of women was a little puerile, all of them bent over, boobs akimbo, although overall he didn’t get a long enough demo to make any harder opinions than that.

Our pals at Eurogamer, however, have stronger opinions. Having blasted through more of the game, Edwin Evans-Thirlwell calls it a “profoundly ugly” game in terms of its themes, if not its art style. Let’s find that sentence he uses… ah yes: “Ruiner is, in short, a moderately entertaining action game and an utterly hopeless portrait of entrenched misanthropy…” Phwoar, that’s some line.

Anyway, it’s on Steam and GOG for £14.99/€19.99/$19.99.

Disclosure: our own Alec Meer did some script-editing for early versions of Ruiner.


  1. aepervius says:

    Don’t have most cyberpunk theme a certain generous amount of misanthropy in them anyway ? I am not sure I would hold it against the game.

    • grimdanfango says:

      There’s nothing wrong with *depictions* of misanthropy… it doesn’t sound like they’re really trying to say anything using that depiction though. The whole point of depicting dystopian futures is usually allegorical, not just to revel in the misery for misery’s sake.

      • Kollega says:

        Which is something that I’ve been saying for a while now about all the times when writers take cyberpunk and just make it grim for the sake of grimness =/

        But hey, it’s actually really nice to see that someone shares my opinion on that. Kudos.

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          DelrueOfDetroit says:

          Austin Walker talked about this in a podcast during E3 while discussing The Last Night. He said he was basically done with “cyberpunk” as a genre because at this point it is just an aesthetic.

          “Everybody remembers the flying cars in the opening to Blade Runner but nobody remembers the burning oil rigs.”

          • Kollega says:

            Care to provide a link to that podcast? I’m suddenly really interested in hearing it and comparing this author’s reasoning to mine…

      • Emeraude says:

        I don’t know about reveling, but just presenting something ugly with no filter nor pretense of hope can have value too, in and off itself. Having read that Eurogamer review, I can’t but wonder how the author would stomach some of the harsher early foundational work of cyberpunk as a genre.

        Hell, would have to track it down, but I seem to remember an old piece on RPS about Syndicate that shared my love for that aspect of it, the presentation of the neo-liberal ideology taken to its ugly conclusion. Without so much as an accusing gaze. Just a clinical “this is it”, letting you enjoy what you could.
        If anything, I think that’s one thing the shooter/reboot by EA totally missed by trying to make you the rebelling hero. Totally missed hitting the right narrative note.

        Granted, I haven’t played Ruiner yet, so I’m not going to say anything about the game itself.

        • April March says:

          some of the harsher early foundational work of cyberpunk as a genre

          Care to give some examples of these works? I feel what you’re alluding to isn’t Neuromancer, and whatever it is I’m interested.

    • pepperfez says:

      The rest of that line from the Eurogamer review:

      Ruiner is, in short, a moderately entertaining action game and an utterly hopeless portrait of entrenched misanthropy – an experience that embraces all of cyberpunk’s cruelty, technological excess and squalor but none of its hard-earned wistfulness or serenity, its capacity to see transcendence in alleyway trash or the fizzle of a holographic adboard.

      The nastiness of the cyberpunk setting is supposed to contrast the humanity of the people trapped in it. If the people are awful too, it just becomes theater of cruelty.

      • Qibbish says:

        Hmm.. I’m no expert – I’ve read the Sprawl Trilogy (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive), and a smattering of short stories (Mirror Shades). That said, I can’t say I remember any depictions of hopefulness or serenity. In many ways, Gibson avoided making even explicit commentary.

        I’m a few minutes beyond the Prologue, so I can’t readily judge Ruiner’s tone yet, but nothing has struck me as an exaggeration of what I expected (save the frantic pace of the combat).

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Hm. It looks really stylish, but I have limited patience for that sort of “the world is shit and everyone is terrible” misanthropy… also why I don’t get on with most Rockstar games, especially GTA. Even the grimmest of tales usually have a glimmer of redeeming hope and humanity. That said I’m not sure that cyperpunk should automatically adhere to any one specific formula. Variety is good and I don’t see why you couldn’t, in theory, combine the stylings of cyberpunk with the themes of other genres, though it probably ceases to be “punk” at that point.

  2. Kollega says:

    I have to say, reading the linked review was interesting. I actually distinctly remember that an early trailer for this game was misanthropic and grimdark enough that it had – not an exaggeration – made me physically sick a little. And it’s reassuring to see that it was – at least if we take the experience of this reviewer – justified to a degree.

  3. racccoon says:

    Looks cool! thank god its on GOG…Steam sucks! lol

  4. KikYu0 says:

    Played 2-3 Hours.. fun little jewel – very addictive.

  5. DrJ3RK says:

    I’ll reserve a full opinion until I play it, but from the look of it, while fairly brutal, it’s nothing I wouldn’t expect from a darker-side-of-Cyberpunk work (whether that be book, game, movie, etc.) These worlds are always imagined in violent ways. From the mono-filament wires, to retractable claws, to numerous other street-samurai modifications for dismantling other human beings. As far as sexualization goes, look at many of the themes throughout Gibson’s books, Bladerunner, etc. Plenty of sex-workers, exotic dancers, etc. The whole concept of dystopian Cyberpunk is grit, decadence, living on the edges of oversized cities on the outskirts of corporate owned blocks. Hacking, drugs, sex, violence. It’s basically the whole point. I don’t see anything terrible in the videos I’ve watched. Sure some of the women are a bit chesty, but I don’t see anything that I don’t see in every day life now on a daily basis. I think it’s ok. There are plenty of anime games on Steam if we want to get worked up over something like that. This game to my so far untrained (with it) eye looks about spot on for the darker side of the genre. It also appears to have spot on mechanics akin to Hyper Light Drifter. I’m excited to grab it.

  6. CheeseFarts says:

    This game is arcade as fuck! If u have time to read some social commentary out of it, well, then u should probably change profession.

  7. Enko says:

    Loving the game so far. Fresh, fun, but a bit heavy on the difficulty.

    I can smell a jaded soul from a light-year away. Regardless of their literary talents.