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Simulated subjugation sandbox Ruinarch enters early access

Simulated doom and gloom.

Some people just want to set the world on fire. Or drown it, or cover it in goblins, or unleash ruinous magicks upon the land. Such is Ruinarch, a villainous fantasy sandbox that lets you meddle in the meticulously-modeled lives of tiny hapless townsfolk. Released earlier this week on Steam early access, your devilish dabblings can be found at a discount until this coming Tuesday

If Dungeon Keeper let you rule over a tiny slice of evil, then Ruinarch hopes to deliver an entire world to crush under your evil, massive thumb.

Ruinarch appears to be Dwarf Fortress or Rimworld for evil bastards, putting you in the spiked boots of an evil overlord watching over a simulated fantasy sandbox. Picking from one of several tyrant archetypes, you'll be given a host of tools to mess with your hapless minions - whether that's spreading dangerous artifacts throughout the world, summoning demons in the woods, or flat-out just hurling meteors at towns.

A "living roadmap" on the game's Steam page lists plans to flesh out your meddling with powerful artifacts, goblins, and RTS-style base building. But the devs also want to give the world a chance to fight back, adding factions and heroes who'll push against you. Eventually, they'd like to spruce up the game's graphics, add mod support, and bring in a whole lotta Dwarves. Those are all equally important, yes.

Right now, though, the devs reckon Ruinarch is "fully playable", but figure the world generation won't be "fully entertaining" until they've added enough elements to consistently guarantee weird, entertaining scenarios. To alleviate that, the current version comes with five bespoke scenarios, with more to come at each development milestone.

Maccima reckon they'll be in early access for about a year, and will up the price a tad once the game hits 1.0. Until then, Ruinarch is available on Steam with a 10% discount 'til Tuesday, for £13.94/€15.11/$17.99.

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Natalie Clayton

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