Review – Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages an “Epic Indie Space Shooter RPG”

Review – Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages an “Epic Indie Space Shooter RPG”
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Platforms:

Windows PC, Steam

Game Name:

Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages

Developer(s):

Triple-B-Titles

Genre(s):

Action RPG, Space shooter

Release Date:

July 9th, 2013

Ring Runner – Developer Summary:

Trek across the universe in a 30 hour long story-driven campaign based on a companion Sci Fi novel, or challenge 6 scenarios alone, cooperatively, or competitively through local or online multiplayer.

Choose from 60 customizable hulls that act as templates for 400+ wildly-varied skills. Level layouts, backgrounds, and AI enemies are all procedurally generated, yielding billions of challenges.

Ring Runner – What We Think:

Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is a top-down space shooter with a tremendous amount of content and depth. The game boasts a sizable campaign coupled with a strong multiplayer offering with a slew of options for game types and challenges. Variety is certainly the greatest strength behind Ring Runner but how do all of its myriad facets come together?

The campaign of Ring Runner opens with a short cutscene revealing that your character has just awoken from a clandestine surgery with a chunk of memories missing and a humorous AI called Nero in their place. Nero will be your sidekick throughout the campaign, guiding you through your missions and providing technical information on the enormous quantity of tools and weapons that you’ll encounter on your travels.

Tutorial By Fire

Nero joins you as you undertake a behemoth of a tutorial that spans several hours of gameplay and features a fairly epic plotline all of its own. You’ll find yourself embroiled in a war between two factions struggling over scrap. You’ll battle in a gladiatorial arena, conduct stealth missions and lead fleets in immense clashes while meeting surprisingly interesting characters along the way (considering that they’re voiced entirely through text dialogue). All of this is packed into the tutorial alone.

Ring Runner 1

This sizable introduction to the game doesn’t just offer an enjoyable story; it also provides comprehensive information regarding each of the main ship “archetypes” and the gameplay of Ring Runner. The game is based on the twin stick shooter genre but it is packed with RPG mechanics.

The ship types are impressively varied, ranging from short range melee type vessels with weapons designed to grapple and swing enemy ships into debris to long range missile ships with poor mobility but an arsenal of heavy weaponry.

The tutorial is impressively designed. I’ve rarely been entertained by a thirty minute tutorial let alone one that goes on for several hours. One drawback, however, is that this lengthy introduction may alienate some players. There is an option to skip the tutorial but the game makes it clear that this isn’t recommended (and for good reasons). Some players may set the game aside before the tutorial concludes and miss out on the more open-world aspects of Ring Runner. Like Midgar in Final Fantasy 7, Ring Runner’s tutorial hints at a much larger world waiting beyond its borders.

The Bounty Of Galaxies

If you push through the introductory missions, which deny you access to features such as the shop, hangar and world map, you’ll find an explosion of content waiting. Access to the hanger opens up countless options as you finally get the chance to switch vessels at will.

You can also modify any ship in the game by changing out parts. The potential for customization here is immense; you can alter everything from the propulsion systems to main weapons. You can even switch out passive systems that alter each individual weapon installed on your ship.

Ring Runner 2

In addition to your hangar bay you also have access to a laboratory where you can research for new equipment. This research takes place in real-time, meaning that you’ll have to wait for some improvements but you can invest in-game currency to expedite the process. You can even rent out your lab, suspending your ability to research, in order to earn money.

Ship Shape

All of this complexity and depth would go to waste if the piloting was dull and thankfully it’s far from it. Each type of ship boasts a dramatically different play style and it takes some practice to master all of the tricks available. Then you can start mixing and matching these abilities in the hanger by swapping out different ship components.

The modes of play are also fairly diverse. Missions range from standard dogfights to races, stealth operations in cloaked ships to massive assaults on bases with large fleets backing you up. There is enough variety on offer to keep things interesting from mission to mission and when you exhaust all of these possibilities you can check out the impressive multiplayer options.

Ring Runner 3

The story serves as a strong backbone to Ring Runner with some great writing that injects a much need sense of humour to the game. Nero, in particular, makes for a superb character and his reliance on your intake of sugar (most notably peanut butter crunchies or “PBCs”) for a power source is an amusing plot point that keeps recurring throughout the game.

Starry Eyed

The visuals of Ring Runner are eye-catching for a top-down shooter. Backgrounds range from massive ringed gas giants to asteroid fields and nebulae.

The music is also appealing (if somewhat restrained) and there is a strong variety of tracks to keep things interesting on your journeys through the universe.

Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is a superb space exploration and combat game that neatly ties together conventions from the twin-stick shooter and action RPG genres. The vast tutorial may be a little too drawn out but the sharp writing and enjoyable variety of gameplay keeps things interesting until your options open up.

Put a Ring On It

When you do finally have access to the world of Ring Runner you’ll have plenty to do, from researching new tech in the lab to refitting your ships to perfection. Ring Runner is an enjoyable and deep twin stick shooter/action RPG that has something for any sci-fi fan looking for a new experience.

Ring Runner – Official Site

Get Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages on Steam

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Watch the official launch trailer for Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages

Kit Goodliffe

Kit is a freelance writer specialising in gaming, film and digital media. His passion for games began at a very young age and has only grown since then. Kit is IGR's U.K. correspondent.

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