You enter the crumbling remains of a once-great civilization. With powerful spells in hand, your mission is to fight your way to the center of this labyrinth and expel the evil that has corrupted and soured this place. Sounds easy, right?
Maybe not. Lone Ruin is the latest indie roguelike to hit the market, and it was developed by Cuddle Monster Games, the creators of Hell is Other Demons. Unlike some roguelikes, Lone Ruin has a few ways to make each run more fun and less of a test of patience, and that’s what we are here to share with you today. So equip your favorite spells, get ready for battle, and let’s get started!
Don’t Be Ashamed of the Difficulty Setting
Lone Ruin is unique among roguelikes in that it actually has difficulty options. From the start screen, you can set up your experience to be “Easy”, “Medium”, or “Hard”. Most roguelikes just throw you to the wolves and hope you can figure it out, which is why so many people bounce off of roguelikes to go play something less taxing.
So, if you’re not particularly a fan of roguelikes but you want to give Lone Ruin a shot, don’t be afraid to jump in on easy mode. It might be just enough difficulty to make the game fun without being frustrating. If it’s not tough enough, you can always raise the difficulty on your next run.
Try All the Spells
Part of the fun of Lone Ruin is trying out all of the different spells and upgrade paths to see which ones work the best together. However, you might get comfortable with just a handful of spells and want to do all your runs with these over, and over again. That’s… definitely one way to play, but we would say you’re missing out.
There is so much to experience in Lone Ruin, and you’re really limiting yourself if you stay stuck in your ways. Give each spell a try, and then try different combos. With enough experimentation, you might find the ultimate combo that will allow you to coast all the way to the final boss!
Take Survival Mode for a Spin
Aside from the primary campaign, Lone Ruin also has a timed, wave-based Survival Mode for you to enjoy. This mode changes up the gameplay formula and adds extra challenge (as if the main game wasn’t challenging enough), and it’s a great diversion if you’re getting burned out on the endless runs of the campaign.
Survival Mode is also a great way to test and sharpen your skills. You’ll obtain new spells and upgrades as you blast through waves of enemies, but you won’t have much choice in what you end up with. This causes you to improvise and alter your playstyle on the fly, which will be a big helpful skill in the campaign when they drop those new enemies on you. Or boss fights, those can really mess you up.
Know Which Path to Choose
Each room in Lone Ruin will have two options after you defeat every enemy within. These two options come in the form of two doors, each of which will have a different possible spell, accessory, or other benefit for you if you survive it. Choosing which path to take will get tricky, especially as you get close to the end of the game. However, if you take a second to breathe and think about what you really need, making that decision will be easier.
For instance, it’s always a good idea to go for a spell upgrade, but if you have an option for a particularly helpful accessory, you should definitely go for that. Accessories like the Ankh can bring you back to life after you die, effectively giving you two chances to make it to the end. In our experience, it’s usually not worth going to treasure rooms or the shop. Extra gold doesn’t mean much if you die, and the shop doesn’t usually have many good options, or what they do have is too expensive. Try to stick to spells and accessories, and you should be good.
Finally, Lone Ruin gives you several options to pick from when you obtain a spell upgrade. You’ll be able to improve a spell’s AoE, power, or even add an effect to it in some cases. How you choose to upgrade spells will depend on your playstyle, but we would recommend lowering cooldown time whenever it is an option.
Having less time in between spell uses can save you in many situations, so we think that cooldowns might be the most important upgrades for any spells in the game.