Ruiner is a neon-bright swords and guns game that will brook no blunders

Brian Crecente

Kill Kill Kill DIE DIE DIE Kuba Stylinski is pretty good at Ruiner. He can twitch-zip his way between enemies using the right mouse click dash, taking down the bad guys with his swords. He pops up the shield at just the right time and sprays gunfire as he slides around the screen, avoiding incoming fire. Where most people can't beat the Ruiner demo at PAX East, and those who can take an hour or so, Stylinski can usually demolish the final boss and wrap up the demo in 12 minutes flat. I watch another PAX-goer play the game; he gives up after a few minutes and several deaths.

"That game sucks," he mutters to his friends as he walks off. "I'm doing everything right and I keep dying. " Ruiner, a neon-bright, unforgivably difficult isometric action game set in a Bangkok-inspired future city, doesn't suck, but it won't put up with players who do. Stylinski's trick of wrapping up a demo in the dozen minutes it takes most people to realize they're not up to the task is made possible by the fact that he helped make the game. Reikon Games was founded by Stylinski and three others, all Polish developers with backgrounds at heavy-hitting studios.

He spent years at CD Projekt Red and Techland before deciding to team up with friends to do their own thing. "I worked on three Witcher games and at Techland on two zombie games," Stylinski said. "It was a great experience and I learned everything I know about making games there. "But after almost nine years, it was time for me to make something on my own. " After forming the studio, the developers sat around spitballing ideas until they came up with the concept for Ruiner, a game inspired by anime like Ghost in the Shell and Akira and games like Hotline Miami.

The game takes place in 2091 in a cyberpunk metropolis called Rengkok. The future has embraced Oculus-Rift-like virtual reality, but it is so advanced now that wearing the full helmet rig doesn't just deliver sights and sounds to the user, it can also deliver emotions. Heaven, the monopolistic corporation that owns and creates the future VR, creates an underground black market for the rigs. The market delivers up the emotions of unspeakable horrors to the rich by kidnapping people and subjecting them to all sorts of things. "Wealthy people who want to feel much stronger emotions like pain or death can feel what that's like in virtual reality," Stylinski said.

"Heaven starts attacking people from the street, enclosing them…

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