8.5
Our overall verdict "Excellent"

Two weeks ago a bold little indie game called Runic Rampage dropped. I was fortunate enough to get a media pre-release copy, of which I put together a gameplay video for our new Youtube channel.

Runic Rampage is a top down dungeon brawler /  action RPG, with light exploration mechanics. The game has you play as a ballsy little Dwarf with a big ass axe, in pursuit of an old relic to help save his dying village.

Runic Rampage has a familiar look and feel to it, reminiscent of Diablo 3 even. And though it’s some-what lacking in innovation overall, it makes up for it with great environments and a tight little combat system.

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There are a bunch of different moves you can execute, a standard attack, an uppercut, a spinning attack and a power smash – as well as having the ability to dash. This system is efficiently managed by two buttons, although coming back to the game after a day, It can be difficult to remember how to perform certain moves. Eg. to perform the uppercut, you press A then B, in quick succession. To spin attack you hit A, then B, B , B.  Easy enough to get used to after a few sessions though.

The combat system can get little repetitive, but works. Although moves like the power smash which you must charge, often seemed like more trouble than it was worth. It never quite seemed to output high enough damage for the increased risk of using it. Another improvement I would like to have seen is a way to chain the dash with attacks. It just seems like it should be possible. Instead you dash around then abruptly stop and perform one of said attacks – which feels a little clunky.

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In addition to this nifty little melee attack system we have the ability to use and level up skills. Skills are found scattered throughout dungeons and have a one time use. They come in slightly different flavours, notably Fire and Ice, and have short but powerful effects. Ice for example will freeze enemies, letting you smash their heads in relentlessly.

Dungeons are themed to specific environments and have several sub-levels of procedurally generated maps. The dungeons are typically rather short and exploration is limited to finding a hidden shrine (and sometimes some old pots). But that just gives you plenty of time to focus on what is important, kicking ass and smashing heads. And that is where Runic Rampage shines.

The game’s name itself is an instruction on gameplay. Fast paced combat with a little bit of strategy sprinkled on top. After vigorously head smashing your way through an act, you will encounter a cut scene and a boss. This is well thought out and challenging event which required some fast thinking and finger dexterity.

Dungeon themes are nicely contrasted from each other, giving a convincing sensation of movement and travel through the game world.

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If you are a fan of RPG’s but prefer to focus less on boring inventory management and more on smashing skeleton heads, and dealing with waves of enemies – this game is likely a good investment. And though I received this copy for review purposes, I will most certainly continue playing to the end!

A solid indie package with substantial content, dancing on the line of AAA aesthetics, linked together by a quaint story about Dwarfs and heroic adventures. Well worth a look for the very modest price tag.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/615010/Runic_Rampage/