So here we are, another action-adventure/Metroidvania game on the Nintendo Switch. In a saturated genre, Lost Ruins comes with an interesting anime aesthetic, however will this be enough to stand out from the crowd?
As is often an anime trope, you play as a schoolgirl simply known as ‘Heroine’, who begins Lost Ruins in a “who am I/what year is it/what’s happening” fog of confusion. There are a couple of twists and turns throughout the story, which is told via dialogue boxes and pop-up static character sprites, but ultimately the story is almost so generic that it doesn’t really have any bearing on the gameplay experience at all. But that can be a good thing; just letting us get on with concentrating on the gameplay without any convoluted plot lines to distract the player.
The gameplay in Lost Ruins is pretty standard for an action-adventure/Metroidvania title, but has more of an emphasis on survival and resource management. Unlike most other games in the genre, when you die and respawn, your health doesn’t regenerate, nor does it regenerate when you save or pass checkpoints. This feels particularly punishing but teaches you to be resourceful, in similar fashion to old-school survival horror games.
Lost Ruins looks quite attractive with its pixel art-meets-anime style, and the sprites pop off the screen. It does look a bit like a Game Boy Advance game but that doesn’t take away from what is obviously a carefully crafted aesthetic.
- No-frills story
- Interesting mix of action-adventure and survival horror game mechanics
- Attractive and unique art direction
Unfortunately, the combat in Lost Ruins gets frustrating pretty quickly. You begin with a simple sword, for which the combat animation is incredibly slow. Heroine takes a good while to lumber her sword up and then down onto a baddie’s head which leads to a lot of annoying deaths (or at least it did for me). Attack speed can be increased with power-ups but it feels like the developers made the baseline extremely low so as to provide a greater exponential increase in speed over time, and sadly it just makes the early parts of the game clunky and tiresome.
While Lost Ruins looks pretty good, it is often difficult to differentiate between items that are interactive/collectible and the background. The background is pixelated (attractively so) but so are many of the items, meaning I was often alerted to pick-up items only by the ‘pick up’ prompt that appeared on screen rather than noticing the item itself.
Lastly, and in contrast to its appearance, the soundtrack and sound effects are pretty forgettable. I’ve said before that the quality of an indie game’s soundtrack is measured by how many catchy tunes stay in your head when not playing the game, however in Lost Ruins, nothing really stood out for me sadly.
- Unnecessarily slow combat
- Most collectable items merge into the background
- Fairly basic and rudimentary soundtrack and sound effects
Final Score: 6/10
Lost Ruins is a pleasant gameplay experience but, apart from the art style, it all feels pretty formulaic. There are multiple endings and optional side quests which just about justify its price, but ultimately, I have played many other games in the genre which provide a lot more inventiveness and content compared to what is on offer in Lost Ruins.
Thank you for checking out our Lost Ruins Switch review, thank you to DANGEN Entertainment for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: