It seems like I hear of games made by former Blizzard employees more and more these days, and I certainly welcome that trend to keep on going if it leads to more neat little games like Rack n’ Ruin. Developed by Lifespark Entertainment and directed by former Blizzard artist Tyler Hunter, Rack n’ Ruin is a top-down action adventure game that’s completely hand drawn and is a little bit Binding of Issac and a little bit Diablo.
Rack n’ Ruin may not be a brand new concept in itself, but it does a lot of interesting things from what I played in the very early release. You can run around a fully explorable environment and if you have a keen enough eye, you can find how to corrupt the zone and change up not only the color palette, but the enemies that you’ll find shambling around.
The big eye-catcher of Rack n’ Ruin is obviously the art style. It’s big and cartoon-ish, but still sharp and disturbing in just the right ways. You play as a little demon wizard fella named Rack who is tasked with enslaving an entire planet instead of just blowing it up like he usually does. The enemies you’ll be fighting are anything from adorably creepy skeleton cat-guys to giant spider-legged titan heads that shoot lightning, bombs, and all sorts of nonsense.
The main things you’ll be doing in Rack n’ Ruin is exploring, solving puzzles in dungeons, and battling the bosses you’ll find afterwards. The puzzles are surprisingly challenging and the bosses require a certain finesse with your keyboard a’la The Binding of Issac’s more bullet-helly bosses.
With a bunch of bad guys to kill, what kind of game wouldn’t give you a bunch of abilities and items to kill them with? You can use whatever style you’d like with Rack n’ Ruin: lightning chains between bad guys, swiping area of effect attacks, or a more standard fireball ability as well as all sorts of weird little items. There are little eyeballs that follow you around and attack targets and fire bombs that make quick work of most baddies as long as you have the timing.
Rack n’ Ruin seems really cool. Being a big-time fan of The Binding of Issac as well as all things RPG, I felt right at home as soon as I launched the game and was dropped into a forest, moving boxes around and blowing up blobs of slime with my l33t fireball aiming skills. Rack n’ Ruin is definitely early on in its life and I can say with confidence that I’ll be keeping two very enthusiastic eyes on it in the future as it nears its actual release on PC and Mac, with iOS and Android coming after.