Rack N Ruin Cover
Title Rack N Ruin
Developer LifeSpark Entertainment
Publisher LifeSpark Entertainment
Release Date March 31st, 2015
Genre Adventure / Shmup
Platform PS4
Age Rating Teen
Official Website

When I first saw Rack N Ruin I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it. At first glance it looks like an adventure game in vein of a classic Zelda adventure, but there are tons of bullets flying around. Which made me wonder – exactly what kind of game is this? Is it an adventure game, or a SHMUP? So I decided to check it out on the PS4. Did it turn out to be something new and great or fail to do either genre justice? Let’s find out.

The story revolves a little Demon named Rack who is a seed of destruction. Instead of enslaving worlds for his master, he usually ends up blowing them up into tiny asteroids. He is given one final chance by his master to enslave a world. If he fails, he will be thrown into the void forever. Yet even as he travels to the world of Rath, he knows he will not follow his master’s instructions. Yea, the story is pretty simple, but it gets the job done. It also has some rather humorous moments of Rack interacting with the natives.

Rack N Ruin | Dungeon

Graphically speaking this game looks fantastic. Lots of hand drawn art gives it a very fairy tale look. Rack and all of the enemies he encounters are all drawn and animated with care, making the overall experience a joy to took at. The boss monsters are pretty impressive as well. The very first boss you fight is a dragon who kinda looks like Puff the Magic Dragon on steroids, and he will give you a run for your money. There are also some hand drawn portraits of the NPCs and shopkeeper that are displayed as you talk to them, which add to the overall feel.

Another bright spot in this game is the music. I really enjoyed the soundtrack. Lots of great upbeat tunes to explore the many areas in the game. These will change as you enter a new area or dungeons. It is a good thing these tunes are great cause you will hear them a lot wondering around. The sound effects stand out from other titles I’ve played. They give the game a bit more character and really draw you into this world.

Now it’s time to talk about the gameplay. This is where things start to go a bit south. First off, this is an open world game. Which I have no problem with, but the problem here lies in the fact that they don’t give you any indication of which way to go at all. Now some would say “well, that’s part of the experience to explore the map”. I totally get that, but when the enemies constantly respawn it makes this more of a chore than fun. Though since the enemies do drop items and cash, this can be helpful at times, but most of the time you are frustrated trying to find your way.

Rack N Ruin |  World

On the bright side the combat can be very fun at times. Rack use two different things at one time, one of these is his equipped weapon. Some of these will be melee while others are ranged. The other is an item, of which there are many different types found in the game. Some will give extra speed, replenish health and magic, and other very helpful effects. Some items will be very helpful in defeating certain types of enemies. Like if a huge knight is chasing you, you may wanna use the item that works like land mines. You will have to use a bit of trial and error to see what works best.

You will come across many dungeons throughout your adventure. These areas always end with a bad-ass boss monster. These monsters will test your skills each time you encounter one. The dungeon design is pretty much what you expect, and are filled with puzzles and some secrets to find as well. The puzzles are not that difficult and mostly consist of block puzzles.

Rack N Ruin | Convo

My biggest complaint with combat is that Rack simply moves too slowly. Remember how I said he was well animated? Well, that comes at a price of speed apparently. When there are a lot of enemies on the screen or the bullets are flying all over the place, it is very difficult to dodge attacks. The developers tried to offset this by giving you a shield, and while it does help, it’s really not enough. There is an item that increases your movement speed for a short time, luckily. These types of item are very welcom and do help this problem out a whole lot.

While I will not say Rack N Ruin is a bad game, it definitely needs some more polish. The movement speed is a problem and respawning enemies make exploring levels a chore rather than fun. However, if you are a fan of these types of games and really like a bit old school flair, these things will probably not bother you at all. It took me somewhere between 6 and 8 hours to complete the game, and there is a trophy for doing it in under 2 hours, but good luck with that. While I cannot say this one is for everyone, there are folks out there that will likely enjoy this even at the $14.99 price tag.

Review Score

Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.

Steve Baltimore
Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.