Ronin – First impression

We already talked about Ronin. The demo, to be more specific. And now we have the full version released, available on Steam. In the demo we saw the gameplay and how the levels are made, but what does the full game have and is it as good as the demo promises?

To everyone who did not read our review on the demo, Ronin is 2D platformer with pixel graphics, similar to the style of “Gunpoint”. You are, well … someone with a sword. Maybe “the” Ronin. In fact, the story doesn’t really tell you much at the beginning, all you know is your target. The first target sits on a photo with a few people and it’s clear pretty soonm that you aim at all of them on the picture. Step by step you learn more of the story, but I haven’t played through it yet, so I cannot tell much about the story for now. But about the gameplay …
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Which is like in the demo. That is not bad at all. I like “Stealth-2D”-games and the feature with the time freezing is really cool. To explain that a look at the screenshots will help. When in combat or by pushing a button the game freezes. You can see the next action of your enemies through a red laser (their “aiming”). They mostly point directly at you, so your next step has to be out of their gun-range. So you select the point your hero has to jump to evade a shot in the head (one shot means dead). After your hero jumped and every enemy shot or slashed with their blades or whatever they want to do to make your day horrible, the game freezes again and you have to plan your next step. What sounds rather boring and repetitive at first is actually quite challenging. Because just by jumping around you won’t defeat your enemies. So you have to be close to them to have the “killing”-option. But killing somebody takes one round and if someone is aiming at you, you’re dead if you stay there. Later on you get more gadgets, like sword-throwing, teleport or shuriken-throw but also your enemies get upgrades with samurais or rifles. After the first levels the game really gets difficult, but never unfair. You die quite often in the first rounds, but not too much to be frustrated. This system of tactic is not that much used in gaming and because of that really enjoyable.
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To make your aiming at jumps and running in general easier, I suggest playing on a controller. Keyboard is also possible, but rather complicated compared to a controller, mostly because the jumping is made for a joystick. And you jump a lot in this game!
Besides that, I had a few problems with jumping, throwing a rope and getting away from it like I want. Also when you tackle someone, the length of your jump is shorten a lot, which should be marked. I had some moments where I aimed my jump perfectly (you see where you jump), but I hid something and stopped there – dead. So there should be a symbol or just an adjustment of the jumping-graph in those cases. Nevertheless, the gameplay is good. Easy to learn, hard to master.
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That’s it for the first impression of “Ronin”. If you like 2D-games like “Mark of the Ninja”, you won’t regret buying “Ronin”. If you haven’t played any of those or if you are not sure if you’ll like Ronin, the demo is linked here: http://teedoubleu.itch.io/ronin

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