Sneak up on enemies, complete objectives and become the most renowned ninja there is
- Fullscreen and touchscreen compatibility
- Side-scrolling, classic arcade gameplay
- Three complex levels to complete
- Turn-based combat adds to stealthy setting
- Sneak up on enemies from above, or jump on them to stun them for an easy kill
- Multiple kill mechanics
- Climb and hang off walls and ceilings like a ninja
- Objective-based gameplay keeps you focused
- Free to download
- Rather short, even for a demo version
- Turn-based combat can make dodging attacks simple
Ronin is a free arcade-style, murder simulator game for PC, in which Ronin, a ninja-esque character, must battle his way through three highly complex and difficult levels using an expanding arsenal of unique weaponry. It is currently only in its demo version. A full version is expected in the near future.
How to Play
Ronin feels like an old-school arcade game from the outset. Layouts are simple, with a lateral view of corridors facilitating a side-scrolling style of play. Graphics resemble early arcade titles, 16-bit at best. In no way am I calling this a bad thing. On the contrary, like so many indie titles, the emphasis is not on its appearance, but on the gameplay that goes along with it. From the main menu, the Options allows you to edit fullscreen and touchscreen options for a more immersive playing experience.
The main objective of the game is to guide Ronin, a man with somewhat superhuman, ninja-like abilities through a series of rooms, survive using whatever weapons are at your disposal, and sneak your way through multiple enemies. (This usually involves killing them). The game offers three increasingly complex and difficult levels to complete, each of which has an assortment of objectives, enemies, and an end-of-level boss to defeat.
Controls and UI
Ronin's controls are very basic. The user interface contains your objectives in the top left, your score, your items and your turn marker. Movement uses an 'asdw' keyboard style to move left and right, and a click and release mechanism for jumping. Clicking is also used for interacting with objects e.g. when hacking computers, using elevators, and executing an enemy. When you click the pause button in the bottom right, you can use these keys for looking around the room in all four directions.
Gameplay Features and Combat
The game plays to its strengths by creating a clandestine atmosphere. Gameplay is turn-based, meaning whatever action you take, you will have to be prepared for a response. Luckily, Ronin is great at sneaking around. Jumping in this game allows Ronin to adhere to walls, jump through windows, and other mechanics. Jumping on to an enemy will stun them. This will allow you to deliver the finishing blow and earn some points. Ronin can also use the shadows to his advantage and will remain invisible while here. Killing animations are diverse, including hanging, back-stabbing and many more.
Combat in the game is equally suited to the stealthy setting. Enemies are always men in suits, some higher priority targets than others. Most of them are armed, so sneak attacks are favored. For actions such as gunfire, the bullet path will be displayed using a red line. While not that difficult to avoid at first, the game emphasizes atmosphere over difficulty. Later levels challenge the player to dodge multiple bullet trajectories, making its design well suited to gradual increases in difficulty. Clicking the arrow at the bottom right or completing an action like jumping will allow the opponent to respond. Ronin has more than his sword and his wall-hugging skills. Other tools such as a grappling hook let him flank and sneak up on enemies even more easily. I'll leave it to the player to discover the remainder of his arsenal.
As a demo version, the game is not packed with content. However, the gameplay you are offered is more than sufficient. The turn-based gameplay is refreshing, and is an excellent mechanic for a game focused on precision, planning and stealth. While this reduces the reactive nature of the game, thereby reducing its difficulty, the game is still highly enjoyable. The music perfectly sets the mood for you to sneak through buildings, break through windows, ride elevators and wreak havoc on unassuming businessmen. Objectives keep you focused on your task and are never too challenging. The game offers a steady stream of new content and mechanics to keep you interested. Overall, it's an excellent game and I look forward very much to the full version. Well worth downloading.