I have a love/hate relationship with sci-fi as a genre. For every Moon, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or Mass Effect there are dozens of horrid entries along the line of Santa Claus Conquers The Martians. I want cleve sci-fi. I want funny sci-fi. I want sci-fi that doesn’t make me cringe and regret the fact that I love space, technology and aliens.
Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is sci-fi done right. This quirky mix of arcade space combat and RPG isn’t afraid to forge its own destiny. It doesn’t rely on genre conventions or borrowing from established franchises. It’s fueled by quick wit, clever gameplay, and peanut butter cups.
Lots of peanut butter cups.
You wake up on the operating table, as the ship around them is rocking from a violent attack. After a big night out you decided some AI augmentation was on the cards, as explained by the comdey genius of your new AI impant. No time for detailed analysis however, you need to get the hell out of there before the entire vessel explodes. You steal a ship and blast your way through a trench run that makes Luke Skywalker look like an amatuer. It also serves as a neat tutorial that doesn’t sacrifice exciting story beats for hand-holding.
A minimalistic HUD across the top-down view ensures that combat is the main focus point in Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages, which is awesome when it comes to immersion, but can cause issues when trying to manage your systems.
Developer: Triple B Titles
Genre: Space combat / RPG
While a small green dot indicates the location of your next objective waypoint, critical system information such as shields, heat and energy are tucked away to the furtherst sides of the screen. That’s all well and good while exploring space, but when you’ve got missiles coming at your face, it becomes hard to keep an eye on your systems.
That small gripe doesn’t detract from the exciting combat, which combines a boatload of awesome weapons with a tonne of ships, each with their own customisable features that change the way they operate in space completely.
That’s where Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages gets into the RPG territory. As you unlock new ships and upgrades, a world of opportunity opens as you pick your ship, slot in some weapons and see how it handles in the wild. It’s like building a car in Forza, but with ultra-powered space ships and that’s awesome!
When it comes to multiplayer, Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages isn’t exactly ready yet. Unfortunately the mode is locked out until you reach a certain point in the single-player campaign. That’s annoying, especially if you’re waiting for friends to reach the same point so you can play together. Regardless, a bunch of features are still in development, including a MOBA like mode, so we’re not going to be factoring it into this review.
What I will factor in however is pacing. I was loving Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages a lot. In fact, I demanded that the Pixels for Breakfast staff play it immediately, so they could bask in the glorious gameplay with me. Then I hit the wall, an arena stage that drags on, and on, and on, and on.
This particular point in the campaign is so unnecessary, is so long, and results in the smallest progression of story, that I was worn out by the time I finished it. It didn’t help that I died a whole bunch, but once it was completed, I refused to play the game for an entire week.
That one section aside, Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages is a fantastic experience. It’s full of witty writing, exciting combat, great customisation and more importantly, solid gameplay.