Roguelike games are a subgenre of role-playing games that are looked at as dungeon crawlers. They have mostly generated levels with turn-based gameplay. And they have a permeant death to them that can make a lot of players put off by such mechanics. These kinds of games tend to lean on the steep learning curves with a lot of trial and error. This is exactly what Humble Games brings to the table with their new Ring of Pain card game.
The difficulty of this game is brought to light with each of the decisions you make. Unlike other role-playing games, this has nothing to do with combat reflexes or your quick wit to escape danger. It literally scales the difficulty through every decision you make getting through the dungeon. For me, one of the best parts of this game is that each session is brand new with the random cards shuffled into the game and you never feel like you’re playing the same game twice.
The artistic design of each card is mesmerizing as they are all arranged to be fully visible at the beginning of each round of your adventure. This way there are no surprises, and you get to visualize and strategize your dungeon route accordingly. As you progress through the dungeon, you will gather equipment and potions along the way. These items are vital to your survival. One of the pet peeves I do have with Ring of Pain is the inventory space or lack thereof. I found out that your inventory is extremely limited as you can only hold one item per slot.
There are combos and synergies thankfully; that will help you with the inventory issues that will be a great help to you on your conquests. However, there is a lot of trial and error with every journey. Luckily over time, you will build up your inventory with each dungeon completion or death, since you get to keep all equipment you gather along your path.
Ring of Pain has over 115+ items and more than 40+ creatures that I have discovered so far in this game. Every creature I have noticed has a unique style and actions. The developer gave this a lot of thought when they designed each one. The game is also noticeably short compared to all other role-playing games which could be a great asset for those who only have a little bit of time to kill in their busy day. If you do not perish and make it all the way through the dungeon it took me about 45 minutes to a little over an hour to complete.
I am not going to lie though. I did succumb to the Ring of Pain multiple times while trying to learn the game and figure out the right way to play. This allowed me to play multiple games in that first 45 minutes. I did however get to start working on my card deck of equipment that I could use in other adventures. I have completed the dungeon a few times now and have encountered several different endings.
Ring of Pain is an artistically designed card game with the Roguelike style role-playing game that is fun to learn, a blast to try but unbelievably hard to succeed in. If you love this type of game as I do, then you must get this game. It is a blast and I wish these cards were available to purchase in the real world. If you are unfamiliar with it, then I would suggest trying the demo and seeing what this new world has to offer. Ring of Pain is being released on PC through the Humble Store and Steam, and for the Nintendo Switch on October 15. At the time of this review, no purchasing cost has been made available.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Ring of Pain for PC provided by Twice Different, Humble Games, and Humble Bundle.