Comparing Regions of Ruin by Vox Games to other titles isn’t something that I typically do, because who’s to say the reader knows about or played the game being compared to? However, I’m going to make an exception for Regions of Ruin and tell readers that at first the art and play style reminded me of the Kingdoms games. The retro graphics, the side-scrolling exploration, and combat mechanics looked similar. True confession – I didn’t enjoy Kingdom much. It was one-dimensional and lacked the depth and focus to entice me to keep playing. The reason for my making an exception in comparing one game to another is to make a point: For anyone that at first glance thought that Regions of Ruin was a clone of any other game, I would like to dispel that notion.
Regions is deceptively complex with many compelling elements like crafting, town building, and equipment upgrading and that blends game genres like role-playing, action, and sim with a little resource management and NPC recruitment thrown in. Even so, all of the disparate blending doesn’t overwhelm. There isn’t any confusion in what to do or how to go about it. Within a few minutes of starting I had choices in places to go and quests to complete. providing me with ample player agency. I particularly like that each foray out from base was instanced because it lent itself to being played in chunks. Leaving the base level brings up a map and allows for a choice on what to tackle next and I appreciated that ability to choose.
Few things are better from a player standpoint than finding a game that compels, even more so when expectations are low. Regions of Ruin was a great example of this type of surprise. Is it perfect? No, it isn’t perfect, but it checks many of the boxes. One of the drawbacks to the pixel art style is that Vox Games chose to develop in is that the size of the pixels can obscure, overlap, or disguise other pixels which makes it easy to miss details needed for gameplay. It didn’t overly hinder anything, it just made it difficult to discern certain features. Honestly, my comments on the graphics is me being extremely nit-picky; when considering all the game’s aspects it barely ranks.
Regions of Ruin is an enjoyable and compelling mix of role-playing, exploration, city-building, and crafting (and more) done right. It’s easy to pick up and play and varied enough in it’s execution to keep it interesting. It’s fun and easy to recommend.