Chapter One: Introduction
Ruins Seeker is a lewd action-RPG available on Steam. To experience the full game (with adult content), the Steam version must be patched. The Ruins Seeker Patch can be found on Kagura Games’ website under “Patches”. I will only be discussing the patched version of the game.
It took me about seven hours to complete the game, with some grinding. Completionists should expect to play for ten or more hours.
I received a free copy of this game for review purposes — thanks Kagura Games!
Chapter Two: Gameplay (4/5★)
Section One: Overview
On quest to remove her curse, Quem pursues a “shadowy monster” in “the deepest part” of the “uncharted dungeon, Heaven’s Ladder.” Despite having a “curse to solve”, Quem finds herself “handling other people’s problems” along the way. But each of these “problems” brings her deeper into Heaven’s Ladder — and thusly, closer to the shadowy monster “shrouded in mystery.”
Section Three: Combat
Combat encounters are fast-paced, typically lasting no more than seconds. Quem and her foes move quickly, dealing high damage to facilitate rapid exploration. Ascending Heaven’s Tower as part of the story or “Regular Dungeon” mode allows Quem to bring her full inventory, upgraded weapons and all. However, optional “Roguelike” mode only allows whatever “you pick up in the dungeon”.
In Roguelike mode, combat encounters last no more than seconds because that’s how easy it is to be defeated. With no pre-preparation allowed, Quem cannot bring appropriately leveled weaponry or spare “medicine” to mend herself during battle.
Quem may carry two weapons at a time; one for melee, and one for range. Ranged weapons offer the obvious benefit of safety, but their usage is limited by a slow recharge. Ranged attacks are ideal for disarming attacks and staying out reach from powerful foes. As enemies grow stronger, learning how to time melee attacks is crucial to completing the game.
There are a variety of weapons for differing playstyles. For example, daggers offer crazy attack speeds at the expense of range — but swords offer wide reaching attacks which allow more wiggle room when engaging melee focused foes. Bows typically offer controlled speed and damage output — but bombs provide enormous, explosive damage well suited for close-quarters builds.
Section Three: Controls
The game controls like a dream using the provided keyboard and mouse bindings. Most RPGMaker games I play feel clunky when they are controlled via mouse, but the gameplay and user-interface are effectively designed to accommodate the cursor.
Section Four: Exploration
Through out Heaven’s Tower are merchants, warriors, researchers and clerics with helpful services. Their usefulness is multiplied during Roguelike playthroughs, when healing and equipment are scant. Additionally, breakable objects provide minor healing and generous spending money.
Section Five: Balance
Pursuing the main campaign is a cakewalk. With the ability to carry hundreds of restorative items in her inventory, even the final boss is a trivial manner. But replaying sections of the Heaven’s Tower in “Roguelike Mode” offers challenging, sometimes even nerve wracking gameplay.
Collecting copies of weapons will “enhance” them, increasing their overall effectiveness. Enhancement allows weapons collected from the beginning of the game to maintain an edge as Quem enters increasingly difficult floors. Interestingly, this mechanic greatly reduced the variety of useable weapons in my playthrough. It wasn’t until I reached the very end of the game before I found equipment that was good enough to replace my 10+ Gladius and Raptor Bow.
In contrast, roguelike mode forces players to make the most of randomized loot. In this mode, the enhancement system shines as a variable to power-up weapons that may otherwise go unused.
I wonder why Nupuryu no sato didn’t just make a roguelike. I suppose keeping inventory is a boon for casual players — but I had the most fun experimenting with new weapons and counting every lost point of “HP”. I think the reason why “roguelike” mode doesn’t represent the base gameplay is to allow players to experience sexual content without repercussions.
Personally, I wish Nupuryu no sato gave players the option to play the story as a roguelike.
Chapter Three: Sexual Content (5/5★)
Section One: Content
I counted thirty sex-scenes from the “Cleansed Crystal Mirror” (AKA the “R18 Recollection Room”). Most sex-scenes are comprised of two animations; on one half of the screen, a pixel-art animation is played; and on the other half, a more detailed rendering is provided with cutaway views. Sex-scenes initiated by bosses use a single, full art animation instead.
As the dialogue is played, the sex-scenes automatically progress until completion.
I’m unsure if there are any consenting sex-scenes in the game. By the time I completed the game, I unlocked all but four sex-scenes — and I can say with confidence, Quem does not enjoy monster cream pies at any point. Boss enemies detail alternate, “bad endings” for Quem (as opposed to what’s normally “just” a few hours of tormenting impregnation).
Section Two: Implementation
When Quem is defeated by an enemy, a rape scene is played. After she is raped, her companion Vise recounts the aftermath — often something I would have rather seen than read a cursory recollection. Although subjecting Quem to rape isn’t discouraged, there is no profit to be had from sexual content. In Roguelike mode, witnessing a sex-scene means restarting from scratch.
Section Three: Interactivity
The sex-scenes are linear with skippable animations and dialogue.
Section Four: Quality
The sexual content is really hot — I am confident if you like interspecies non-consensual content, Quem’s sticky situations will become your sticky situations! The artwork and animations are lots of fun, and the dialogue is well written. Quem’s disdain for sexual advances is loud and clear, contributing to the believability of her traumatic experiences.
To note, there are a few scenes in the game that possess mosaic censorship. I doubt these scenes were “missed” by Kagura Games — likely, the original files were simply unobtainable.
Chapter Four: Story (3/5★)
Section One: Plot
Eager to make a name for herself, Quem enters a dungeon know as “Heaven’s Ladder”. But it doesn’t take long for her to learn why she was warned “not to get close to this dungeon”.
Inside, she meets “shadowy monster” seemingly expecting her arrival. The creature promptly places a curse on her, forcing her and all monsters around her to want to do lewd things. After a harrowing lesson in the curse’s effects, Quem begrudgingly leaves Heaven’s Ladder.
Outside “Vise, an information broker” waits for her.
Vise promises to help Quem “be famous as an adventurer and break the curse”. A contract is established between the unlikely duo, a contract to further each other’s. . . agendas. What awaits Quem in Heaven’s Ladder are her “Family’s Sins”, something so terrible it nearly led to the complete destruction of mankind.
At the highest spot of Heaven’s Tower awaits the reason why her father begged her to stay away.
Section Two: Characters
Quem and Vise have a sort of “love-hate” relationship. Throughout the game they bicker, but the bonds of friendship run deep. Their exchanges are a lot of fun to read, and I loved reading her dispensed encouragement towards Quem as she engages enemies.
I was surprised (actually, disappointed) not to see any romantic or sexual relations between the characters. Vise is just shy about her emotions (which in retrospect, actually makes a lot sense come the conclusion of the game.) I waited and waited for a budding lesbian romance — but alas, I had to settle for a boring old platonic friendship.
Chapter Five: Sound (4/5★)
Section One: Soundtrack
The soundtrack sets the mood with a great beat for every level. From foreboding to heavenly, the music provides an awesome backdrop for the trials that await.
Section Two: Sound Effects
The sound effects in this game are awesome; weapons are satisfying to swing and shoot, and enemies have distinguished, guttural death-moans which never get old.
Section Three: Voice Acting
The voice acting is adorable, I love it! Every time Quem swings her sword it takes me back to the days I played The Legend of Zelda on my SNES. Dialogue is accented with single words and expressions, but a handful of lines are fully voiced.
As a non-Japanese speaker I am in no position to judge the quality of voice acting.
But the voice acting isn’t all good — sometimes, voice lines are replayed in quick succession, which gets annoying. Also a few actors have noticeable background noise when they speak, which killed my suspension of belief.
Chapter Six: Visuals (4/5★)
Section One: User-interface
It’s hard to believe Ruins Seeker was developed on a variant of the RPGMaker engine; this game is a nice example of what’s possible when its limits are tested.
Perhaps a consequence translation, text regularly veers outside of the interface. Sometimes, I couldn’t read dialogue due to it being cut off! I feel the translation team should have taken creative liberties if altering the graphical user-interface wasn’t an option. Additionally, I spotted numerous grammatical and translation errors in the game.
Since I’m not compensated by Kagura Games, I have no interest to documenting them.
Section Two: Graphics
Other than the rare visual bug, the environmental design of Ruins Seeker is amazing. “Amazing” in the sense the game makes the most out of screen space with a detail rich, visually balanced world. The game feels alive with carefully placed animations and sprites to maintain visual flow.
The character portraits are likewise, beautifully rendered — but unfortunately, marred by inconsistences. The main protagonists are distinctly blurry compared to everyone else in the game. Quem’s mouth area clips constantly, showing unsightly edges whenever she speaks. Other than these flaws, Vise and Quem are visual highlights while reading.
Chapter Seven: Verdict (4.5/5★)
What an incredible game! The combat is fun, sex-scenes are hot, and the gameplay is welcoming for towards all skill levels. There are enough hours of content to get invested — yet at no point did I feel obligated to grind levels. As a matter of fact, I grinded levels because I genuinely enjoyed the optional challenges provided by the game!
What more can one ask for?
The ending could have been better foreshadowed, but the story is still interesting enough to keep you asking “what happens next”. For interested players, there are plenty of optional dialogue and quests to expand upon the world. To date, Ruins Seeker is the best top-down RPG with rogue-like gameplay I have played. Imagine Explorer of Yggdrasil — but better.