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Runers on Steam (demo available)

MSRP: $9.99

Platform: Windows

Release: 9/2/14

Runers is another game that’s been sitting on my wishlist for quite awhile that has a pretty deep discount as part of the Steam Autumn Sale.  It’ll be an incredibly long haul for me to get good enough at it to progress far enough to start getting to play with all the really neat things the developers put into the game, but even being terrible is kind of frantically fun, which is more than I can say about a lot of games I’m bad at.

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Runers is a top-down, dungeon-crawling shooter.  Movement is done with WASD, you use your mouse to target and shoot, and each class gets a unique special ability that can be activated by pressing Q.  The tutorials aren’t forced upon you, but are worth playing through to get a handle on how it all works.  The levels are all procedurally generated, which can be a double edged sword.  Sure, no two playthroughs will be the same, but you also may hit encounters that your character is just not prepared for, and permadeath means that can be extremely punishing.

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Enemies and destructibles all have a chance to drop runes, which you can combine in your inventory to create new spells.  Some spells also require a component called a combiner, which is somewhat of a rare drop.  Add in health packs, and that’s the extent of the loot in Runers – all your character improvement is done through spellcrafting and upgrade choices as you level up.

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Although unlocks are pretty much the meta game here, you’re given a lot of starting options – most of the passives and classes are available right from your first playthrough, and that results in a ridiculous number of combinations to try out.  You also have two difficult options (with three more unlockable), and when combined with almost three hundred discoverable spells, Runers is pretty much a game without end, provided you enjoy the grind.

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There’s a lot of game here for $10, and an astronomical amount for the current $2 discounted price. Sure, it’s a niche game without flashy graphics, but it’s also very well-constructed and fun to play.  If you enjoy rogue-lite shooters, this should be an instant buy.

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