What is it about exploring secret mysterious temples that we find so appealing? I’m sure it has something to do with all the fascinating secrecy, and of course the hope of finding lost treasures. Ruins Ahead by Robot Cake is a fun little arcade title that certainly puts things into a new…perspective (that’ll be funny later, trust me).
You start the game controlling a little redheaded bright eyed explorer as he traverses the ruins for adventure and shiny gold coins. The entire game is controlled through either taps that move your character forward, or swipes that actually shift the entire layout of the dungeon.
What is your explorer to do when the single path is blocked by a pillar? With a simple swipe either to the left or the right, the path becomes rotated ninety degrees in that direction, allowing the path to open up and continue.
The interesting thing about Ruins Ahead is that nothing seems to be chasing you. The ruins aren’t crumbling behind you, there’s no boulder hunting you down ala Indiana Jones. This means that except for a few timing based puzzles such as spike traps or spinning axe blades, there’s not really a sense of urgency in the game. The greatest foe I faced in my temple exploration was over-eagerness as tapping to go forward when there is in obstacle in the way means Game Over.
Like many of these fast paced arcade games, most rounds won’t last more than a few minutes, but a large incentive to keep player’s engaged comes in the form of unlockable characters, and let me tell you, this game offers a lot of them. With a total of over 50 characters to play as ranging from vikings to chefs to luchador wrestlers, you can find someone that fits your own personal tastes.
The music is perfectly ambient. It’s not something I’d find myself humming too much outside of the game, but it’s got that perfect background sound that fits the rhythm of the gameplay nicely. The graphics are that simplistic 3D you see in a lot of titles these days, but it works pretty well here, as it helps you know exactly what on the temple you can and can’t touch.
Unless you’re one of those people who strives to unlock all the characters, I don’t know if I’d say Ruins Ahead offers too much to come back to, but the gameplay is fun and addictive enough that I found myself playing it a few times more than I expected to. Like many games we review, with a price tag of free, there’s no harm in looking into it.