Runic Rampage ($3.99) by Crescent Moon Games is an over-the-top action adventure game featuring angry dwarfs who are ready to kick some butt. If you enjoyed games like ICEY and Kick Ass Commandos, then Runic Rampage is a good fit for you.
When life gets stressful and frustrating, I take my anger out in video games. I mean, causing mayhem and destruction in a digital world is much better than doing so in reality, right? I usually prefer relaxing games, but sometimes I just have to start bashing stuff in with a giant hammer. When I saw Runic Rampage on the App Store, I was intrigued, as it has a top-down dungeon crawler feel to it (think Diablo III, which I put in way too many hours for), so I had to check it out. If you feel the same way as I do, then Runic Rampage is definitely a fun way to pass the time.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, Runic Rampage has a rough-and-gruff aesthetic to it, which is fitting considering you're smashing things up as a big, tough dwarf. The game is rendered in 3D with some fairly detailed graphics that remind me a bit of older computer games. Runic Rampage has a top-down perspective that's similar to games like Diablo III, so players can see a big area at once, and prepare for incoming waves of enemies. The character models for your dwarf and the various monsters you'll encounter are distinctive and full of detail. The environments range from dry and dusty deserts to lush forests to frosty tundras, and the color palette matches the themes well.
Animations in Runic Rampage are smooth and fluid on my iPhone 8 Plus, so there's no issues with lag or choppiness. However, sometimes I feel the game moves a bit slowly, with the way your dwarf moves and attacks. But this may be due to the fact that I'm used to much faster-paced games like Diablo III, so I digress. The original soundtrack is just as medieval as you'd expect for an action adventure game involving dwarves and monsters, and the sound effects are fun to hear. The best part about Runic Rampage though, is the over-the-top comical violence. We're talking about fake cartoon blood splashing all over the place while you smash your foes in with a hammer.
While Runic Rampage is an action adventure game, everything is level-based and also procedurally generated. With Runic Rampage, players take on the role of Grimbard, who is the last champion of dwarfs. He must embark on a quest to find the missing rune stone fragments. Once the fragments are put together, you'll uncover the truth behind the kingdom's downfall and Grimbard has the power to change the destiny of his nation.
When you start the game, there's a tutorial stage that shows you all of the basics behind the game, including controls and how to find your objective. The goal in each stage varies, but it usually involves objectives such as defeating all enemies, getting to the treasure chest at the end, or defeat challenging bosses. The game also has a bit of exploration involved, with secret areas to find and discover on your own. Depending on your performance, up to three medals can be earned on each stage.
Controls in Runic Rampage are simple enough, but take some time and practice to get used to and master. In the bottom left is your virtual, fixed joystick for movement. This allows Grimbard to move freely on the screen. The compass at the bottom indicates where your objective is, so it's best that you follow it (unless you don't mind exploring every nook and cranny). The buttons in the bottom right allow you to dash and attack.
The magic behind Runic Rampage are in the combo of buttons to perform various types of attacks. For example, if you tap on the hammer and then the dash button, you'll do an uppercut. Tapping the hammer button twice and then the dash does a spin attack. You can also long-press the hammer to do a charged heavy attack that dishes out much more damage, but leaves you vulnerable for a brief amount of time.
Eventually, some enemies can drop certain runes that you can use to add elements to your attacks. For example, I found the fire element from the tall red goblins in the beginning of the game. To activate these spells, just tap on the button above the hammer, and then that elemental spell gets added to your melee weapon. These only last for a short amount of time, though, so you'll want to save them for worthwhile battles if possible.
In the top left corner will be your health bar. If this is fully depleted, then it's game over and you'll have to try the stage again. Below the red health bar is your orange experience bar, which tells you how much experience is needed to reach the next level. Each time you level up, you gain a skill point that can be spent to upgrade your attack (damage), defense, agility, or greed (money drops). Like typical RPGs, experience points are earned by defeating enemies, and money can be acquired from fallen foes and breakable objects in the environment.
The money you earn can be spent on various upgrades for Grimbard. These include new weapons, weapon upgrades to make them more potent, spell upgrades, and more. In typical fashion, the stronger the upgrade, the more expensive it will be. But earning money in the game is not too hard, just a tad grindy.
A hack 'n' slash RPG with over the top action combat.
Runic Rampage is packed with a lot of good stuff that should satisfy anyone seeking an action adventure dungeon crawling game. The visuals look good and have a lot of fine details and textures, while the soundtrack is original, fun, and fitting for the theme. The controls work out well enough, and the button combos can lead up to some awesome and powerful attacks. The different objectives and bosses add variety to the game, and with plenty of upgrades for Grimbard, there's a lot of reason to keep coming back to this game.
My only issue with Runic Rampage is the fact that it feels like the movement and action can be a tad slower than I'd like, when compared with games like Diablo III. They may not be the same thing, but that's just what I'm used to with top-down dungeon crawlers. It would also be nice if the controls were customizable, in case players prefer certain spots for button touch zones. Also, the joystick is fixed, and it won't follow your thumb around, so you're stuck in that spot for movement. Hopefully these can be fixed in the future.
Runic Rampage is an excellent little hack-n-slash dungeon crawler experience that's worth picking up if you're a fan. The graphics are a tad rougher than I would like, but it works out well enough. The music is fun, controls work decently enough, and the gameplay is challenging with a lot of upgrades to unlock. I just hope to see the addition of customizable controls in the future, as I think that would help out a lot of players.
You can find Runic Rampage on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for just $3.99. There are no in-app purchases.