I have been involved in the beta of Ring of Pain, and this project has excited me since day one. I am drawn to card games and roguelites in the first place, but the artwork absolutely blew me away and sucked me in.
Not gonna lie… Owl is twisted
The art direction for Ring of Pain draws largely on trying to depict a memory being recalled. It’s not quite all there. It’s raw and graphic with colour accents lining the edges. Simon Boxer
Ring of pain is a roguelite, card-based dungeon crawler (card crawler is what they call it). Instead of having a deck of cards, cards represent the dungeon. Creatures, treasure, potions, exist, items are all represented by the cards. You travel in a circle through the room encountering the objects. When you leave the room, you find yourself in the master ring. There are special rooms for merchants, events, stories, and themed rooms you may encounter.
Runs are bite-sized, taking under an hour and a half to complete. When you get familiar with the game, you can complete them in around 45 minutes. There is no in run save game so it’s complete the run, die or quit. (they are adding a save in)
When you complete the run one way or another, you may unlock cards of various strengths that can appear in subsequent runs. Allowing you to grow in power to get further in the Ring Of Pain.
There is also a daily dungeon mode, which is the same dungeon for everyone. There are 2 mutators (special rules) that are selected each day for the dungeon. Scores and a leaderboard track both your first try and your best score. There is a separate leaderboard for each, and a separate board for your friends and global players.
- An extensive amount of items and item sets to use and combine.
- Normal mode with unlocks and achievements
- Hard mode for the masochist in all of us.
- Daily dungeon mode with scores and leaderboards tracking your first try and best try, both globally and with your steam friends. (It is unlocked)
- Twitch Integration where the viewers can vote to choose the items you receive and can also draw the artwork for the creatures you encounter (moderators approve the images)
At USD 19.99 I think it is a fair price. I can see through that one complaint that people are mentioning is the price.
So I expect to get 20 hours of the game at the very least. With that figure in mind, this is a good value for the price. You are going to get a lot over 20 hours and with the additions they have on the roadmap, it’s going to get even better. Sure it’s not Slay The Spire 500 hours value, but it is good value.
Art and Sound
Simon Boxer is the creative director and lead designer it was his solo project before bringing on Twice Different to assist in development. I can not stress enough how the artwork in Ring Of Pain really drew me in, It’s nothing you have seen before, and the imagery is nothing you have seen before. The concept behind the artwork comes from a discussion about the condition of Aphantasia the lack of the ability to visualize images.
Composer Belinda Coomes created the soundtrack: the soundscape that is created is dark, brooding, chilling, and immersive. Belinda is no stranger to dark soundtracks, and it shows. You can also find Belinda’s work in the Tiberian Sun Rising Mod for Command & Conquer 3 also her website highlights her work which goes from dark, too percussive, too suspenseful, and to synth-wave! Being a big synth-wave fan, I was hooked.
The music and art of Ring of Pain are a real treat to your senses and add tremendously to the gameplay.
Most of my criticism comes from features already being looked into. They include things like saving during a run, while runs are fairly short sometimes you just have to do something else. I would love to see a scoring system for the main game mode, especially on the hardcore setting. Balancing the difficulty spikes.
The developers are not done with the game; they have a feature-rich roadmap that is considering player feedback and adding and enhancing the game. The initial changes are in the public beta branch and some are in the game already.
I have seen the complaint that the RNG is ruthless and there is a major difficulty spike. This is the nature of roguelite/roguelike games. They are making adjustments and enhancements to smooth the curve and give the player tools to mitigate RNG while still keeping the game challenging.
I am a big fan of the Daily Dungeon and leaderboard chase. It’s a lot of fun and playing with the mutators makes it interesting each time. I come back all the time to do the Daily, it’s a ton of fun and an enormous challenge.
The game is quite immersive. The story, the artwork, the music (the soundtrack is available) all work together to enhance the experience.
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Semi-retired game designer and developer trying to use my experience to enhance the strategy and strategy adjacent gaming sector. Strategy game player for over 35 years. Game development experience in AAA, Indie, and Board.