Ring Of Pain Review

Ring of Pain is a roguelike card game that’s too damned creepy to not live rent-free in your head long after you’re finished. You play as someone trapped in darkness, unsure of who can help you out and who intends to lead you into ruin. The constant uncertainty leaves you always second-guessing yourself, while the action manages to keep you firmly in the moment as you juggle satisfying risk-reward choices. This balance of feeling both powerful and vulnerable–but in different ways depending on your choices–manages to shake up potentially repetitive attempts to navigate the rings of cards in your efforts to escape this eerie, unsettling world.

Each run in Ring of Pain starts out largely the same: It’s just you and a circle of cards that probably want to kill you. Two cards in the circle are in the foreground and can be viewed and interacted with immediately. Cards feature an interesting array of spooky creatures that can be fought or dodged, items to be collected and equipped, stat boosts, potions, curses, or doors to be passed through into another new dungeon ring. There’s a menagerie of different cards to come across, which keeps you constantly on your toes and never too sure of what to expect–but there are still patterns and hints to the madness, such as themed dungeons that keep things purposeful rather than totally random. The rings cycle through depending on your actions–you might find a card that shuffles the ring, or a card might cycle itself through the ring to chase you–and how you choose to navigate them will determine your play style.

You don’t have to clear a ring to move to the next stage, just to get to a door. You have your own base stats, which change based on the items and boosts you find and equip. It’s best to think of yourself as a sort of customizable creature card with slots augmented by what you find. Most of the equipment will have basic stat augments, but others will offer interesting strategies like gaining health from curses or knocking back creatures after an attack. Each little factor can greatly determine how effective you are in satisfying ways that alter available strategies. The knock-back ability can make slow but devastatingly strong enemies a total non-issue as they no longer have a chance to attack, while without it even sneaking past them can be risky business.

Continue Reading at GameSpot

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