Runers is a roguelike dungeon shooter utilizing many familiar elements of such games. At the start of a new adventure you may select a character class (defining your appearance and special skill) as well as an additional passive ability and a spell. A wide range of choices is available, though it somewhat mixes up fantasy and horror elements.
There’s some sort of story to the game but it is surely much more exciting to guess what dangers and treasures lie ahead in the random generated rooms of the dungeon. Some have strange auras with various effects, others contain special events giving you a reward upon completion. They may be empty or filled with deadly monster armies.
Enemies become more and more powerful on deeper levels so leveling up is vital for surviving battles. Besides carefully choosing your level up bonuses, winning or losing mostly depends on combining runes dropped by monsters. You may use up to three runes out of ten kinds to create spells and discover lethal combinations (there are 285 altogether).
Runers’ gameplay can be really imbalanced at times, some rooms contain tons of monsters dropping no health or runes at all. If you finally manage to reach a boss fight you have to find out the unique way of slaying them. Two things really annoyed me while playing Runers: because your character’s movement isn’t based on a tile layout, it is easy to miss some items or corridors while running around and shooting spells in every direction. Also, stairs immediately take you to the next level of the dungeon without any form of confirmation. There’s no backtracking so going down a level by mistake might cost you some precious loot. The inventory is a wee bit small as well.
Runers’ visuals are simple and might be considered retro but “less is more” works this time. The soundtrack is pleasant to the ears (but it only comes second to the relaxing screams of dying opponents).
All in all Runers can be great fun for those who like the genre, and are okay with saving only between levels and permadeath. You will find lots of character builds, a large variety of enemies and a challenging experience in this game.