Rungore First Impressions: Solid Bones, Hit-Or-Miss Tone

Hey there lil' memelord, lemme whisper in your ear...
Edited by Kristi Jimenez

Chasing hyperrealism was a mistake. The future of games belongs with the singular and the scrungly. Recite the Jordo creed with me: We want shorter games with worse graphics made by people paid more to work less, and we are not kidding. Rungore makes a great first impression with bright colors and a pixelated art style that really pops. The early access title almost fully delivers on the Jordo promise, but scattershot tone holds the mirror-polished gameplay loop back.

Related: THOSE GAMES Review: What A (Faustian) Bargain!

Sick Gains, Brah

Rungore impressions: Knight Guy is poised to attack an enemy, card from the player hand hovering in midair.
Image via Gamera Games.

Rungore mixes the cooldown timers of auto battlers with roguelike deck-building. Each level features your little guy of choice running along, attacking anything in his way. Buffs, debuffs, and equipment determine your character’s speed, but you can use your cards to interrupt and augment the flow of battle: extra attacks, shielding, applying status effects, and more.

Unlike other deck-builders, there is no central deck you replenish from, just the cards you draw during and between rounds. If you run out, your little guy is left to his own devices, attacking automatically until he wins or dies. The inconsistent cards add a delicious layer of risk and reward—do you burn through your cards, or hold onto what you can?

The loop is deceptively simple, making it oh-so-easy to go after one more run. Until you’re presented with other options, gameplay is all clicking and dragging with the mouse. After returning to your home base (either through victory or death), you use what money you picked up to buy better equipment, more gameplay options, and shockingly, the ability to sort your hand and play with number keys. While appropriately cheeky, locking accessibility options behind gameplay does more than just make my wrists hurt.

Posting Cringe

Rungore impressions: A list of equippable cards and enemy stats float on the screen.
Image via Gamera Games.

After the charming, slightly unhinged tutorial, in-game text fluctuates from zany, to meme-heavy, to simply annoying. Rungore is almost exclusively populated by Types Of Guys. Knight Guy swings their battle-tested sword and shield combo, Bow Guy shoots poison arrows and dodges, and the Hungry Guy does…unfortunately, exactly what you’d expect.

If Rungore wants to namecheck Slay The Spire and Loop Hero on the Steam page, they need the sharp, consistent tone that made those games gel. There’s none of Loop Hero’s foreboding or Slay the Spire’s eccentric charm to be found here. I may be old and cringe, but I say the word cringe at least three times less than Rungore’s in-game dialogue does.

Instead of defaulting to Newgrounds-era schlock humor, Rungore could lean more on the absurdist roots of that style—’The Far Side’, ‘Invader Zim’, even the badger and mushroom we know and love. Rungore looks and feels great, but the overall package feels like it’s missing actual substance. The game’s card-based auto battler hybrid is genuinely exciting to play; I just want the connective tissue between the larger-than-life characters and levels to match that spirit.

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Taylor Hicklen
Taylor Hicklen

Taylor is Press SPACE to Jump's community lead. He likes midrange JRPGs, fighting games, and Dicey Dungeons. Bonus points if there are good fonts. To contact him about your game or other professional inquiries, you can email him at pstjtaylor@proton.me.

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