Heroes of Ruin

6 Overall Score

It’s no secret that Nintendo has really lagged behind in the trend of online gaming. An experience that is mostly seamless and problem free on the other major competitors’ platforms has been painful and awkward at the best of times on Nintendo hardware.

Fortunately, Square Enix and N-space have picked up the proverbial torch to show Nintendo that easy and well-executed online gameplay can be done. This is a title of note more for its slick implementation of multiplayer, more so than anything else about the game.

After selecting your character class (standard RPG fare), and playing with the limited customization options, Heroes of Ruin finds you in a shattered land that has been saved by a number of “ruin lords” who are anamorphic mythical creatures, focusing on one city — Nexus — founded by one of these “ruin lords”,  a sphinx named Artaxis.  Artaxis has been mysteriously struck down by a curse and cannot be awoken… and this is where the game starts, with our hero travelling  to Nexus to try and break Artaxis’ curse for fame and fortune.

The Good

Fans of Diablo III and Torchlight on the PC now have a respectable option to bring with them on the run.  Heroes of Ruin is probably one of the better implementations of the top-down action RPG genre on the 3DS, and having an option is better than not having one for fans of this type of gameplay.

The online play is also a huge step in the right direction for 3DS games, even going so far as to including voice chat using the 3DS’ built in microphone.  Hopefully other developers will sit up and take note of this first big step in the right direction.

The game plays as you’d expect, lots and lots of button mashing while your character crawls through many caves and other dark and dank dungeons. This is par for the course,  and Heroes makes good use of the 3DS dual screen setup, staying the realm of useful and unobtrusive while avoiding gimmick territory.

Inventory selection and management is implemented nicely as well. A handheld console just doesn’t have the space you do on larger gaming formats, so trying to copy the inventory systems of other games in this genre would have resulted in a clunky & difficult to navigate interface that wouldn’t have worked well at all.

Instead we get a streamlined system that shows only the most important information, ie. what the item is and how it will change your stats if equipped, both for good or ill.

The Bad

Unfortunately, Heroes of Ruin is not without its warts, and it just goes to show how much effort and polish it takes to make a truly standout title in a genre like this.  One of my biggest complaints is how generic this game is. There is absolutely nothing compelling about the story… I actually had to look up the introduction to the game online before writing this review as I had actually forgotten some of the important points of the world I was playing in, despite having originally watched the story setup only a few days ago.

Another area where Heroes falls short is the replayablity / difficulty of the game.  Action RPGs like Diablo 3 thrive off the ability to constantly improve your gear and grind through the game while trading with other players. While heroes has the option to trade and sell gear online, the economy is utterly and completely broken.

Upgrading your gear is far too common; there is very little variation in the look of equipped gear on your character (something that is typically very important to fans of this genre) and it often makes sense to just buy better equipment from a vendor rather than use what you find.  In addition, the majority of the items you do find never leave the dungeon you found them in, because your inventory is relatively limited and there is no leaving the dungeon and coming back mid-mission (all loot disappears if you do this).

Finally, I wasn’t completely happy with the graphics and 3D in Heroes of Ruin. It looks more like a DS game than a 3DS game,  and muddy visuals and a poor implementation of the 3D causes the title to suffer.


Heroes of Ruin deserves a nod for raising the bar in terms of what can be done with multiplayer on the 3DS, but sadly the rest of the game falls fairly flat, to the point where I’m just shy of advising this title is only for fans of the genre.

Some of the replayability issues are also going to make the multiplayer achievements of Heroes  a moot point if you aren’t playing with friends shortly, as I predict the online community will be a ghost town in a three to six months.

Heroes of Ruin is a generic action RPG that only stands out because of its multiplayer options, and I really wish it was just a bit better  and more polished than it actually is so I could give a stronger recommendation.


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Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

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