"Heroes of Ruin" is a gem of a game.
In the same dungeon stomping tradition of games such as "Gauntlet" and "Diablo," "Heroes of Ruin" is an original IP hack and slash dungeon crawler adventure. The game's main claim to fame is by large its technical achievements: n-Space set out to make a full fledge and always connected handheld multiplayer experience, and succeeded.
The game takes place in Veil, a world reunited by powerful Ruin Lords after a bloody war ravaged it. You start your quest as one of four classes (I picked sorcerer, and spent the rest of the game trying to decide if I was in fact a girl or a boy) just as one of the Ruinlords, Ataraxis was struck down by a deadly curse.
From there you quest, location to location, battling monsters, formidable bosses, and weaving in and out of a story that somewhat gets caught up in itself, but despite that, creates a enjoyable mythos. I enjoyed the characters, enemies, and overall mythic feel of the game (I'm a sucker for shark-men and sphinxes, what can I say?).
The real magic though, is just how much is crammed into the game. Branching skill paths,items that change the actual appearance of your character, and oodles and oodles of quests all fill the plate. And nobody wants to take on evil alone, so the game is fully compatible with 4 player drop in/drop out multiplayer, online or local. And, voice chat. We are talking online features and functionalities that some (read: most) Wii games didn't even have, all here on a take-on-the-go platform. The online so far has been decently flawless (with the occasional frame rate drop and slow down here and there, but that's to be expected), but I'm still impressed how well the game takes advantage of all of the 3DS's features that many developers aren't even starting to tap into.
That's not to say the game is perfect: Cramming all of these features into a portable cart come at some costs, the main which is the poor graphical look for most of the game. That's not to say that the game is ugly: The parts of the game that look good (Some of the environmental designs, the lighting and gleam effects) look very good, but only stand to make the parts of the game that don't look even worse. The character models in particular are eyesores, are just don't mesh with some of the quite beautiful designed locations.
The balance also needs a little tweaking, and I was shocked that even with high powered spells mashing my sorcerer's physical attack was the best strategy for most battles. And, as with all quest based games, the running around can get a little mundane, and "Heroes of Ruin" is no exception to this, leading the end of the game to feel a little drawn out.
But, what results is a fun and enjoyable experience, and is one of those games I just want to act like Santa and go around and give to all my friends so we can sit down and enjoy together. The game took me between 8-13 hours (for some reason the 3DS and in game clocks disagree), and that was moving fast and skipping a lot of quests. It has its flaws, but is a technical achievement that takes adept control over the 3DS's hardware and creates an experience unlike anything else on the system. The ending left room for a sequel, so here's hoping that this step in the right direction won't be a onetime affair.