Army of Ruin Switch Review
8/17/23 is the day Vampire Survivors clones fear. That is the day Vampire Survivors arrives on Switch, and cleans house. I’m even going to bet its going to take a permanent spot in the best sellers list. Army of Ruin calls itself an auto-shooter, which is another name for a Vampire Survivor clone. Does it have to fear August 17th? Of course it does. But Army of Ruin is a great clone. While it is more of a clone than some others, like the pretty good Void Scrappers, that are some subtle and not so subtle improvements that make it worth playing in its own right. This review will detail some, but not all, of them.
Army of Ruin’s Improvements
First, lets talk about the graphics. Army of Ruin is in 3D with nice touches, like the time of day changing as the clock advances. But despite this, the screen can be filled with enemies with no slowdown. The levels feel more like actual places than most Vampire Survivors levels. That’s because the enemies are more unique to each theme and there are theme appropriate traps. The Shrine has a complete Japanese feel to it. The UI is cleaner than VS and is easier to read on the fly. For example,. they use numbers instead of stars to denote weapon and trinket levels. The soundtrack is also pretty good with some catchy tunes.
You’ll recognize many of the weapons and trinkets in Army of Ruin, many of which are clones. Like the leather glove(bracer) gives faster weapon speed. Instead of the bible, you have lava balls. Instead of holy water, you get spears that create electric pools. There are some unique things, like the flask which pushes enemies back after a certain number of kills(which is critical to get). There are 116 weapons, 63 trinkets and 24 characters, so there is a lot to unlock. This is done via challenges, which can be intense, like not moving in graveyard at all(have fun with that).
There are several unique levels in Army of Ruin, like a graveyard, a goblin forest, and a city of automatons. These are unlocked via stars, which are given via specific challenges. Stars even unlock harder versions of each stage. The stages are divided into minute waves, with a boss at the end. Each minute that passes with the boss, minions get harder. As far as characters go, they all have a passive and active effect. The active effects are cool. The knight has a shield. The mage has an eight way magic missile. Like VS, the more you use a character, the more you unlock. As for enemies, the elites and bosses feel more like tough fights that giant bullet sponges. Like the Mechascopion in the city, which fires saws at you and such.
Vampire Survivors’ Bane!
Is Army of Ruin a Must Play? I’m going to have to say yes in this review. I can’t find anything particularly wrong besides shamelessly ripping off VS at times. The additions, improvements and tons of challenges make Army of Ruin just as engaging as VS. You’ll be at this for a very long time if you so chose. Unfortunately, it won’t sell as much as VS, and August 17th is the day it gets buried. Shameful really, because Army of Ruin, in my opinion, puts Vampire Survivor’s Must Play rating in my eventual review of it in jeopardy. It is that damn good. Rare do I find a clone that improves on the original. This is that rare case where that is so.
Overall: Army of Ruin is an amazing Vampire Survivors clone, even exceeding it at times. Too bad it dies August 17th 2023.
Verdict: Must Play