Ring around Rosie, bag full of… Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! No, bad rhyme. Keep an eye on the ring and make a strategy. Learn, adapt or face death. Yes, that’s the slogan of Ring of Pain, a fast strategy card game from publisher Humble Bundle and developer of Twice Different. What do rhyming and card fights do together? Learn in this review how to recognize their context!
Rogue-like card games have certainly found their way to the Nintendo platform in recent years, and Ring of Pain continues this trend. Unlike heavier trading card games like Magic the Gathering of Pokémon, games in this category generally focus on short game sessions, super available mechanisms, a strong RNG (random number generator) element, and offer almost endless repetition. No wonder they promise a portable platform.
The gameplay begins with a pleasant rhyming and thoughtful introduction to the artistic theme of the game, followed by an introduction to the first area. You are offered a circle of cards, but there are two at the beginning, so you can choose whether to try to pass or miss. Your goal is simple: Take the random port(s) of each section to proceed to the next section. It is this simple general objective that makes the name immediately attractive. As with games like Slay the Spireor even Super Battle Cardsin any area where you enter the cards presented to you, the path is generated procedurally and in such a way that games like these are the best candidates for a replay.
The principle of progress is simple. Select the map left or right and perform the required operations with them. Usually you will encounter the enemy in a duel, which strictly speaking means that you will be hit in both directions, depending on the damage caused by your attack and theirs. The health drinks show what you can use to enrich your life, there are special gates that lead to interesting gaps, then there are facial expressions that offer you a risk/reward game of your choice, and finally, one of the characters in the game seems to lead a creature that resembles an owl that brings gifts and stories when he comes into contact with it.
I really like the simplicity of the basic mechanics of the game, and it only takes a very short tutorial to really understand where advanced strategies can occur. I loved mobile games such as Card Crawl , which have a simple card fighting mechanic very similar to this game, and it is usually a pleasure to play different sessions at the same time and try as much as possible before they are killed by something absurd or a boss.
The main disadvantage of the -Pain- ring remains the RNG aspect. Although the skill really depends on whether you want to take an enemy card, try to evade it, or take another path through the ring to your neighbour, it’s all based on the cards drawn at a given time. In practice this means that you can start a new game and just send random spam and see what happens, but chances are you won’t get as far as you’d like in planning your path. Sometimes, however, my races had a terrible start, so I barely reached the third official district before being wiped off the face of the earth by a lot of enemies I couldn’t defeat.
The dynamics of each race are enhanced by an extraordinary number of authorized equipment/elements and skill niches. With a total of 15 slots you can find, win and equip equipment for each race. Unlike other games, you will find that bonuses can have a huge impact on your racing performance. As a result, the choice of additional equipment presented can often be an average or more rigorous strategy.
In the ring of this area, there is also the possibility of chain stitch actions that affect cards that were not shown to you immediately at the beginning of the selection. This can be useful if you have multiple enemy cards in your area, but there is a way to make a chain explosion with multiple cards, or for example a poison potion that damages the neighbors’ cards. Again, these are more advanced strategies and those who want to experiment with their skills.
Nature, which looks like a rougelia, is unfortunately quite clear here. When you die, it’s over, and the game’s over. The main menu gives you a collection to browse through, describing all the cards you’ve seen out of a total of 180, but I think the weakest part of this game is that it doesn’t offer any of the next game stimuli or meta-movements that normally occur in this kind of competitive games. There is still a daily puzzle mode that can be unlocked (I haven’t unlocked it yet at the time of writing this article), but I would like to have a little more potential during the game.
Visually, the art is very pure, almost geometric with style, and very dark and dramatic, with a touch of darkness in front of everything. The soundtrack creates a reasonable atmosphere, and with the help of fine map animations and a few floating particles, the game is not lifeless, but I would like to see some more of it on the screen. In the meantime, the game supports both Joy-Con and touch screen controls, but I found the touch screen controls a little more awkward than I expected with such a simple interface. For example, I couldn’t use an information mechanic card if I just wanted to touch it, because it automatically uses the card I was trying to scroll or touch to display the information.
Ring of Pain touches many of the good points for a fast and casual card game. The next goal for the developers should be to further refine the settings and implement an unlockable reward system. There are many things to love, including art, style and rhyme. And of course I really liked this game in bed!
Examination of the pipe ring
- Graphs – 7/10
- Sound – 6/10
- Course of the game – 6.5/10
- Late appeal – 7/10
Final remarks : GOOD PLACES
The Pain Ring is an artistic mix of random card fights, procedural dungeon escapes, and some kind of rusted mechanics. The strengths lie in the short game sessions and the dynamic results that can be achieved, as well as the more advanced strategy that is possible. Among the shortcomings are very RNG systems, where the cards are sometimes simply not to your advantage. I was also very disappointed that there wasn’t really any meta-unlockable content to wear. But in the near future I will see myself jogging one or two courses during my lunch break without feeling exhausted, which says a lot about this kind of thing.
Alex has been actively involved in games since the release of Nintendo. After turning his hobby into a profession, he spent just over ten years developing games and is now creative director of the studio.
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