Aarik and the Ruined Kingdom on PC / Steam – The DVDfever Review

Aarik and the Ruined Kingdom Aarik and the Ruined Kingdom is a new puzzler in an isometric style, some screens which had me staring at the screen for 10-15 minutes, thinking I’ll never beat them, but the next one in the same level was a cinch by comparison!

The basic premise sees your father’s kingdom all awry, as some rooms are split into different sections all around the screen, and you have to find the way to bring them back together. At the start, you’ll take your Dad’s crown, and then can turn then the screen round in order to see all the angles of the environment, and then can work out what goes where.

Some screens also have other creatures inhabiting them, which are less an issue in terms of trying to kill you, but are more a case of just getting in your way. It’s in situations like that where the answer isn’t always just to turn the screen, but also to point-and-click to move some elements around. This can be frustrating, since it’s rarely intuitive as to what can and can’t be moved, and requires a lot of trial and error.

I mostly controlled Aarik with my gamepad, but the mouse is occasionally necessary to move elements of the levels about, as well as activating robots to make them move.

Aarik and the Ruined Kingdom certainly also does have that ‘just one more go’ feeling, where you’ll get to a screen that just can’t be cracked, even though you know that you will if you stick at it, but sometimes, you just have to put it to one side, and come back to it later. It feels impossible now, but you’ll click into place the next time.

At this stage, there are occasional bugs, such as when I can’t quite click a button that I should be able to, since sometimes it requires a little too much precision. I was stuck on a particular level because I couldn’t see a way to progress, but it’s because, unlike earlier levels, a certain ‘weighty’ element required almost pixel-perfect precision, whereas others didn’t.

Similarly, in the fifth set of levels, Desert, when you have to move elements of the landscape back and forth in time, to make it rise and fall, it’s very hit-and-miss as to whether you get the right outcome quickly. More over-precision required. Grrr…..

Another time, a menu box appeared and just wouldn’t go away. That one came after I’d nearly completed the level, it told me I could now manipulate time, but there was no way to actually get those words out of the way of the game area, so I could finish up the level and move on.

As mentioned, at times, when you have three screens to a level to complete, it’s occasionally the mid-level screens which are more difficult than that later ones, unless it’s a case of the level of difficulty being in the eye of the beholder?

Along the way, you’ll collect gems in order to restore the kingdom, but don’t forget what I didn’t quite twig, in that you’ll also need to pick up the crowns if you want 100%. I didn’t catch on until a good number of levels in, so I’ve got some, but not all. For those, just simply click on them about the environment if you find them, but much turning of the screen is required. In fact, when I checked through my gameplay for uploading, only THEN did I see some of the crowns! D’oh!

The levels also have different titles, so as an aside, I didn’t even twig until after finishing the game, that for the level where you have to find the gate which is hidden by water, the title is “Water gate”!

Aarik and the Ruined Kingdom isn’t perfect and has some issues that need addressing, but it is a beautiful and cute game to play, though, and it’s only a few quid, so get on it!

I’ve completed the game, but some levels are still to be made live at the time of posting this review. You’ll be able to see them all below in due course.

Overall: 8/10

Thanks to our friends at Shatterproof Games for the review code for this game.

Aarik and the Ruined Kingdom is out now on PC/Steam.

Aarik and the Ruined Kingdom on PC Playlist – Gameplay (4K UHD 60fps) – DVDfeverGames

Important info:

  • Developer: Shatterproof Games
  • Publisher: Shatterproof Games
  • Players: single-player

PC specs:
Motherboard: MSI MPG X670E CARBON WIFI AMD X670 S AM5 DDR5 PCIe 5.0 4x M.2 2.5GbE AMD EXPO™ ATX
RAM: 64GB (2x32GB) Corsair DDR5 Vengeance RGB PC5-44800 (5600Mhz)
Graphics Card: Sapphire Radeon RX 7900 XTX NITRO+ 24GB GDDR6 Ray-Tracing RDNA3 6144 Streams
1st Storage Drive: 2TB Samsung 990 PRO M.2 (2280) PCIe 4.0 (x4) NVMe SSD TLC V-NAND 7450MB/s Read 6900MB/s