I’ll admit, when I first booted up Runestone Keeper and it wouldn’t let me use my Pro Controller, I was annoyed. I’ve noticed with a lot of indie games, the game likes to force players to undock their Switch or play with the Joy-Cons. I don’t completely understand this, but I assume it must be a pain to program for additional controller types.
Still, Runestone Keeper turned out to be a simple and fun game. The dungeon crawler reminded me of classic Legend of Zelda dungeons that are dark and dreary, and each step you take illuminates more of the area. The challenge, of course, is that you can’t see what’s ahead.
Runestone Keeper is easy to jump into for players new to the genre, but I do believe it appeals greatly to veteran dungeon crawler fans. The game happens completely inside the dungeons. You cross the puzzle-like room to reach the key and escape to the next level.
This game is easy to get through, but it can also be tough. If you’re not paying close attention in battle, you can lose pretty easily. The inability to move away from an enemy makes it easy to get overwhelmed. You can either use the touchscreen or button commands to select equipment, spaces, and attack. There are a handful of weapons for offensive maneuvers and various tools to reveal more of each room or attack from far away. You even get armor upgrades to increase your defenses.
Runestone Keeper sprinkles in RPG-lite elements with descriptions of your surroundings or incoming enemies. Though this does very little for progressing a specific story of any kind, the descriptions add a bit of imagination to an otherwise featureless dungeon.
The art style of Runestone Keeper is simplistic in ways that make the enemies feel somewhat formless, but menus and additional dialog screens display more elevated character designs with a pixelated bent. This game is less about the cinematics and theatrics and more about being a straightforward dungeon crawler. It offers all the mechanics you need to fight your way through each cavernous room, but it doesn’t convolute the premise with an intense plot that takes away from getting to the game.
I don’t know that Runestone Keeper has a lot of replay value for me, but for dungeon crawler fans looking for a new one to pick up, this one was certainly an entertaining time.
Review: Runestone Keeper (Nintendo Switch)
Runestone Keeper is an easy game to pick up, and for dungeon crawler fans, this one was certainly an entertaining time. While it doesn’t hold a lot of replay value for me personally, I still had fun with it!