There’s a type of game that players will spend hours upon hours trying to complete, becoming immersed within its world. Other games meanwhile will offer a simple experience that could be played for just mere moments. With Rune Lord, it provides your essential Match-3 puzzle game as well as a nice change of pace for your brain.
Rune Lord follows a portal in a mystical land that has been opened up, allowing dark magic to come to the fore. And so it is left to you to defeat the evil Ice Golem by matching up a certain amount of magical runes before the time runs out. Besides that introduction, there’s not a lot of plot that goes into the game.
The game itself has 60 levels that you need to complete, and different goals are divided by odd and even numbered levels. Of course, the main objective for each level is to get a set amount of runes matched up to move on to the next session, and you’ll get a coin. There are a lot of upgrades you can purchase in the guise of spells that can make a difference, especially in the later levels. These increase the time you have left, offer more points, get rid of multiple tiles and increase your chances of getting more runes destroyed. What’s interesting though is the strategy that goes into purchasing the spells.
You can either purchase an upgrade or reset an ability and stock up on a specific spell if you’re in a pinch. Obviously you’ll need this if you’re struggling to get some matches completed. The best strategy here would be to stock up on spells that help you get more matching runes or increase your chances of having additional combos. And it is here where Rune Lord becomes more enjoyable when you want to complete the optional objectives. They’re only in the even numbered levels, and if you complete them you can earn an extra coin. Each optional objective is varied throughout the game, like collecting a specific amount of points or defeating the Ice Golem while the monster is throwing ice bombs on the tiles. They offer a nice variety to the game that makes the completionist side of you itch when you fail to achieve your goal.
Then you get to the odd numbered levels, which contain a flaw that brings the game to a halt. Take level 5 for instance, where you need to destroy 7, 10 and 12 runes. Now it would appear that you need to get over 12 runes to complete the level, but when the time is up, you’re still left running through the same level. The reason being is that once you destroy 12, you then need to get through 7 and 10 before being done with the level. It wouldn’t be that bad if it were in the game for only a couple of moments, but it’s literally half of the game. These odd number sections get so repetitive and frustrating, no matter the difficulty. If the level is easy, then it becomes boring, but if it’s a challenge, then it becomes so frustrating to play. Granted, this has obviously been put in to pad out the game length, which would have otherwise meant the game required only a couple of hours to complete.
Even though there’s not a lot of story, the graphics in the background provide some beautiful eye candy to Rune Lord. This is especially true for the levels featuring a floating mansion with upward stairs that’s in front of a sunset. It’s such a cool visual that – in the best way possible – it might distract you from playing. In terms of the audio, while the music is repetitive, it’s not annoying and helps establish the mystical tune.
Ultimately, this game is a lot of fun when you want to sit down with a good puzzle. Even the casual mode towards the back half of the game starts to get pretty tricky, as you become so focused on trying to match the runes and getting the objective finished quickly that it becomes a little addictive. It’s honestly a great little game to play when you’re waiting for something else to come along – like when you initiate a large download of another title and you’re left looking for something to play in the meantime. Yes, it might take a level or two, but you’ll become wrapped up in matching some runes in no time at all.
Rune Lord on Xbox One may be a short game, but there’s a lot of juice to squeeze from within. The increasingly difficult levels provide a great challenge that’ll have you hooked, however it does become a pain when you have to deal with levels that make you repeat a stage at least three times. With Rune Lord being a reasonable price at the Xbox Store, it’ll still be an excellent addition to your gaming library.