Runers has high hopes, and a fantastic spell crafting system, but is held back in just a few too many ways.
The game is full of strange design decisions. For example rune combiners are needed only for new spells. This means that early on in your play of Runers you will find yourself unable to create many complex spells, and once you have died a few times and unlocked a lot of spells, you find yourself with combiners falling out of your pockets. My question is why? Surely the game would play better if combiners were always required but were more common? Then you'd have to be careful about which complex spells you created, and would make each run more varied.
Then there's the fact that drops are completely random. I can kill an air mage and get an earth rune! There's no rhyme nor reason for anything, and as such each run tends to blur together.
Sound levels are also just strange. Some enemies are much much louder than others. Some barely audible, others annoyingly loud. And this happens on every single 'I got hit', not just for special attacks or anything. Oh, also, your character doesn't have a 'I got hit' noise. That's rather important, and yet entirely missing. The music is really quiet. Again, this is odd because they sell a soundtrack edition, so clearly they're proud of it.
You can rebind keys*. You will want to do this, since hitting 1-4 while using wsad to move is rather lethal. *Caveat: However, you can't rebind the left and right click spells. Which is odd, because they end up being the spells you click the least often, since they have an autofire option.
The whole pace of the game is bloody fast. It's a test more of reaction speed than skill, most of the time. The main thing is movement speed. You move fast, your enemies move fast. So fast, in fact, that it's hard to control. The game suggests that you can use destructible objects as cover, but I genuinely had a hard time stopping behind them with any sense of consistency. It's that fast. I don't think this is a good thing, not at all.
There can be a lot going on in fights, and you just don't have the time to comprehend it. After level three there's a miniboss, called the bombadier. He throws bombs. Makes sense, right? Except that he also throws fans of knives. And he also summons randomly spawning rocks throughout the room. And also there's at least four different types of bombs he spawns. Also he can run very fast, and spends most of his time off-screen while you're frantically trying to figure out if this bomb explodes in a + or an X, so you can't even throw incidental damage at him while dodging. And this is just a miniboss!
Enemies can spawn in huge clusters right near the doors, giving you no time to react. If you get mobbed you're kind of in a spot. Unless you have a knockback spell equipped then you have to physics your way out of them. It's nice that you can
push enemies around, but the game is so quick that often it's all you have time to do.
When you level up, the game waits to tell you until after the fight. This is pretty great. It automatically pops up the box that gives you the choice of perk and you don't have to worry about getting mobbed the moment you click one. However, the game also doesn't let you click anything until it finishes playing the 'you levelled up' ditty. It just... stops for a moment.
The spells. My goodness, the spells are so good. You can make one-, two- or three-element spells, with repeats allowed. The game tells me that's a total of 285 spells, and I believe it. You start off knowing all of the one-element spells, and I have crafted all of the two-element ones and a half-dozen of the threes, and they're very well varied. There's direct damage spells, aoe spells, buffs, debuffs, you name it.
This is where the wonderful variety of statistics comes into play. You have damage and bullet speed and bullet duration and size and dot damage and knockback to name just a few that appear on spells, and then characters have movespeed and health and armour and elemental skill and crit chance and density and so many others that there is just a whole heap of room for spells to be different in! It's great!
The game makes you feel like a pretty badass wizard, and I have to commend it for that. It's really fantastic in that respect. It's one of the best games I've ever played like that.
Level design is good and varied. Each arena is different enough to feel interesting, and the enemies with zones of effect are just the right size to have an impact and let you play around.
Enemy AI seems pretty smart. If you go invulnerable then they run away from you. They can try to dodge bullets, especially elites.
Bosses are hugely varied, but, again, perhaps a little too busy. There is an awful lot going on in any boss fight, and it gets very hard to follow very quickly. This was my experience in the first boss I encountered: "Oh, so he's immune to damage? Okay, I'll wait it out. It's not ending. Oh, so I can stand on his head to hurt him. King of the hill, no problem. Okay, so those are knockback attacks bouncing around. Makes sense, this is the storm boss. Okay, so bouncing off the walls deals damage? or is it those red areas? Okay, so dodging is hard when his face covers the spells, but almost down to the last quarter and- oh. Dead. So he shoots lightning at the end, centred on his head, where I had to have been standing to damage him up until this point. Well that's good to know if I ever have to fight him again. Back to floor one again." And this hasn't been an isolated incident, this has happened with just about every boss. There's just no way of knowing what the attacks are going to do, or what hurts or where to stand. There's no telegraphing.
I encountered a fair number of bugs, but the devs seem to be working on most of them. It's a small team, so this is entirely understandable and I don't hold it against them.
And now for the nail in the coffin. My final comment: The art is... There's no two ways about this: it's really bad.
There is a grand total of one, yes: one, casting animation. In a game about casting spells. A firepit is a reddish smudge, a mudslide is a brownish smudge, ice is, you guessed it, a bluish smudge. An air elemental, a creature, is a whitish smudge Every other creature in the game is done in pixel art, but not the air elementals. This is probably my biggest gripe with the game. I think that hiring a professional artist could double, perhaps even triple the quality of the game.
Now you could argue that it's going for a "retro pixel style", but that doesn't stop it from being a terrible example of such. The only animations that you ever see are: walking in the four cardinal directions, walking while shooting in four cardinal directions. And notice that that's the direction you're shooting. The animation's the same no matter which way you're going if you're shooting, say, to the right. That's it, that's all there is. And it's not even a particularly good walk animation, just leg up, leg down. Standing still is even just a still frame from the walk animation, as far as I can tell.
So, the verdict. Is it worth your money? Not at the moment. Perhaps after a few patches, and preferably a makeover, then I could recommend it, but not as it currently stands.
I will edit this review if anything changes.