A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Runers is a simple downloadable dungeon-crawling game with role-playing elements. Players pick a hero and an initial spell and dive into randomly generated dungeons, casting magical attacks at a mix of humanoid and fantastical enemies. The violence is mild -- the game's tiny enemies simply flash and disappear when struck and defeated -- but combat is pretty much the only thing players get into aside from combining runes to make new spells. It's also challenging. Younger kids will likely grow frustrated by the need to restart from scratch each time they die, which will be frequently.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
RUNERS puts players in the shoes of a sorcerer embarking on a quest to clear a dungeon of its foul fantastical inhabitants. The adventure starts with players choosing a hero and an initial spell. They're then dropped into an empty room in the first level of a dungeon randomly generated by the game. Moving from room to room, the hero defeats foes by casting a variety of magical spells, nimbly dodging enemies and attacks all the while. Sometimes enemies drop runes, which players can collect and combine in hundreds of ways by using a simple spell-crafting module to create new and more powerful magical attacks. When heroes level up, they earn a new permanent trait that confers an advantage, such as an increase to one or more character stats. Eventually your hero will find a stairway down to another level, descend, and then start the process of exploration all over again. The goal of the game is simply to get as far into the dungeon as possible, growing more powerful and scoring more points along the way.
Is it any good?
Runers' decidedly niche appeal is twofold: crafting spells and testing your skills against hordes of computer-controlled enemies. The spell-making module is simple -- just drop runes into slots and click "combine" -- but it carries with it the thrill of discovery thanks to the vast array of spells players can invent. Then the focus shifts to figuring out how best to exploit the spell. What form does it take? How much damage does it deal? How fast is it? How wide is the area of effect?
These riddles are answered in challenging dungeon battles that demand constant strafing and precision aiming. Eventually you'll die, likely sooner rather than later. Then it starts all over again. Clearly, Runers isn't for everyone. Kids who aren't into magic and don’t enjoy fast-paced, difficult combat can safely skip it. But fantasy fans who dig tough indie games could have a lot of fun.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fantasy. Do you enjoy the imaginative worlds and creatures depicted in fantasy movies, books, and games? What makes fantasy so compelling to so many people?
Struggling through challenging tasks isn't always fun, but it can make success more satisfying. Have you ever done something that you thought was really hard and eventually achieved your goal? How did you feel?
- Platforms: Windows
- Price: $9.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Let's Get Kraken
- Release date: September 2, 2014
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: NR for Not Rated
- Last updated: February 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.