Aarik & The Ruined Kingdom

Shatterproof Games surprises us with a relaxing puzzle adventure. In Aarik & The Ruined Kingdom lateral thinking will be our best ally.

Aarik & The Ruined Kingdom presents itself as a relaxing puzzle adventure with fairytale hues. Before talking about this demo it is worth talking about Shatterproof Games: software house and producer of the game.

Shatterproof Games was born with the hope of expanding the indie scene and rediscovering simple but interesting gameplay. It’s a UK software house, founded by Richard Kirk, who is Director, Tech Artist and creator of Aarik & The Ruined Kingdom. A small independent studio that focuses its game design philosophy on making the player “think” and on the satisfaction that comes from solving problems or puzzles.

Richard has worked for 12 years in various areas of the gaming industry. He finally decided to create his own game.

A Little Big Idea

A good puzzle game generally starts with simple ideas. It’s then up to the developers’ ability to make them interesting and make them progress within the game. It is immediately clear that Aarik & The Ruined Kingdom leverages the player’s lateral thinking. Logically unsolvable paths or puzzles find a solution by changing the approach or point of view.

Although we were able to play a short demo, Aarik & The Ruined Kingdom has the makings of being a good title.

Let’s try to understand something about the story and game mechanics.

Story and Game Mechanics

In the role of Aarik we find ourselves embarking on a journey that starts from the ruins of our castle to different settings. The kingdom is in ruins, our father seems asleep and sick and we must search for our mother, the Queen.

As per tradition of the puzzle genre we have several rooms to overcome. In the first room we find the first item: the Crown of Perception. When a path seems ruined, just changing your point of view can overcome the problem. Aimless paths are transformed into comfortable streets, thanks to a level design that also takes advantage of verticality.

Another mechanic will be the Ruby of Rejuvenation. In a kingdom now in ruins this gem allows us to repair damaged objects and the environment.

During the demo we can only try these two items, but for the record there are other gems. The Sapphire of Control, the Amethyst of Rotation and the Emerald of Growth.

In addition to these mechanics there are the classic switches, platforms and the physics of objects to move or break.

A Game in Development

Aarik & The Ruined Kingdom is still in development and is scheduled for release on June 20, 2024 on Steam and later on Nintendo Switch. The demo includes the first chapter of the 5 total that make up the story. For now we have been able to play 7 levels, with a graphic style made of soft and relaxing colors. Each setting has its own charm and complexity. The last levels develop with an original and quite complex verticality. Each level has little secrets to look for, optional to the rest of the story.

The music is relaxing, simple but well constructed. Thanks to Ben Morgan, also an expert in the sector.

We have yet to see the full development, but the first steps are promising.

Download the Demo from Steam too.

Enjoy the Demo!

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I’m a musician (pianist), a nerd and a longtime manga lover.
My gamer life started with a copy of Pitfall (1982) for Atari 2600, and so I grew up hand to hand with this medium until now. Later I started to look for what’s behind the final product, its design and what happens behind the scenes of the video game world.