The game is a chunky action RPG that sees you playing a burly warrior with a bunch of weapons, a penchant for murder, and the ability to throw magical balls of energy around. You control everything with a clutch of buttons that clutter up the bottom of the screen – poke around a joystick to move, mash some icons to slice up anything that comes close to you.
You can also swipe to move the camera – and you’re going to need to because there’s no lock-on feature when the fights get going. Sometimes you’ll be looking in completely the wrong direction, trying to see what’s hitting you, all the while incapable of doing anything because the digit you use to look is also the digit you use to attack.
There’s a dodge button as well, but it never seems to take you far enough away from a scrap to actually make any difference. Every kill gives you souls, which you can spend on new equipment and spells, but they’re very expensive, and it’s going to take you a spectacular amount of time to get any of them.
There’s nothing wrong with grind when it’s done right, but here it’s just painful. The fights aren’t entertaining; often you’ll be overwhelmed within a couple of minutes of starting, and once you know you’re doomed there’s almost nothing you can do.
Ria looks the part, sometimes, but there’s plenty in the game that feels like a placeholder asset – there are orbs floating around that act as gateways and signs, but they look like they’ve been lifted from a sci-fi game, not the dark fantasy world Ria is going for. Captions are so small they’re difficult to read, and when you do manage they’re often littered with spelling and grammar mistakes.
There’s definitely potential in Ria, but right now it’s a broken and clunky mess. When it needs to draw you deeper, it pushes you away; when it needs to be fun, it’s just frustrating; when it needs to make you feel like a hero in the midst of an epic adventure, it makes you feel like a confused drunk stumbling between brawls you can’t hope to win.
It’s obvious that Ria wants to be mentioned in the same breath as the Dark Souls games, but right now it’d be impossible to do that without laughing.
It’s hard to pick anything out of the mess that is Ria to really highlight. The character models are at least interesting, but when you’re mashing a screen, trying and failing to fight an army of goblins and giant spiders, it’s not really going to matter.
A clunky and clumsy tech demo that sometimes looks quite nice, but doesn’t do much else.
Genre: Action / RPG
Release: Out now