Rise to Ruins

  • Multiple game modes and varied starting locations provides great replay opportunities
  • Mixture of game genres mashed together results in a potent blend of mechanics
  • Limited in game documentation to learn mechanics with reliance on trial and error
  • Lacks some quality of life requirements that may frustrate your progression

Rise to Ruins (previously Retro-Pixel Castles) challenges you to survive in a game that blends colony management, tower defence, god like powers and survival into a single game. With noted inspiration from the likes of Banished and Dwarf Fortress but offering something different at the same time Rise to Ruins has gained wide audience appeal during its development cycle.


The core experience in Rise to Ruins though is the management of your village which is presented in a pixel like design as you play as the overseer of your pixel world. While the game mode you select will dictate your ultimate goal a central theme is pushing your village to survive for as long as possible using the tools you have available.

While you have plenty of tools to do so Rise to Ruins is designed as a game where you’ll learn from your mistakes for the next adventure and hopefully be able to push further with the additional game knowledge you’ve gained between attempts. As a result players that can take each loss and use it as a learning experience will thrive on the Rise to Ruins game system while others may become quickly frustrated.


The core game (survival mode) also leans heavily into this design with players almost intended to lose constantly due to the every increasing strength of your enemies in this mode. Second to this is traditional that features the same core mechanics although features toned down difficulty so that you can focus on village management and explore the breadth of mechanics with little threat of becoming overwhelmed.

If you’d rather lean into this peaceful vibe then the peaceful mode removes all the monsters so you can focus solely on village creation and also serves as a potential training mode to non combat mechanics. Alternatively for players that want to double down on survival you’ll find the nightmare mode exists that pushes Rise to Ruins to complete insanity.


When this diverse roster of game modes and an additional completely custom mode is paired with the range of map themes that once again tweak your challenge the replay value is exceedingly high in Rise to Ruins. Actual gameplay sees players selecting their mode and then selecting one of dozens of starting locations on the world map that each present their own pros and cons. At its simplest form is the terrain type that will influence your ability to create a defensible position against invasion. Terrain is pivotal given your primary defence against the undead hordes of Rise to Ruins is the typography, walls you construct and towers that shoot traditional ammo and magic at incoming foes.

From this point you’ll guide your village with commands to harvest resources (wood, water and stone) or build structures that serve resource, utility or defensive needs. Further optimisation in Rise to Ruins relies on players managing worker assignment to specific buildings, pushing towards advanced resources and managing trash output.


  • Play one of many game modes that alter your experience from nightmarishly difficult to peaceful village management.
  • Core survival mode that is designed to never truly be beaten with a continuing level of difficulty to push your planning as far as possible.
  • Combine god powers with village simulation as you call on spells from above and instruct your villagers to perform actions.
  • Use tower defence style gameplay to defend against the undead with terrain, towers and walls pivotal to your success.
  • Choose your specific starting location on a varied game map to alter your experience each time that you play.



Review Platform: PC

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Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 amassing over 3 million views on YouTube and 10 million article views on HubPages.

Games Finder is a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review scores data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.
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