Page 8 ending with some emotions.
Ruya is an atmospheric puzzle game by Miracle Tea, an indie company out of the UK that has a penchant for the most comforting aesthetic. Players follow the surreal experience of Ruya herself after she goes through an emotional point in her life. This results in the growing of antlers for some unknown reason, and she enters a meditative state in order to find some kind of solution to this newfound problem. How? By entering different worlds.
Ruya falls into the category of ‘Match 3’ stylized puzzle games, as players are attempting to join like-coloured characters together in different patterns indicated near Ruya herself. These colour combinations are needed to fill a quota for each coloured being on the bottom, and the level is complete when all of the beings have reached 0 and are hovering above the ground. This is the only player interaction, however, as players are also in charge of adding the new colours themselves. Unlike in other titles where new colours are added at the top upon matches, Ruya herself is holding onto the next token that players can add to the matrix with her forehead indicating the next colour afterwards. It becomes a game of balancing which matches can and should be taken based on what colours are coming up next and which pattern is needed. Thankfully adding colours to the matrix does not consume a turn, so setting up the board in an optimal way is possible — needing the board to be reset does however, so keep that in mind.
What sets Ruya apart from other Match 3 style games is in its presentation, specifically in the story it is telling through its mechanics. Ruya is not just matching colours together for the sake of gameplay, but as a calming mechanism for her inner turmoil. The intro gives some context into her situation, her sadness stemming from the loneliness creating by the rejection and departure of her partner. These antlers that have grown are symbolic of this weight that now hovers within her now that she is alone, even with her children being there to support her. To combat this, this meditative state she enters, one where she attempts to bring inner peace and order to other worlds, seems reflective of her own journey in the attempt to accept what has occurred to her and find the strength to move on. Each level, the colours that are matched dissolve and become flowers that attach themselves to her antlers, gathering as experiences of each meditation before purifying herself of them at the end.
Mental health does things to one’s memories, and Ruya’s journey uncovers many of her memories that she at one time may have wished to forget. This is the player’s window into her life, showing not only her journey at the present to bring acceptance to her life but also give context as to how she arrived at the situation players found her in the first place. It’s an adventure for the player to experience hers, through the relaxing gameplay of a Match 3 with a cute aesthetic and soothing audio to match. It’s compelling in its relaxation, and recovering Ruya’s memories to help her is the least I could do.
If you are one that enjoys Match 3’s and wanting a plot equal parts comforting and inspiring, Ruya is an adventure to experience.
I didn’t plan this out very well did I. Didn’t realize this was the last entry in page 8 until today. Woops.
Software up later today, Page 9 starting tomorrow.