Ring Runner's ship customization allows you to change just about everything you can, but it isn't easy
There are so many different combinations of equipment and hulls that you can assemble, that you could spend almost as much time within this one area of the game as you do playing through the campaign. That would be fine if there was some easy way to compare/contrast the different pieces of equipment so you knew exactly what it was that you were getting by opting for this shield versus that shield, but much of that comparison comes from visually watching a set of bars increase/decrease as you swap the different parts out. It isn’t exactly a user-friendly interface as you can’t even see what different parts are available to you if you’ve completely filled up an equipment slot to its limit.
For example, let’s say you got a new engine from the shop and you want to test it out in your ship. You go into the customization screen and the engine for this particular ship has a limit of four spaces. The current engine takes up three of those spaces and a mod takes up another one, so the “Equippable Items” window shows up blank. When you remove the existing engine, you can then see the other equipment you have that can be equipped, but then you no longer see what the previous engine did for your acceleration, top speed, and rotation. So you’ll have to equip that engine again, take a mental snapshot, unequip it, and then equip the new engine and compare. Like I said, not the most user- friendly of systems. Fortunately, you can save and load templates of the different ships, so you’re never stuck having to recreate a working combination from scratch.
The other good news is that all of that customization is entirely optional. After you complete the two hour tutorial (it sounds like a lot, but trust me, you’ll want to do it), you’ll be given a few different ships to use that don’t require any tweaking at all. Each comes loaded out in such a way that they’ll get you through the rest of the campaign just fine. If you do decide to make some changes, be prepared. Outside of what the game gives you, all other pieces of equipments and hulls have to be unlocked through research (basically select what you want to research from the game’s Shop and allow the specified amount of time to pass) and then purchased with plex (i.e., money). Plex is earned by completing missions in the campaign or by participating in multiplayer matches, but it’s not acquired at a very quick pace. Regrettably, this research and earning of plex is the only way to unlock all of the different ships that will allow for local co-op play all the way through the campaign.
Battle with friends against computer controlled enemies in one of the five different online co-op modes
Ring Runner’s co-op is largely an online affair through the five different game modes mentioned before (i.e., Space Defense League, Wave Survival, Zombie Survival, Gladiator, and Spire Battle). However, local co-op is supported with a gamepad device for one specific ship class: the Duo. These ships allow for one player to steer/fly the ship and maybe activate a special ability or two using the keyboard and mouse or gamepad device, while the second player mans the turret and shoots down foes using the other one. Determining who does what is determined by the "Bind Abilities" option within the ship customization screen, where each of the ship's weapons and abilities can be mapped to either a keyboard/mouse control, or a gamepad button.
While you may be thinking, "great, just get through the tutorial and I'm home free to play with a buddy," I've got some bad news. There is, regrettably, a barrier to local co-op play throughout the entire campaign. There is one Duo ship for each of the five archetypes and some of the missions you encounter will require the use of an archetype that you're not given by the game. Specifically, you’ll need the Duo hulls that follow the Grappler and Rogue archetypes and they're not cheap. Each one costs 125,000 plex, plus research time.
It was very disheartening when I was able to finally tell my co-op partner, “ok, we can play together now,” get through two missions, and then the very next mission be one where a Grappler archetype was required. Unfortunately for us both, I didn’t have the plex required to buy it, so she had to sit around for one mission watching me play.