By: Jeff Cater
Risk of Rain is an action platforming game with light roguelike elements. Developer Hopoo Games assigns us with the task of exploring an ever-dangerous alien world and bringing humongous beasts down to their knees in a calming, minimalist romp.
CONTROLS (4.5/5 – Vita; 3.5/5 – PS4)
On the DualShock 4, your special powers are bound to the triggers and shoulder buttons, leaving little to be done with the face buttons aside from jumping with “X” and opening crates with Square. After a bit of practice it’s simple enough to get used to, but over on the Vita the Triangle and Circle button govern two of your powers rather than the bumpers.
It might not sound like much, but most character types actually benefit from the Vita layout. For example, the very first character you have is a sort of space commando with a roll/evasion move. On the PS4, the button to execute it is R1. On the Vita, it’s done with Circle.
In a game like this where you’re constantly jumping over enemies and projectiles, sliding your thumb over to the Circle button is a much more comfortable and easy thing to do rather than using a bumper.
While Risk of Rain features 8-bit inspired graphics, it (thankfully) utilizes a much wider color palette. The level design is kept pretty clean of clutter, so keeping track of yourself and your enemies isn’t all that difficult. That being said, it can still happen when the screen starts to swarm with enemies during boss fights.
It also doesn’t help that your onscreen character is so bleeding small and that the camera is set extremely far away from the action. The interface displaying your health, cooldowns, etc. is pretty clean if not a bit chunky, but it fits the rest of the design perfectly.
Prepare to leak from any of your worn-out orifices if you’re wearing a pair of headphones, the music is just great. Tunes reminiscent of Super Metroid fill the audio space, and each new stage features a new song just as good as the last.
On each strange alien world you’re deposited on, your mission is to track down a randomly placed teleporter and extract to the next location. On your way, you’ll face several types of weird aliens with all different sorts of talents, like jellyfish that can charge you or giant obelisk-like creatures that punch you across the screen.
If you decide to hang around the level for a while, be wary, because enemies will actually become tougher and more numerous the longer you linger. This is where the game gets the roguelike aspect, because you’ll indeed be granted more experience and gold while facing tougher enemies, but should you happen to bite it during that time it’s a one-way ticket back to the beginning.
Unlocking new characters by completing various objectives is quite rewarding, because each character has a drastically unique play style, and there’s certain to be someone for everyone here. Moving onto either local or online co-op and finding a perfect team for glory is also a lot of fun.
If you’re playing Risk of Rain solo it might get a bit frustrating, but it can become incredibly easy to the point where, if you’ve simply purchased and found the right items, you can literally blow through a boss fight in seconds. When this doesn’t happen, Risk of Rain is a challenging and addictive roguelike platformer with some kickass tunes.