I bought this game several years ago (April 2014, to be exact) because some of my friends at work were talking about it and discussing how much fun it’d be to get together and play it. So I went home, bought it for $2.99, and sat in front of my computer, fuming. It was only available for download to PCs, and I had a Mac. So I did what any normal person would do: I researched how to hack my computer to make ROR run. It was through a program named WineSkin, and it worked like a charm until I had someone install BootCamp on my computer so I could play ALL the PC games.
Risk of Rain is unforgiving. I’ll start off with that. What looks like a fun little pixel platformer/adventure game is really just something designed to make you grind your teeth in frustration and scream.
When you die, you die. That’s it. Game over. No resurrections. All those minutes (and later hours) you put into the game, all the upgrades, everything you’d collected, are gone.
I’d never played a game like that before, so when I experienced my first death in the game, I simply stared at the screen. The last thirty minutes of work was just gone. I was so frustrated and wondered why anyone would ever consider a game like that fun.
Fast-forward two years. I get BootCamp installed and decide to give ROR another go, mostly because I had a player two to give it a shot with me. I loved it. I could play for hours without losing a step. It got even better once I unlocked the (spoiler alert!) relic that allows you to CHOOSE which item you get from chest drops. It’s the best thing about the game, so you really have to strategize and figure out which load-out works best for you.
I love item collecting in games (*ahem* Skyrim), and there are so many items to collect in this game. You’ve got everything from active items to passive items, from ones that increase your health, to ones that increase your attack speed, to some that create ghosts of the enemy characters that then tear those aforementioned enemies into bits. When you take away the random factor of the chest drops, you would think the game would get easier, but that’s not the case. There’s always a chance for things to go wrong in Risk of Rain. You can continue to stack items, though, and there are plenty of guides around that tell you how many times you can stack these items before they begin to lose their effectiveness.
Each of the characters has a very unique fighting style, and aside from your default character, the Commando (who, honestly, is my main), they all need to be unlocked in some way or another, whether that be finding (and fighting!) them in-game, or triggering a certain sequence of events (like beating the game 5 times). I’m a fan of the ranged characters, but I’m trying to get into the melee ones (because otherwise it’ll get boring fast). There do seem to be more melee characters than ranged, and that is probably my only complaint about character selection.
The “random” levels aren’t quite as random, either. If you play through a couple dozen times, you’ll eventually see all of the randomized forms and know how to get around them. The locations of the teleporter, chests, shrines, etc. all change with each level, though, so even though you may have seen the level design before, that doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s going to be the same.
I love the increasing difficulty, although once you get to the maximum difficulty, you’re probably already more than well equipped to deal with anything thrown your way, and while it doesn’t exactly ever get /easy/, your fear of dying lessens. The final few levels slow my computer to a crawl, though, because it doesn’t have the processing power required to have all of the ballistics on-screen at once. Tony’s gonna help me build a gaming computer soon, so that won’t be an issue for much longer.
Overall, TL;DR? It’s a fantastic game with some truly challenging fights (mostly when it’s one verses several dozen), but it boils down to a “shoot everything before it shoots you” style of game, and while I’m sure y’all have played something like this before, this was a first for me, and I found it extremely enjoyable. I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth out of it. I Recommend it to anyone looking for a challenge. I’ve put over 180 hours into this game, and I’m not looking to slow down any time soon.