Action games have come a long way. Just look at Tomb Raider, it has blossomed into a thing of beauty from a 32-bit PlayStation game to a .. 32-bit.. PlaySt.. ANYWAY, yes, but Risk of Rain is living proof that you don’t need super high-tech visuals to make a great action game.
All you need is brilliant gameplay, some pixels and two thumbs… oh, and a couple of fingers. A computer may also be needed, but that’s besides the point, Risk of Rain puts you in command of a Commando who has to jump, shoot and climb his way to victory.
Victory comes in the form of finding a teleporter to send you to another swarm infested hell-hole, but with different things coming at you, I can only describe them as ‘things’ since they’re randomly generated and can look like anything from radioactive limes to toadstools with legs.
It’s all-out action, you’re lucky if you manage to find somewhere to rest for a minute to regain health and that usually happens while you’re hanging on a vine or halfway up a ladder, thankfully, the multitude of creatures can’t climb. Unless they happen to move over a geyser-type jet which boosts them in the air and land on the same platform as you’re about to climb up to.
The controls may seem a little overwhelming at first, but they’re really not that complicated unless you’re like me and forget which button does what. Directional and jump, oh fine, no problem, it’s when you need to get the heck outta there by doing a tactical dive, enabling you to roll briefly out of danger you forget the button.
That’s just one of the four abilities at your disposal, the others being Double Tap – provides a bit of extra damage, Full Metal Jacket – a good way to blast to enemy away from you, while providing 230% damage. Lastly, Suppressive Fire – like it says on the tin, rapid fire to stun enemies and cause 480% damage.
It can get quite annoying when you get a load of jellyfish coming at you, the idea is to go through the level and find the teleporter, you get enemies spawning all over the place, but when the jellyfish arrive, you may as well commit suicide. One, you could handle quite easily, three is just ridiculous when mixed with a whole host of things also trying to kill you.
That’s when droids come in to play. Scattered throughout the levels are remnants of space debris and containers which can be opened, some need money. The containers hold items like chunks of meat and mysterious vials which can help recover health quicker. Droids can follow you around and help shoot stuff, but can also be damaged and cost more money to repair.
The difficulty settings have a wide berth between them. Drizzle is for newcomers to action-platformer shooters and while not too difficult, any progress isn’t saved. You know just how much of a challenge the developers wanted you to have when you choose Rainstorm, the default setting which should really be called sh*tstorm since that’s what you encounter.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and wish to last no longer than 30 seconds, choose Monsoon. The game gets quite ridiculous on normal, the inclusion of a hard difficulty seems redundant when it’s near impossible to survive for much longer than the time it takes your brain to send the signal to your fingers and do something.
Risk of Rain – The Verdict
My only concern is how many enemies can spawn when you’re trying to take out existing ones and it all gets a bit stupid. The intensity increases over time, but it can happen within the first couple of minutes, regardless of how much you’ve levelled up by then.
Graphics may be simple, that’s the charm of Risk of Rain and as I said at the start of this review, you don’t need spectacular visuals for a game of this calibre. When it comes to indie games, it’s understandable games won’t have the AAA quality you get from big studios, that doesn’t matter when you have the sound and gameplay down to perfection.
While it may get a little frustrating, you can’t help but have one more go and what helps with the replayability is there’s an item log which keeps track of all the items you find or buy from capsules. You can also find monster logs, but the most important aspect of replaying the game is to try to beat your survival time, oh and try to get all the in-game achievements (as well as Steam cheevo’s).
You’re getting an excellent game for the money. Lot’s of action, every time you play it’s a different scenario and you can easily lose a big chunk of time before you know it.