The sidescrolling platformer really seems to be the go-to genre for independent game developers since it’s both relatively easy to make games with and has a lot of creative potential. This is what the two-man team of Hopoo Games had thought of as well, and they had decided to add a bit of role-playing elements into their game to create what could be seen as the Dark Souls of platformers. With the help of Kickstarter, these two university students were able to come up with a fun game in their spare time Risk of Rain has both the looks and substance that gamers should be able to appreciate.
Risk of Rain is a sidescrolling action platformer with character development elements that let players pick a character class and level it up throughout the game. Your character was once on board a ship before it was destroyed and its contents scattered around a planet, so you must now travel through teleportation gates while collecting those objects to help you with your fight for survival. Along the way, foes of different shapes and sizes try to stop you, but you do have abilities that help you take them out, so long as there isn’t too many of them coming at you aggressively.
Controls consist of movement, jumping, interacting with objects, and using your abilities to attack and defend. As far as responsiveness is concerned, you need not worry too much as your jumps can be made as accurate as you want them to. The various character classes you get to choose from as you play more, a whopping ten in total, have their own unique abilities that suit different tactics and playing styles, so there’s more than one way to play this game. This goes with learning about the different types of enemies you may come across, as well as their stronger variations that come up when you level up. You must also negotiate gaps, ladders, ropes, jump pads, and so on to reach higher levels in order to reach
The levels are randomly generated, so the exploration factor of the game doesn’t get old quickly. When you kill an enemy, you receive money and experience, the latter of which then levels you up when you fill the blue bar below your health meter while your money is indicated on the top left. You can then get to procure the said items that gives you various uses and effects that help you, but at the cost of some money. The variety of items that you find is quite vast, which makes up for most of this game’s staying power.
Once you have reached the teleportation gate and activate it, you must then wait as it warms up and try to survive the waves of enemies that come at you in the meantime, including a sub-boss. This does mean that you would want to be at a sufficient level before proceeding, but you also wouldn’t want to stay too long in one level since it gets progressively more difficult as time goes by and as you gain more levels. Once you’ve realized this, then you start to get a feel for how difficult this game is.
Aside from the singleplayer, there is also 4-player local and online co-op modes that make gameplay deeper and more fun. Being able to have other players take care of enemies in situations that may be insurmountable when playing solo adds new dynamics to the experience. As for the visuals, the game features a clean faux 8-bit style with earthy tones that is reminiscent of Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, but more high-res since this was main primarily for the PC. The sound effects are also pretty good and the soundtrack is well done, courtesy of composer Chris Christodoulou. It really gives you that eerie sense of being a lone survivor of a derelict spaceship who must now travel strange lands and battle foes in order to stay alive.
The random nature of the levels do pose a few issues with clipping and the placement of some items and so on, but it’s no real biggie. Perhaps this game wouldn’t be good for anyone who is not really into platformers or the whole pseudo-retro style, which some gamers are starting to tire of since the indie scene is saturated with them. But if you are one of those who is still interested despite that, then you’ll find it Risk of Rain to be both challenging and engaging.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 8.5/10