Risk of Rain – Review

Title   Risk of Rain
Developer  Hopoo Games
Publisher  Chucklefish Games
Platform  PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS
Genre  Action platformer/adventure
Release Date  April 12th, 2016
Official Site  http://riskofraingame.com/

riskofrainrev1Right. Get out your indie game checklist.

2D. Check.
Retro graphics. Check.
Roguelike. Check.
Fuck this game clean off. No check!

Yes. It looks like Terraria. Yes, like everything else on PSN it’s a fucking Roguelike. I should hate it but here’s the thing… Risk of Rain is the shit. The plot is inconsequential. You’re on an alien planet and you need to survive. Each of the game’s levels tells you do one thing: find the teleporter. The levels aren’t huge but you’ll need to explore if you want to find the exit. In fact, the level size is just right. Everything, it seems, about Risk of Rain, is just right.

This is a platform shooter of sorts; you run around and shoot things. Little alien bastards. You want off the planet and they want you dead. You’re armed but they’ve got the numbers on you and they teleport in, so you’re never really safe. Each enemy drops money and gives you XP, which helps you level up (which increases your health and damage output) and the cash is used to open chests and vending machines. These give you power-ups. Risk of Rain has LOTS of power-ups. The idea is that as the enemies get stronger and more numerous, you get more powerful, and this is very much the case. The power-ups that you acquire give you all sorts of abilities, and they stack, so you’re always improving. They let you run faster, jump higher, detonate enemies, regen health and all sorts of things. To be honest, there’s at least fifty of them and most of the fun comes from finding them.


A clever in-game achievements system also unlocks new ones to be found during gameplay. Beating a level in five minutes or killing a boss when under 20% health, for example, will unlock new things to play with, and there’s a lot of these achievements and a great many new toys.

Roguelikes live and die on progression. That’s why Rogue Legacy is great and why no-one gives a fuck about Flame Over. It’s all about the progress and that’s where the addictiveness comes from. Risk of Rain is the best at this – you’re always getting better. My first attempts on the game felt like FUCK. THIS. But then it clicked; I spent time finding power-ups and then I was dominating the game.

riskofrainrev3Risk of Rain is the best. It’s just made up entirely of good design choices. For a start, there are no bad power-ups. Sure, some aren’t as good as others but nothing impedes you – it’s all progress. It’s all good. All the time. There are boss battles but these aren’t chores, they are good. There is platforming but it’s not hateful, it’s all just about searching. The combat itself is also fantastic, with you having to use your abilities wisely in order to survive the huge swarms of enemy attacks that come.

Aside from unlocking power-ups, you also unlock character classes, which change up the gameplay further. Admittedly, I mostly liked the default Commando class but the others are all worth playing as to see what you like, and they’ve all got their own in-game achievements (with unlockable rewards), too. The only downside is that the graphics are very tiny and pixellated. Retro is in and all that but this doesn’t look retro, it just looks basic. It doesn’t take you back to the ’80s, instead it just looks like Terraria zoomed out. It’s not authentically retro but nor does it get in the way of the action.


The soundtrack is gold though. Eighties synths make it all sound like the soundtrack to Fright Night. That’s so cool (Brewster). The most remarkable thing about Risk of Rain is that it just does so much with the concept and never seems to make any bad choices. I thoroughly enjoyed the 10+ hours I put in in order to max out the trophies but this game isn’t getting abandoned. I’ll be dipping into Risk of Rain for a long time.

  • The best Roguelike gameplay ever
  • Brilliant power-ups
  • Exciting combat
  • Addictiveness in spades
  • Tight controls
  • Equally good on PS4 or Vita (Cross-buy)
  • Graphics are a bit basic

Risk of Rain is greatness. It's not Terraria, it's not a game about feelings. It's just a very good platform shooter with the strongest Roguelike mechanics ever to grace a game. Risk of Rain just does little wrong and everything right.

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One Comment

  1. Chris Chris says:

    Looks awesome, sounds awesome. I have monies, it’s on the list.

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