Risk Of Rain 2 Review – When It Rains It Pours

As we prepared to take on Risk of Rain 2‘s final boss, we took a moment to take stock of our Survivors. My co-op partner had three syringes filled with glowing green slime jutting out of his hip, a sword at his side and a crown on his head. A leech was suctioned onto my head, a teddy bear stuck to my shoulder and John Lennon glasses stretched around the front of my domed helmet. Each of these baubles represented a perk we had acquired over the course of our headlong rush to the final boss. This is the kind of game Risk of Rain 2 is. At the end of a run, you can see every advantage that you have collected, all hanging off of your once-simple character model like fuzzy dice on a car mirror.

And, as it launches into 1.0, Hopoo Games’ third-person shooter roguelike has a year-and-a-half of early access in its rearview. I didn’t play the game during pre-release, so I can’t testify to how much content this version adds to what was already there. But I can say that Risk of Rain 2 is a breakneck experience that builds and builds and builds. This is not a game of peaks and valleys. Risk of Rain 2 is all climb until you reach the summit. That’s its greatest strength–and its only real notable weakness.

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Each run begins with your Survivor emerging from an escape pod onto a hostile alien world. This landscape is largely empty. Lo-fi music plays. It’s generally pretty chill and evocative for the first few seconds. But then you’re assaulted by a horde of low-level creatures. At the top right corner of the screen, a meter slowly moves right, upping the difficulty from Easy to Medium to Hard (and up and up and up until the difficulty bar just reads “HAHAHAHAHA”) as a run progresses. Each level ends when you find and activate a teleporter, summoning a boss monster, which you must defeat to use the portal. In between entrance and exodus, Risk of Rain 2’s world is full of interesting decisions and secrets. You may want to sacrifice half your health at the Altar of Blood for rewards down the line. Or you might summon double the boss monsters for a shot at double rewards. Get lost long enough in your search for the teleporter and you may find an underground passage where you can find a hidden code etched on a tablet, which can be used to access a secret realm. As you explore, the world is gradually filling up with enemies; the music is, smartly, slowly building to an all-out guitar-wailing crescendo.

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