Shoot, loot, die, repeat.
This common gameplay loop is simple enough, but it seems so few developers get it right. They over-complicate it, make it too easy and boring, or they add microtransactions which ruin the process and game.
Recently though, an indie game that seemingly appeared out of nowhere has been making waves because of the shoot-loot-die system that was reinvented and implemented in a way that is simple enough to grasp easily, deep enough to allow for some strategizing and incentive to grind, and just being overall plain fun. Grab your ponchos, because we’re talking about Risk of Rain 2.
The concept of Risk of Rain 2 is simple: you and up to 3 friends pick one of the several character classes available in the game that have a variety of traversal and offensive abilities, you shoot monsters that get increasingly harder over time, and you pick up loot found in chests located around the map to give you bonuses and make you stronger until you and your group are overcome by monsters and die.
There are limited chests and loot in each instance and to traverse to a new instance you must find a teleporter that, when activated, spawns a boss for that stage. After you kill the boss, you activate the teleporter again and go to another instance. The process is repeated over and over with monsters getting stronger based on how long the session lasts. The first 10 minutes are cake; but, by 45 minutes, you can get insta-gibbed by almost anything.
The gameplay of this spectacular indie features a high octane run-and-gun play style with several enemy types that all want to kill you and your buddies. Each of the several enemy types have unique attacks that can be dodged. An example of such is the stone golem-like creature that is featured in all of the maps: the rocky monster has a red laser beam that charges up over a few seconds before shooting and tracks players through movement. This is simple by itself, but add in several of these beams combined with many other enemy types, each with their own special attack, and you get a mind-boggling, extremely fun experience with plenty of variety to maintain an element of replayability and allowing plenty of room for power gamers to become incredibly skillful at this game.
Risk of Rain 2 is fun, but it is also satisfying. Any situation can be overcome by someone with enough skill. Each character has movement abilities that can be mastered and various items of loot can give effects to help with mobility, all of which help with dodging enemy shots and abilities. Finding a good piece of loot, finishing a long and hard boss fight, or clutching a round and surviving a level when all your buddies have perished all get the heart pumping. It just feels good to play.
The graphics of Risk of Rain 2 are charming as well. It’s a simple, colorful, low poly style of environments with good looking effects for projectiles and abilities. There are around 5 different instances, each with a unique tone and feel. The hell-Esque map is red with wicked looking plants and features equally wicked-looking enemies. The characters are simple with just enough personality and color to set them apart from each other. The enemies are unique in design and really pop against the environments. I almost feel bad killing those beautiful works of art!
The soundtrack is decent. The menu music is a little jarring, but the in-game tracks strike a well balanced medium between the action music and the downtime music. The Audio effects for abilities and shooting, however, are stellar. They’re perfectly balanced for how often you’ll be hearing them (abilities are up pretty often!)
The game has just released out of nowhere, and so far it has a ton of potential. I can definitely see the game getting repetitive down the line, and the bullet-hell genre isn’t for everyone, but the game is in early access, has a supportive developer that’s looking towards the future with a community-oriented style of growth, and a low access point of $20, you can’t ask for much more. The developer has ambitious plans and is already talking about adding mod support on top of a good amount of content already planned that can be seen taking up a place in the menu with a simple “under construction” placeholder icon. Keep an eye peeled for future developments for this flash hit and give this awesome Indie a try!
Risk of Rain 2 is out now on the PC. It was developed by Hopoo Games and published by Gearbox Publishing.
Riisk of Rain 2 Early Access Review
Risk of Rain 2 scratches the looter-shooter itch with tantalizing environments and fun characters. The Loot system and variety of classes ensure that running-and-gunning is a unique experience every time, and the forever-increasing difficulty will bring challenge to everyone despite their skill level.