First Impressions - Risk of Rain

No seriously, find that teleporter, and fast!

Here's one of the games I managed to grab for super cheap on the Steam Sale. In fact I got a 4-pack for under $10! Risk of Rain seems to be a sci-fi, rogue-like combat platformer which you can play with friends, so I thought it was too good to pass up - not to mention this is another game that has been developed using Game Maker, so yeah, I'm also going to classify it as research ;).

What I like

  • Online co-op: I haven't played a fun co-op game in a long time and Risk of Rain seems to be the real deal. It actually reminds me of my days playing Diablo II where you team up with some buddies, have some epic battles against monsters and grab some nice loot along the way. Only difference is that games don't tend to last as long in Risk of Rain and your character isn't persistent - i.e. once you finish the session you'll never see him again.
  • Music: Risk of Rain has a really good soundtrack that's got soaring sci-fi synths reminding me of oldschool sci-fi movies of the 80s and 90s, and recent game soundtracks from the Mass Effect series. At the same time it manages to sound like a platformer from that era too which definitely generates pangs of nostalgia. In fact, I'm quite tempted to pay the $6 to purchase it off Chris Christodolou's bandcamp page
  • Randomly generated maps: Like Diablo, FTL and roguelikes, Risk of Rain has randomly generated maps meaning each time you play it will be a slightly different experience which definitely helps with the replay value.

What I don't like

  • Buggy: I haven't really encountered any bugs since the first one I encountered, but the first one was bad enough. The second time I attempted to play Risk of Rain the audio had cut-out completely. No amount of restarting the game, restarting Steam or restarting the computer would fix the problem too. I did come across a forum post with the developer mentioning this was actually a common problem with Game Maker games (mentioning Hotline Miami also had the same issue). One poster tracked it down to the fact that Game Maker probably packages the wrong version of the Visual C++ runtime when the game is installed and in my case this was probably true since after downloading and reinstalling the Visual C++ runtime using the 64-bit version, everything was fixed.
  • Tiny graphics and hard to distinguish player: Nothing against the pixelart graphics but everything is so small (except the large bosses of course). Consequently, if you're in a large firefight with lots of enemies and friends rolling around (who look exactly the same as you) it can get confusing as to what's actually going on and where you're at.
  • Difficult: I know it's a rogue-like and it's meant to be difficult but I guess that's why I don't normally play these kind of games. I like completing games but I also don't want to spend hundreds of hours doing so. Rogue-likes increase their playtime by simply making the game too difficult to win until you've got a lot of experience under your belt and you happen to get a lucky break. Normally, I get so frustrated and eventually stop playing the game which leaves a bittersweet taste in my mouth.
  • Setting up online co-op: It's no biggie if you're happy to use programs like Hamachi to setup a virtual LAN, but it would've been nice if this was integrated with Steam with respect to multiplayer matchmaking. The only other alternative is the dreaded port forwarding which isn't very attractive to newbies or those that don't want to stuff around with their router settings.


I'm enjoying the game so far, especially when playing co-op. It's got the same addictiveness as Diablo in terms of hunting for items or unlocks, but it seems to be more forgiving than FTL with respect to actually feeling like you've achieved something during each playthrough. So basically a more fulfilling, co-op platformer version of FTL, since it definitely shares the same aesthetic feel - and that's not a bad thing.

[ LINK: Official Risk of Rain website ]