Risk of Rain 2’s “Anniversary Update” -Thoughts

It’s been two years since its release but Hopoo Games figured, it’d be a great idea to announce an update of this size now, titling it the Anniversary Update, and rounding out their title, Risk of Rain 2, as a whole to say thanks to all the fans that supported the studio through Early Access. Hence, this patch includes both new content and updated old content as well as stuff that didn’t make it into the 1.0 version or that the community suggested over time. You can check out the patch notes over here. I’m merely talking about the changes that I’m the most excited about!

Close your eyes, for the Heretic is here!

So, for starters, there is a new Survivor in the game. The Bandit from the first game makes it back into the game. I personally think that the Bandit is a bit overpowered but I love how they implemented him into the second game, keeping his kit fresh while still staying true to his old playstyle. His primary attacks fire either a shotgun burst or a rifle blast, dealing a lot of damage and reloading after four shells. His secondary attack is a slash that deals damage and can cause a new effect called “haemorrhaging” on enemies on crits. The Utility skill turns you invisible, makes you move faster and stuns enemies while also granting you bonus damage. At last, the special ability, Lights Out, executes enemies and resets all your cooldowns on kill… It’s an interesting character. The backstab and the serrated dagger are new mechanics introduced in RoR2 over RoR1 but I honestly like it. I have yet to unlock all the abilities but the style and the feel of the character is amazing, although I also think that he’s quite overpowered.

There he is… and he’s looking amazing!

On another note, MUL-T, Loader, and REX received a new Special Variant while the Mercenary and the Captain also received a new Utility skill variant. A bunch of characters got balanced or changed a bit. The Final Stage got changed and a new monster got added for it. There is also a new Elite type (“Perfected”) in the game as well as a new boss enemy, the Grandparent, which basically comes back from the first game… kind of… it apparently has been in RoR2 since the 1.0 update but it didn’t get used until now, so… I love it honestly. Some of the new Boss items are amazing. The Empathy Cores and the Planula are somewhat situational and could be rather good on some of the characters more than others… the new Charged Perforator is simply amazing on anyone with a high proc coefficient. The two new Lunar Items that got added allow you to transform into the teased character, the Heretic, now: Hooks of Heresy and Essence of Heresy, paired with the other Heretic items turn you into the Heretic, a beefier character that loses health over time but has a unique playstyle, utilizing the four lunar items. Very cool! Looking forward to trying it out a lot more. Speaking of lunar items, you can now also refresh the Lunar items in the Bazar Between Times, utilizing the Lunar Shop Refresher, which is quite cool. There are also new challenges and 93 new Lore Entries.

Apart from that, there have been a bunch of changes to enemies and items as well as more quality of life improvements. I’m mostly excited about the option to turn off Screen Distortion caused by Spinal Tonic and other effects since people reported motion sickness from it. They also added new visuals for a lot of items and updated some of the skins and icons, which is quite cool and streamlines the game a bit more, making it fresher. I really like some of the changes since they really do flesh out the game a lot more, although I would have loved to see more changes to some of the skill variants that people have been using less (like the moving turrets on Engineer or the standard Utility on Commando) since variety is quite lovely, in my eye. Apart from that, changes to certain survivors like Acrid and Commando could have been quite great in order to have more fun as those characters and in order to make them more viable and more fun. 

At last, I love the new Profile Stats and Run History (aka “Morgue” and “Account Stats”) menus in the logbook area of the main menu. You can now browse past runs and all of your account stats like favourite survivors, progress to completion and your favourite equipment in there,… a nice little gimmick that I personally like, especially if you want to try out different builds and compare the damage numbers and stuff later.

Overall, I’ve been more than excited about this update. The Bandit has been a favourite of mine in the first game (although I would have loved to see the Chef, the Sniper or the Enforcer in 3D, too) and I like how they re-imagined him in 3D. Hopoo announced that they’re planning a paid DLC for Q4 of 2021 that will add new survivors (yes, plural!), new bosses, enemies, items, new random events, stages, interactables, elite types, a new alternate final stage, a new alternate final boss, a new item tier, new music, a new game mode, and a lot more things. It’s about as big as 2-3 Content Updates in size and honestly, I’m just super stoked for that. I’d imagine that it will include some new characters as well as older ones although there’s no confirmation on that.

In The Thunderdome, there can only be one!

What do you think about this patch? Have you played the new Survivor yet and do you like the idea of it? What do you think of some of the changes and the new items? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Roguelikes and Burning Out

I love playing Roguelikes and Roguelites. I like the challenge and the strategic/tactical element of it and how different weapons, skills and items can synergise in unexpected ways. I love how I can play Curse of the Dead Gods and have a very bad run that forces me to use heavy weapons all of a sudden… and it works… and it feels good… and suddenly, I’m more comfortable with taking heavy weapons and focusing builds around those… and I like new and innovative concepts that developers come up with in the genre, allowing players to enjoy new iterations of the same gameplay-formula without the risk of potentially not enjoying it.

But at the same time, Roguelikes and Roguelites (to make it easier for myself, I’ll use “Roguelikes” for both of the terms from now on) end up being quite challenging and sometimes even frustrating. Getting a bad run or not receiving the upgrades, stats or resources you wanted is… unfortunate… luck is a big factor in these games after all… and that can lead to frustration building up to the point where I get tired of it.

It’s a bit of a bad habit of mine to play a roguelike for a lot of hours to the point of burning out from it, only to quit playing for a while and to only pick it up later. Remember that post I did on 100%ing Risk of Rain 2? Well,… I’m half-way done with the next post but I’m just not getting the right seeds for my runs to get some of the achievements, which is… unfortunate.

And Curse of the Dead Gods is amazing but after a run or two, I need a break and play something else. Similarly, I’ll play Loop Hero for maybe an hour or two in a row before eventually deciding to switch things up.

The problem is that you’re not guaranteed any good runs. Rarely do you ever have mechanics in place that allow you to have a guaranteed great start. The Binding of Isaac has some mechanics like that in place… but it doesn’t help a lot when you don’t get the damage you need and end up dying because it takes you too long to kill something… or you’re just way too slow in Risk of Rain and die because you can’t dodge fast enough or manoeuvre fast enough around the map.

But while this may sound dooming,… I feel as if it’s fine. It’s fine to take a break from games and to come back later… and with Roguelikes, I tend to come back more often than with other games. I can play a lot of Hades for hours only to then take a break from it for another two weeks. I love taking breaks and coming back with a fresh mind. Sometimes I crave that Isaac run. Sometimes I crave another expedition in Loop Hero. Sometimes I want to Enter the Gungeon again or to climb the Nuclear Throne. Sometimes I just feel like spinning for more coins in Luck be a Landlord or I want to bring out the big guns in Risk of Rain 2. Sometimes, I want to be evil in Despotism 3k and punish humans… or I want to throw poison daggers in Slay The Spire… or I try to understand Heroes of Hammerwatch and Noita.

I could go on and on about frustrating mechanics in challenging games or I could just take a break and come back to them when I feel like it… and that’s the magic of Roguelikes. It’s kind of for that reason that my dynamic collection of “Roguelikes” on Steam features about 79 entries that all are amazing… well, most of them are.

And I figured I’d share that. Take breaks. Go for a stretch. Get something to eat/drink. Come back to a game later before the frustration and the salt ruins it for you. You can do it, I believe in you! And I encourage breaks. Breaks are important. Burning out is fine… just come back later.

Note: The featured image for this post is the same one as one that I used in a previous post… I figured I could use that one again because the games depicted in it were quite fitting this time as well. Celeste isn’t a roguelike but I also burn out from that game… so,… that’s why… Don’t hold that against me, thanks.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Risk of Rain 2 – Teaching a Newbie

Just recently, I started playing Risk of Rain 2 again and I’ve been busy unlocking abilities for characters, for the sake of achievements mostly. But then I found out that some of the members of the Twitch stream team that I recently joined also play that game… and alas, we played a couple of rounds and our friend, baconbitsnow, died more often than not and we had a hard time letting him experience more of the game than the death-screen. Alas, I tried reflecting on how to teach him the game easier without making things too hard for him or too complicated for him to understand. He knows the basics of the game already but since he hadn’t played in a while, he was basically a newbie when it came to understanding what the items do.

Alas, I wanted to write a small guide of sorts of the basics and how to maybe teach someone better how to play the game or how to make the game more fun for them.

First things first: What is Risk of Rain/Risk of Rain 2?

The Risk of Rain games are challenging roguelikes where you land on a planet and try to get to the teleporter in order to proceed. What makes the game so challenging is that you essentially have to race against the time itself. The longer the game proceeds, the more challenging it goes. At first, more enemies spawn, eventually, enemy-spawns become elites with unique properties, and at last, seeing boss enemies just casually spawn into the world or seeing elite bosses isn’t that unnatural anymore. You kill enemies to earn gold to buy items from chests you find in the world. Items make you stronger. Then you hit the teleporter and the teleporter event proceeds. In the first game, you’ll have to defeat the boss to be rewarded an item before you need to clear out the stage. Since the second game is in 3D opposed to the 2D style of the first game, you’ll need to stay in an area around the teleporter (big dome basically) to charge it up before you can proceed. Clearing the stage is no longer needed. If you proceed to the next stage too fast, however, you’ll be left in the dust by enemies that out-scale/out-level you, so killing enemies here and there to gain levels is also important. 

These are the basics for the game.

In Risk of Rain 2, there are four difficulties: Drizzle, Rainstorm, Monsoon, and the all-new Eclipse. Eclipse is an alternate difficulty setting found in a separate menu that basically lets each survivor start at Eclipse level 1, giving allies a -50% Starting Health debuff. Once you complete the run, you’ll be at Eclipse Level 2 which decreases the teleporter radius by 50%. This scales up to Eclipse 8, making this game mode somewhat challenging and something that veterans should attempt but not beginners. Monsoon difficulty is harder to get into, so essentially I’d recommend teaching friends how to play on Drizzle or Rainstorm. Drizzle is a lot more forgiving as it grants more health regeneration to allies as well as a +70 bonus to armour. The difficulty also scales only at 50% of the normal pace, making this less challenging and easier to get into.

There’s no shame in taking training-wheels on for the sake of learning the game before eventually heading into Rainstorm, Monsoon and Eclipse runs. For the sake of the best experience, I’d disable any Artefacts, though, as they can be rather overwhelming to newer players.

While in theory, the Artefact of Command, for instance, could help out new players by letting them chose their items, it is a bit of a handicap as well since they’ll have to get that menu open and chose one of many items while standing wide-open and still. Instead of letting them chose their own items, I let Bacon open chests and ping the items instead, using the middle mouse button. This resulted in me seeing the item name in chat and me being able to explain what the item does and why he should or shouldn’t take it. I was also able to explain how the stacking of those items goes.

Bacon already had the Huntress unlocked, so I let him play that one while I opted into the Mul-T. Mul-T is able to dish out great damage and – when in doubt – solo-carry the game. Due to his two equipment slots, I was also able to let Bacon, at most times, switch between equipment to try out different things. Bacon really enjoyed playing with the Sawmerang, so I went for Gorag’s Opus in one of the slots to increase our attack speed by 100% while later going for the Preon Accumulator in the other slot to deal with lots of enemies at the same time if they were to swarm us or to deal a lot of damage to bosses if it’s an annoying boss. 

Due to some lucky RNG, we even got some early red items, resulting in me being able to explain to him what item categories there are: There are currently 97 items in the game on top of 30 equipment pieces. Equipment can be used to either dish out more damage or benefit you in some way to boost your damage, give you resistances or give you mobility. The other 97 items can be categorised into five categories: Common items (white), Uncommon items (green), Legendary items (red), Boss/Planetary items (yellow), and Lunar items (blue). Among the lunar items, there are four equipment items available as well.

White items tend to be flat-amounts of stats to your stats. The Soldier’s Syringe grants you 15% (+15% per stack) attack speed, for instance, while the Lens-Maker’s Glasses grant your attacks a 10% (+10% per stack) chance to critically strike, dealing double damage. A lot of these items don’t have an overwhelming effect but they are essential to your builds regardless. Since most of these don’t have an upper limit to the stacks, you can have as many Syringes or Goat Hoofs as you want to and actually feel the effects of them. The only exception to this would be the Crit-Glasses that only are doing something up to 100% crit chance. After that, getting more won’t do anything. 

Green items include a lot of different effects that grant you slows for your attacks or on-kill/on-hit effects that you can proc. There are also other additions to it like a double jump with the Hopoo Feather or an extra charge for your equipment with the Fuel Cell. These items basically grant you a lot of different effects and finding out which items suit your characters the most can be part of the fun as well. Yellow items only drop from bosses and offer some nice perks as well, although some of them are more situational than others. The Molten Perforator has a 10% chance on-hit to call forth magma balls from an enemy, dealing a lot of damage, for instance, while other items offer stat increases or other ways of utilizing your build. If you get one early, you can shape your build around them but if you play with Command, you can usually get just the best one for your character.

Red items essentially round up your build a bit more. These are usually super strong and grant you a whole lot of great effects. Aegis for instance lets you gain a temporary barrier for 50% (+50% per stack) of the amount you heal past full health. Meanwhile, Brilliant Behemoth makes all your attacks explode for a 60% total damage bonus to nearby enemies in a 4m (+1.5m per stack) radius around the impact. If you use a lot of normal attacks that might be the best choice while the Alien Head might be better for survivors that use a lot of abilities. Generally, you want one anyways and any is better than none. Lunar items can also be quite strong but they often offer drawbacks to them. To acquire them, you’ll need to use Lunar coins on Lunar Pods or buy the items in the Bazar Between Time accessed through the blue portal. 

With that out of the way, you’ll just head into the game. The best way to find out what the items do is to either pick them up and learn from the game teaching you or to ask a friend or check out the wiki

Bacon struggled past stage 4 since he died earlier and was behind in terms of items. Alas, we decided to go for the boss and grab that additional item before heading to the Artefact place to unlock Command for him. When playing with a new player, I’d recommend searching for the command-artefact-code and unlocking it for them so that they can try out things themselves in Single-Player or with other players. 

And alas, we unlocked that and some other logs for him before heading into the first-loop. Bacon was still struggling quite a bit, so we ended up rushing through the next two stages to venture into the Celestial Portal that leads us to “A Moment, Fractured”. Fighting the boss on the Moon would be too hard for a new player, especially with our items, which is why I decided to loop instead and go for that alternate ending. “A Moment, Fractured” features a monolith that can be used to obliterate yourself. Once you’ve done that, you finished your run and you’re awarded five lunar coins, kickstarting your journey to finding more and using them to unlock the artificer or to play around with some lunar builds. 

Hope you enjoyed this post. I know, it’s a tad longer and not what I usually do but I thought I’d just explain something about the basics of the game, what items there are and the best choices to make. Bacon said that he enjoyed himself and that he learned a lot. If you want to, you can follow him on Twitch. We’re in the same stream team, “Mistakes”, and I’ve enjoyed playing with him lately, despite him being a bit helpless with Malachite enemies. It’s a lot of fun to play with others! The wiki for RoR2 is a great resource btw, so I’d recommend checking that out if you have any questions regarding the codes for the different artefacts or regarding the scaling, the items, the enemies, etc. – Just don’t spoil yourself too much if you want to. 🙂

Anyways, I’ll be off for the day. I hope you guys have a nice time and I’ll see you next time.

Cheers!

I hate timers

I like the Zelda games but I never really got into Majora’s Mask… I mean, I guess I should like it – after all, it’s literally a darker version of Ocarina of Time and it has some great elements to it both presentation-wise and gameplay-wise.

But I guess the main reason for why I didn’t like Majora’s Mask was the fact that it had this giant creepy moon – and also a mega doom timer that was ticking down, constantly pressuring you. I didn’t like the concept back then and a lot later I noticed that you can actually reset the timer with a certain song but I still never got back into it and uh…. that brings us to today’s post:

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

I hate timers.

Timers stress me out. They put me under pressure, just like the clock ticking down on me during an exam. In video games, there are timers that are actually well-made, like in Risk of Rain, for instance.

In Risk of Rain, the game gets harder the longer you play/the longer it takes you to finish the game.

Hence, you’ve got challenges associated with the timer and it’s also not a timer ticking down. Instead, you’ve got a game that rewards you with increasingly intense combat and tougher enemies so that it doesn’t get boring for you. To beat the game, you need skill (and the items) but also need to survive. You’ll lose if you die. Not if the timer reaches “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA” difficulty. The timer doesn’t lose you the game. You do. The game is fair and I like that.

A timer indicating how much time you have left to clear a game is bad game design, in my opinion. It puts people under pressure which is usually bad when you try to relax. And sure, people play games for different reasons but I doubt that a lot of players enjoy the “ticking time bomb” character that some decks, characters or games have. When you play League of Legends and you’re playing against a Veigar, you eventually will have to face off against the Veigar with 2000 to 4000 AP who can one-shot towers with one normal attack and who one-shots your whole team with one W or a Q. Deleted with a button press.

Same goes naturally for the Bomb Warrior in Hearthstone or the Teemo Decks in Legends of Runeterra where you face off against someone who just holds out and stalls the game for forty minutes straight while you draw one bomb after another, reducing your life by drawing cards… yup. Very nice game design.

I don’t like that. If you have a section where you need to defeat enemies in a certain time-frame to get a reward, that’s a bit better, I guess… but having the “You’re fucked when this timer reaches 0”-character as a game mechanic for the whole game is just major bullshit – Pardon my English.

Either way, I hope that you don’t have the doom clock ticking over your head and that you instead have a pleasant day.

Cheers!

I hate contact damage

There have been a few hedgehogs, freezing in winter. They were sitting in a cave around a campfire but it wasn’t warming them enough, just yet, so they ended up getting cuddly and hurting each other, hence pushing each other back.

Now, while that makes a lot of sense in this kind of fable… because of hedgehogs having spikes or needles… it doesn’t make any sense in a lot of games. And that’s what this post is about.

So, ever since I started playing games, I was wondering why you’d take damage when you’re only bumping into other enemies. After all, they should be hurt if you bump into them. But since they don’t get hurt, you naturally shouldn’t get hurt by them either unless they run into you with a knife and legitimately stab you. After all, getting stabbed hurts – trust me, I’ve been there, although it’s only been my hand that took contact damage from my knife.

In games like Mario, there are enemies with spikes on their head, so that bumping into them actually would make sense, I guess? Meanwhile touching somebody in Hollow Knight or Dead Cells, hurts you, too, and that despite Hollow Knight’s enemies’ squishiness or the rotten nature of the corpses and stuff in Dead Cells.

I guess it kind of makes sense to have a Goomba hurt you in Mario as naturally his only way of attacking is the actual charge and bump he does but that’s no excuse for all the other enemies that are out there, shooting projectiles and bolts at you. They’ve got their means to attack you, so why do they hurt when you hug them?

To put Mario aside, I’d guess that the damage on contact mechanic was there in the first place for a lot of older games because of technological restraints (as in not being able to animate a stabby attack for every enemy). But nowadays there’re so many ways of damaging you… you don’t really have the technological limitations that you had back in the day and therefore, I wouldn’t know why something would hurt you upon touching you unless it’s on fire and/or covered in spikes.

In Risk of Rain (which very much is a platformer, I guess?), enemies attack you and have their own animations to do so. Running or dodging past them doesn’t hurt you. You just do your thing while they actually try to kill you. Not by just running at ya but by actually shooting, biting, stomping, and jumping you.

And the same goes for Risk of Rain 2: You are in a 3D environment with so much going on that you aren’t able to care about your character getting damaged by enemies hugging you. A lot of 3D games don’t have contact damage, although I remember the first Blinx game (you know that game about time-travelling cats with vacuums fighting monsters by shooting trash at them?) being programmed in a way that allowed enemies to move towards you and cause you to lose a life, which was just obnoxious.

If I remember correctly, you were able to turn on a challenge of sorts in Bastion where you got damage on contact from enemies. Despite them already hurting you with their attacks and despite the game being so challenging, you could already make it a lot harder by having the enemies hurt you by just touching you. The next step from that would be damage on sight, although that’s probably a thing already in some game. Who knows?

And yeah, I know, complaining about games is like yelling at clouds or fighting windmills. I won’t achieve anything by doing it, but I guess I still have my right to complain about it being a thing without an excuse for it being a thing. It’s just another unreasonable thing to do when there’s so much else to complain about in the world, but I thought it’d be a nice writing prompt. I don’t really think that games should have anything like that. 3D games generally need some reason or animation to explain how something hurts you upon contact while 2D games quite often do it because of limitations, although even that doesn’t make sense – especially when these enemies have attack patterns already.

But I guess that’s enough about this topic for today. Cheers!

This post is part of a challenge called BLAPRIL. The goal is to post as much as possible during the 30 days of April. There are different themes during some of the weeks and a lot of mentors, newbies and participants participating. Feel free to check this hub-post out and check out the other participants!

Indietail – Risk of Rain 2

A while ago I reviewed Hopoo Games’ Risk of Rain 1 and it’s to-date one of my favourite games. It’s a lovely Indie-Action-Roguelike-title with a very nice combat system, a wonderful soundtrack and a timer that is increasing the difficulty the longer you take to complete the game. Hopoo Games released Risk of Rain 1 in 2013 and then announced that I wanted to develop a second game that would take place in the third dimension! A whole new game that would play like a third-person-shooter but still remain true to its core-values that made RoR1 a RoR-game. And well…. since March 2019 it’s Hopoo’s time to shine as Risk of Rain 2 released in Early Access and as tons of people discovered it for themselves, gave feedback on the discord-server, streamed it, made videos on it and wrote about it.

The Warbanner is, still, one of my favourite items! Here it provides us with a buff in this globe around it, upon level up!

But how do I like Risk of Rain 2 and do I recommend it? Let’s find out!

Note: In this review, I will be comparing the second game to the first game quite often, so I recommend checking it out over here. Of course I’ll review the game as usual in different aspects, so there’s going to be a lot of reviewing on parts that are new or that make RoR2 unique, so enjoy this review. 🙂

Developer: Hopoo Games
Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
Genres: Action, Adventure, Rogue-like, Indie, Third Person Shooter,
Release Date: March 28, 2019
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, XBOX One, PS4, Switch
Copy was purchased.

For anyone who doesn’t know about the Risk of Rain games (I suppose, it’s a franchise now), you essentially spawn on a foreign planet and fight off monsters while searching for a teleporter to get to the next area. Fighting enemies grants you experience (that levels you up, increasing your stats) and gold. Gold can then be used to open up chests and receive items that grant you all kinds of special perks from stat-increases (like attack speed or move speed up) to game-changing elements (like poison damage or exploding enemies).

When you find the teleporter, you activate it to spawn the last waves of enemies and to spawn the boss who you then have to defeat to get rewarded with yet another item and to proceed to the next level. Dying never felt unfair and there were a ton of possibilities of item-combinations to make you super overpowered and it’s really great!

While Risk of Rain 1 better when using the gamepad/controller, due to its platforming-nature, Risk of Rain 2 plays better using the mouse and keyboard since it requires a lot of aiming. Don’t get me wrong, gamepad-controls still work quite well, but I’m better at aiming, using a mouse. Controls are rather smooth, you’ve still got your shooting ability, second ability and ultimate, as well as some sort of mobility-ability. You can remap the keybindings but I found the standard ones to work out just fine. There’s also a whole new sprint-button and as I’m not used to that being a thing, I forget about that button more often than not.

The aforementioned sprint-button is very convenient since the new levels are massive!

Being procedurally generated, they offer a lot to see with different biomes and different enemies depending on what level you are at. The chests and the teleporter are also located on different spots, so you always have to find them. I really enjoyed the wide areas and the feeling you have when you’re standing up close to the bosses. You’re just tiny compared to it all!

INTO THE ABYSS

Speaking of bosses, we can find a lot of RoR1’s enemies and bosses in the game as well.

From the Whisps to the Lemurians and Stone Golems (on the enemy-front) to the Magma Worm, the Wandering Vagrant, the Imp Overlord, the Scavenger, and the Stone Titan (on the boss front). These still have similar patterns to Risk of Rain 1 but since we’re playing in the third-person-view a lot of their attacks are wide ones with great areas of attacks and different moves. There are also new bosses like the Clay Dunestrider, the Beetle Queen, the Alloy Warship Unit and, one of my favourites, the Grovetender.

These new bosses either spawn enemies or pull you in, some have chain attacks while others have special conditions that need to be met before they can spawn. It surely is really interesting to see these new bosses in the game while still keeping some old fan-favourites in the game.

A blue portal brings us to a whole new merchant that is able to provide us with new items… for a price!

Hopoo Games changed the boss-mechanic in a way, though. In Risk of Rain 1, once you’ve activated the teleporter, you’d have to defeat the boss and all enemies that have spawned in the next [time based on difficulty] seconds. This “clean up” of sorts was rather annoying but manageable in the first game.

Now, in the second game there’s no such thing as a “clean up”. Once you activate the teleporter, a globe around it is displayed with a red circle in which you need to stand to charge the teleporter up. In that time, enemies keep spawning while the boss (still) is attacking you. Of course, you can leave the area around the teleporter, but it won’t charge in that time and the boss will follow you around. Once it’s charged up completely, you can use the teleporter right away after defeating the boss, resulting in your excess money getting converted into experience points.

I really liked this change as it meant that you’d have to tackle bosses differently and as you couldn’t just wait the event out and then clean up slowly.

Into the next area!

The old enemies along the side of new enemies like the Brass Contraption and the Beetle Guards really make the world feel lively although dangerous.

There’re a lot of new attacks to look out for, coming at you from all sides. Lesser Whisps are rather weak but since they spawn a lot and since they are flying, you need to take care of them rather quickly as they do hurt a lot. And then there are the slow but sturdy Stone Golems who attack with a laser beam but need to charge up slowly after every attack. I really enjoyed this variety and new enemies are being added in every new update.

And then there are new items, too, along side old classics like the Soldier’s Syringe that increases the attackspeed-stat or Paul’s Goathoof that increases movement speed. I really enjoyed seeing these items again while also having new items like Little Discipline (which shoots out whisps from a container) or the Queen’s Gland (which spawns a Beetle Guard on your side that attacks enemies and can block shots for you).

Facing off against the Clay Dunestrider!

Just like in the first game the soundtrack, made by Chris Christodolou again, is awesome!

It’s very Risk-of-Rain-ish and fits the game like a metaphorical glove. It’s very space-y and futuristic while also atmospheric and, although it fits the game, it’s still all new and doesn’t rely too much on the first game’s soundtrack. I really enjoyed it. Along with the all new soundtrack, there is also a new style present in the game. Hopoo Games teamed up with Gearbox Publishing (whose dev studio is behind the Borderlands Games) and created an all-new style for this game. It now uses some sort of cell-shading-style that uses the same colour palette as Risk of Rain 1 and therefore remains true to its original colours but still has a new sort of freshness to it that looks quite rad, to say the least. I really like this new style and while I loved the pixel-artstyle of the first game, I can see how it doesn’t fit the new Third-Person-view and that this style is still fitting it quite well.

My favourite biome, the Scorched Acres! It’s so pretty and warped!

But while I love the Risk of Rain franchise, there certainly are some issues with it.

While Multiplayer has been fixed and is easy to set up, the devs’ fear of the MP overshadowing the SP came true and because of that I kind of feel like it’s not worth playing the game if you can’t play it with friends. Sure, it certainly is challenging and fun while alone… but it’s a lot more fun with friends as you can strategize a lot about who takes what items and how you build your characters.

And the other issue I had with the game was the fact that dying in MP means that you need to wait and spectate while your friends clear the level and venture into the next one. Once you’re there, you have less items than everyone else and therefore may be struggling more, resulting in a bad experience. I would have liked it if you’d spawn in as a “pet whisp” or some sort of enemy and play as that one for the time-being to either screw with your friends or help them beat the level. The current system really hurts the fun that I had with the game. And then there are the characters.

The Imp Overlord is back at it again! Scary!

Also, I found some of the unlock-criterias in the first game better than the new ones. But I guess that’s just a preference-thing. While I’ve unlocked a lot of items and new areas of the game, I think it’s worth mentioning that I have yet to unlock all of the characters, but since Multiplayer is a lot more fun than playing alone, I’ve experienced this weird feeling of not being as motivated to play alone as I was with Risk of Rain 1. I still start up occasionally and play a few runs, sure, but it’s not as frequent as I would have with RoR1, due to the fact that a lot of my friends don’t play it as often anymore. (If you want to play it with me, hit me up!)

And since the maps are so huge, I found it rather hard to keep track of the teleporter. Every biome has a few variants to it and the teleporter can be found in a lot of different locations. Quite often, however, I would have found the teleporter early on but would decide on actually getting more items first and then I’d get lost, resulting in having to find the teleporter again. I’d like it a lot if you could pull out a map (while the game’s not paused) to mark stuff on it or if the waypoints set with the middle-mouse-button were permanent, so that you can permanently mark chests and/or the teleporter. That’d be great.

Dio’s Little Friend (JoJo-Refernece much?) revived us here when the Imp Overlord let us experience his rage! Lucky!

Overall the game has a few flaws but since it’s in Early Access it constantly gets updated with a very dedicated dev team and a community that tries to give as much feedback as possible. The community for this game is great, the new additions to the game have been interesting and didn’t hurt the game’s spirit at all but rather helped it reach new heights! And it’s not finished yet. The journey keeps on going, so there’s more to be expected in the future!

So, I’d give it a recommendation.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this review!

Cheers!

Note: Screenshots were taken from one run. As I didn’t want to spoil too much, I only featured these three areas and the blue portal but I can assure you that there’s a lot more to see!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Indietail – Risk of Rain

Dizzle, Rain and Monsoon? What sounds like the weather forecast of London is actually something that has to do with an awesome game by Hopoo Games. Stay tuned for a review on my favourite game featuring a great soundtrack, some cool combat and a small risk of rain.


In today’s review, we’re taking a look at Risk of Rain (Trailer/Shop), a game developed by Hopoo Games, in which we crash on a mysterious planet where we have to fight through waves of monsters to get to the teleporter and…more about that later. I actually heard about this game about four years ago while following a blog called petebackwelcome with reviews on movies, games and all kinds of other stuff which I found really interesting. Later I bought this game since it got recommended by one of my favourite bloggers. And it didn’t take me all that long to find out about this game is one of my favourite games of all time!

So, let’s get started with the menu: Here we’ve got the option to choose between singleplayer and local or online co-op. The online-multiplayer is a pain in the arse to set up, so we won’t bother with it all that much for now. In the singleplayer “Campagne” of this rogue-like-title, you’re then able to choose between different characters that were on board of the ship that just crashed. Once you’ve chosen one out of those twelve characters that all have different playstyles and skills, you’re basically set to choose the difficulty and artefacts.

These difficulties are Drizzle, Monsoon and Rainstorm. These are basically designed for newbies (Drizzle – it’s really easy but achievements and the like are disabled), casuals (Rainstorm – the normal experience) and hardcore-gamers/pros (Monsoon – quite hard at the beginning but once you get used to the game you’ll basically want to play this mode!). Artefacts are also available to make your game harder but I’ll explain those later as well.

Here’s the commando and his abilities, feature damage, stun+damage, a dodge-roll and more stuns + more damage. Quite decent. Quite basic.

At the start of the game, you only have one character available to unlock the other characters: The Commando. He’s basically an allrounder who’s not only able to deal good amounts of damage but also has two stuns in his kit and a dodge roll to mitigate damage that may have been taken. Once you start your run you’ll spawn in one of many procedurally generated biomes. Those biomes have similar layouts to each other but still work with a small number of tilesets, meaning that there’s chests, shrines, and shops at different points of the level. You’ll start at level 1 and have to kill enemies to gain experience (to level up) and gold (to gear up). So, just like in most games, you’ll be looting and levelling to become stronger and beat more enemies and bosses. Items can get through those shrines, chests and shop but you always have to pay a price of gold for them. To get to the next level, you’ll need to find the teleporter and activate it so that the last few enemies and the boss of that level can spawn. Once you defeated the boss, you’ll be able to collect a new item, get rid of the last few enemies of the level and once you cleared those out, you’re free to either open the last few chests or just proceed to the next level. Proceeding to the next level however converts your gold to experience, leaving you with no gold in the next level.

Relatively early you’ll find out about a timer that can be found in the upper right corner. It shows you how long you’ve taken so far and increases the game’s experience based on the time taken. The longer you take, the stronger the enemies get. You’ll have to fight through more enemies and have to deal with elites that have different properties and more health. In the ideal scenario, you’d of course want to proceed even faster and get to the highest level possible asap, right? But that’s where you’re wrong as well since you’ll still have to level or else you’ll deal little to no damage to future bosses. So, naturally, you’ll have to find the right balance between farming mobs and speedrunning the levels.

The best way to get stronger is by getting items. These have a few different grades from uncommon to epic and can be found in chests and the like. There are active and passive items. Active items have to be used in order to deal damage, heal you or do other things like opening all chests nearby (there’s an achievement for that btw!). Passive items, on the other hand, are able to increase your stats, give you bonuses or other boosts which can be really helpful. Most of them also stack, so that you can get the same stats over and over again, like three syringes for three times the attack speed of a normal syringe. Opening a more expensive chest means having a higher chance of getting a higher grade item. While chests give you a random item from their loot table, bosses always grant you better items while shrines grant you a random item as well. To activate shrines, you’ll either have to donate gold or health in order to get a chance of getting an item. While this might sound like a huge gamble, there are actually strategies where you try to fail them a few times in a row to get increased crit chance with a certain item. On top of that, there are also shops that either already show you the items you can purchase or question marks with a random item.

Once you start the teleporter, one out of ten bosses spawns. These range from the magma worm that jumps out of the ground and ignites the ground around its impact to the Colossus who’s quite tanky and able to spawn golems around him to the Imp Lord who also spawns enemies and shoots rays at you to the wandering vagrant, a flying creature that roams the map and attacks you freely while doing so. On higher difficulties, these bosses can also spawn as normal enemies or come in pairs or even in elite-versions with different properties to them than the normal version. Even if you slay the boss, you still have to wait for the teleporter to charge up which takes different time from a minute to 90 seconds depending on your difficulty (Dizzle, Rainstorm or Monsoon). In that period of time enemies are still able to spawn until the timer runs out. After that you have to clear out all remaning enemies before getting to the next level via teleporter.

The magma worm. One of the first bosses and probably the boss I died most to.

The best thing about Risk of Rain, however, is apart from its soundtrack the combat-system. Each character has a normal attack, two normal abilities and an ultimate ability. While there are characters like the commando who are focused round shooting fast and dealing tons of damage while moving around a lot, there’s also melee-classes like the Enforcer who has a stun grenade and a shield that blocks enemy-attacks that come from one side of him. There’s also a sniper and an engineer which also play differently. Over all every class feels unique and is insanely fun to play. Once you understand how to use your character, you’re getting better in the game quite easily and may as well try out higher difficulties and artefacts. What I really like about the system is that no matter how you die, it never feels unfair. You always know what kills you and how you should have positioned yourself. With enough items, you get overpowered quite fast but you’re still able to die quite easily.

Combat feels fluid since every character/class has some sort of gap-closing ability with invulnerablity-frames and the ability to dodge attacks and fall damage and the like. You can play the game with the controller and the keyboard and while the controller feels more intuitive, I must say that the keyboard isn’t that unhandy. It still works.

Overall the experience is very space-y and positive. The soundtrack by Chris Christodoulou (Bandcamp/Steamshop) who’s also responsible for other games by Hopoo Games like Deadbolt and Risk of Rain 2 is absolutely awesome and even Total Biscuit (rest in piece at this point) paused his commentary for a while in his WTF is… Risk of Rain video to listen to this incredible soundtrack. My favourite track from the OST is Coalescense, a song found in the final level “Risk of Rain”, right before you encounter the final boss.


The soundtrack uses everything from drums and electric guitars to electronic elements and that’s why it’s able to create the perfect atmosphere for every level since every level is different. There’s quite a lot of different biomes from a hive to highlands, from cold tundras to hot volcanos, from dry sandy areas to wet and overgrown jungles. The artstyle is using pixels but seems to have quite a lot of detail for every enemy, class and biom which adds to the overall atmospheric feel of this game as well.

But let’s quit the fanboying for now. What I really didn’t like about Risk of Rain was the fact that the multiplayer is a pain in the butt to set up. While the local multiplayer is easy to handle, I would have loved to play with friends that aren’t closeby, but I couldn’t since the multiplayer uses an ip-port-thingy that doesn’t seem to work – or at least you need to use third-party-programs to get it to run which I find quite bothersome since so many other games on steam use the steam-friendlist to make it work. Luckily this isn’t the case in the sequel Risk of Rain 2 which only came out this year and makes use of your steam-friendlist. It would have been a great feature to have in the first game as well though.

The second run on one of my last runs.

But apart from the online-co-op there’s another problem with the multiplayer. Whenever I tried out the local one, items and experience didn’t get shared at all. This means that one player kills a mob and gets the experience and gold for that enemy-kill while the other one doesn’t. Same goes for items from chests and shrines: One player can get them while the other one doesn’t, meaning that one player ultimately might end up underleveled or underpowered and struggles with enemies that are just stronger than him. When one player dies, the other player has to deal with more enemies on his own but then again gets the experience for himself only. In the next level, the second player respawns, though, so he may get some new items but is still underleveled, leading to the same problem. This problem has been solved in the sequel, too, where all experience is shared. Items still are only for one player but that isn’t a problem with the right coordination.

Even though I played this game so much, I still haven’t unlocked most of these items here. But quite a lot.

The problem could have been easily solved with an option of item/exp/gold-sharing that could just have been ticked on or off for the sake of more difficulty. But the two-headed team of Hopoo Games said themselves that they won’t work on that since the singleplayer shouldn’t be the shadow of the multiplayer, which I can understand.

Apart from that there’s not many other points that could be criticized, in my opinion. The game is fair, every character feels unique and strong on its own and I haven’t encountered any games in the game at all in all of my many hours that I put into the game. The game has quite a lot of replay-value with fifteen steam achievements and a lot of other unlockables in the game such as new items, characters, artefacts and monster logs.

For those under you that want the extra-challenge, you can opt in for those artefacts that need to be unlocked in the game and that add extra difficulty to the game. There’s artefacts for basically anything. One for example makes corpses explode into bits, dealing huge chunks of damage to everything, another makes enemies (and you) run faster when on low health. My favorite artefacts are Glass and Command. Command allows you to chose the items, you’d get from the chests, while Glass gives you 500% damage but only 10% health – “glass-cannon-mode”, eh?

The Monster Log for the Rock Golem. He’s quite cute, isn’t he?

 To sum it all up, I’d say that Risk of Rain not only has a lot of content but also a lot of fun prepared for every lover of the rogue-like-genre. The presentation is great, the music is absolutely awesome and I’d really recommend it to everyone who likes games like Dead Cells and Gonner

Anyways, cheers!

This post is part of a contest/challenge called Blaugust! The goal is to post as much as possible and participants are awarded with different prizes depending on the goal they achieved. My aim is to post on all 31 days of August and if you’d like to know more about this “event”, you should check this post out.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.