Hopoo Games’ Risk of Rain 2 was actually not in my plans for Thursday night’s stream. I wanted to play it at some point during #loveindies, but was too lazy to try to get people together, and it sort of fell into a “watch out for this!” slot. But when I had technical issues, there it was, waiting. I’m not telling you this to make it sound like Risk of Rain 2 is only good as a backup plan – it’s definitely worth way more. I’m telling it because it highlights one of my favourite things about gaming: despite the occasional cries of “go and socialize instead of playing games!” gaming really can bring people together. I’ve met friends and communities through gaming. More importantly, it gives a great way to have some fun and spend time with friends and loved ones who are far away. Can’t drive 3,000 miles to hang out with your friend in another state? The internet has you covered – gaming can give you a virtual world to spend time in together.
When I realized my plan wasn’t going to work out, the panic set in – I’d done all this work to make a balanced, fun schedule of things and maybe I’m not a big streamer or anything, but it meant a lot to me. Did I botch things? Luckily, I had 3 friends ready to sign on for a Risk of Rain 2 night. Saved!
It’s still in early access, so expect some limitations so far – more characters to come, along with I assume many other tweaks – but Risk of Rain 2 still provides a chaotic mess of fun. You’ll start off with one character, with a handful of others unlockable through regular play. Dropped onto a surprisingly pretty planet, it only takes a few seconds to realize everything here wants to kill you (and up to 3 of your closest friends!) Enemies multiply nearly endlessly, and get stronger as the game goes on (the cheeky difficulty meter’s highest difficulty is aptly named HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA[xforever]). You’ll enter a map, wreak havoc, activate the teleporter and boss fight… rinse, repeat. Nothing will ever get easier – you simply go as long as you can without dying horribly.
Make sure to acquire items to power up yourself as well, or eventually you’ll find yourself trampled by fireworms and laser rock bois. Some items have big drawbacks: hits might earn you money, but if you get hit you lose it. Maybe your power goes up drastically, but your health will now permanently be halved. Items will be permanently added (except in the case of trading something in for a 3D printer), and picking them up makes things even more ridiculously fun.
There’s no avoiding it – if you stay alive long enough, you’ll find yourself in a ridiculous firestorm of enemies. Protip: don’t stop moving. Don’t AFK. You absolutely will die. But that’s also the real joy in Risk of Rain – it’s absolute, addictive chaos (hence my use of presskit images instead of taking my own screenshots).
Because of the nature of the game, I’m not sure how much else I can really say – the maps are expansive and interesting, the intensity is addictive, and the music is both strangely calming and energizing at the same time. If you like rogue-like games and intense beat em ups, you’ll probably enjoy Risk of Rain 2. I do think I wouldn’t enjoy the game as much solo – whether single-player or through quickplay. Part of the joy of playing so far has been the cooperation, the craziness, and the insanity I get to experience with friends. I have heard, however, that those going in alone are often able to find a team through quickplay.
I’d like to see a few things as we progress. More than a single default character might be nice (although most aren’t too difficult to unlock), and a bigger variety of background music as well, as the game involves doing just about the same thing on repeat and would benefit from a little atmospheric variety. But overall it’s already in really good shape, and a really enjoyable play. If you’re looking for something new to try with your friends and not overwhelmed by the thought of having chaos extreme all over your monitor, take a look!