Combine the gigantic item pool with a roster of 10 classes and you’ll start to see the combinations are limitless. Each class has four abilities; their basic attack, a special form of locomotion, and two bigger attacks with a longer cooldown. Managing the abilities in a fight and surviving through the frey takes some skill and practice, and don’t be afraid to run because it's usually preferable over standing still and fighting. Initially only the Commando is available, thankfully he is a very competent hero in both solo and group situations. The generic gun-toting hero can crowd control with the best of them, but you will soon unlock more heroes for completing specific objectives. I won’t spoil how this is done, as each character is unlocked differently, but I would encourage everyone to explore the levels carefully. There’s nothing quite like a full four player co-op squad with everyone rocking a different class. Just picture the HAN-D tank robot up front, with a sniper in the back, while the engineer tosses out turrets and the commando is pushing back the hordes of enemies.
The objective of each level is to find the teleporter. Now while the levels are pre-designed, the spawn point, teleporter location, and boss are all randomly generated. Making it to the teleporter involves you mowing down enemies, some light platforming, and finally surviving. Sounds easy enough? When you eventually get to the teleporter gird your loins because once you hit the switch there is no turning back. A 90 second timer begins to count and a boss spawns, plus all of his friends he invited to the party. If you manage to survive for the 90 seconds and take out the boss, it doesn’t end there. All of the remaining enemies who have spawned also need to be eradicated before the teleporter will open, so there is no room for cowardice.
I’ve mentioned playing solo is very rewarding. It allows you to learn the ins and outs the characters and how to stay on your toes and survive. Really though, Risk of Rain shines in co-op and I highly suggest you find some friends with the game or pick up the four pack and force your friends to play with you. Each class compliments each other, and the random power-ups are all shared so there needs to be some planning and co-operation both in and out of combat. If you want to succeed you’re going to have to use teamwork and coordination because Risk of Rain scales with more players. It’s not a walk in the park and you’re going to die a lot, but thankfully if one person makes it through the teleporter then everyone spawns in the next level. The net code isn’t quite perfect, as there is some lag when you have a full foursome, but it doesn’t break the game by any means. You will have to compensate by sticking together and protecting anyone experiencing lag or internet hiccups. I’ve never seen a game of this nature, let alone a roguelike bring co-op into the fold. Nothing brings friends together like being flayed by a giant magma worm on a distant alien planet.
This is the part where I talk about the music and how righteous of a job Chris Christodoulou did with the soundtrack. For the sake of time and drool, I’ll simply say this is why we have ears. The music is too damn good.
For a game where I’ve died more times than survived, it feels weird recommending Risk of Rain. I usually warn players against overly difficult games unless they know what they are getting into, but I can’t express how important it is to experience Risk of Rain. The variety of items, enemies, and environments gives it almost infinite replay value. Players are free to experiment with team combinations, item loadouts, and classes. The unlockable items and challenges will keep even the most hardcore busy, but it is really all about grabbing a group of space travellers and dying over and over again.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with 4 friends to fight your way off an alien planet with up to 12 playable characters, randomized levels, and a difficulty level that increases the longer you play
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.