Most of you will have heard me about it by now. Risk of Rain.
Made by some guys who sometimes hang out in the very same internet spot I do, this amazing rouge-like is already a huge indie hit. Having racked up just over 30k in funds on KickStarter, shooting way past their goal of 7k, they’re currently going through the beta development phase… and I’m in on it! One of the reward tiers on KickStarter included access to the beta of RoR, so I went for that. And boy let me tell you, it’s fucking great!
You start a new game. You get to pick a class (currently three available, but more are to come), that have four different abilities mapped to four keys on your keyboard. Arrow keys to move, space to jump, and off you go! As you travel the beautiful 2D lands with your pixelated character, enemies will start spawning. Make clever use of your abilities to kill them, gaining experience and gold. Gold can be used to open supply chests, containing items. Find the teleporter, activate it, survive for a while, clean up all enemies, and move onto the next level. Sounds simple enough, right?
It is, but it’s great fun. Add to that the wide variety of classes and items, and you’ve got yourself a brilliant game. There’s a ranged class, a melee class, and one that sits in between. The items have different effects, anywhere from healing you when you stand still for two seconds, to setting the ground ablaze whenever you kill an enemy. Discovering all of them is great fun, and it’s cool to see how well some items synergize with a particular class. Too bad you usually don’t get to pick them yourself. It adds to the thrill of doing a new run though.
And then there’s the enemies, oh boy. There’s so many species already, the Monster Log suggesting there’s forty in the current version. These, too, differ a lot from each other. In later levels, some spawn as “elites”, being extra strong and sometimes even having elemental properties! Their designs are great, and it’s way cool that they included full-size drawings in the Monster Log. Don’t get me wrong, their sprites are very well-made too, but detailed art really adds a lot to the characters.
Oh and did I mention it has support for local co-op? Hook up a gamepad or two, or three, and play the game with up to four players at a time! Great to see local co-op in a game again, that stuff’s great for when you have friends over.
But of course this also causes the enemies to get stronger, levels to get harder. And they already were. A timer starts ticking as soon as you start a new game. The longer you spend wandering around, the stronger the enemies get and the more often they spawn. You’ll need to find a good balance between staying to get lots of items, and rushing to have an easier time later on. Balancing strength and toughness, basically.
It may still be in beta, but aside from the rare bug and the still growing amount of content, I’d have no problem calling it a finished game. Granted, I may be a bit biased because I know the guys behind it a little bit, but I had a lot of fun playing the game, no denying that.
All in all, definitely one of the most noteworthy games of 2013, if not at the very top of that list!