The original Risk Of Rain was a chaotic, 2D sidescroller about turning a tiny character into a wandering projectile swarm. It’s sequel mimicked the systems but switched from pixel art to 3D – and in my eyes lost a little of its readability in the process.
Enter Risk Of Rain Returns, a full remaster of the 2D original with higher resolution artwork, new survivors, and slicker multiplayer. It’s out now.
Each life in Risk Of Rain begins by choosing a survivor to play as, who you’ll gradually power up over the course of a life. Returns features fifteen such survivors, including two that are entirely new. Even the old survivors have been revised, however, with each now having alternate attack abilities. The Sniper can use theirs to specifically aim their shots, for example, letting you prioritise an enemy among a swarm.
The original Risk Of Rain had multiplayer, but it was rickety, like that of many indie games from the era. Returns has “improved multiplayer services”, meanwhile, so it should be smoother to play its four-player online and couch co-op.
Risk Of Rain was originally grouped together with an early wave of indie roguelikes, such as Spelunky, but in 2023 you’re better off thinking of it as a sidescrolling Vampire Survivors. The characters you control truly do become absurdly destructive, balanced out only by the similarly absurd number of enormous enemies you can be fighting onscreen simultaneously.
Risk Of Rain Returns is developed by Hopoo Games, the makers of Risk Of Rain 1 and 2, but it seems like it might be their last dalliance with the series. Last year, Hopoo sold the Risk Of Rain IP to Gearbox Publishing and said they were “ready to move on to new challenges.”