Hello everyone! This week, I've been consumed by Risk of Rain. It's so freaking addictive and awesome, as any good roguelike should be!
It took me a while to get around to buying this one, however, because I kind of felt like the screenshots and videos of the game were not very good at displaying the gameplay. Viewing the promotional material, I had a very difficult time figuring out which sprite was supposed to be the player character, because they always chose the most hectic parts of the game to show off. It might have been better to show a gradual increase in difficulty during the promotional video, with very few enemies at first (like the way the game is designed).
Anyway, after watching a stream of Anthony Carboni and Adam Sessler playing the game, I decided it really did look like an awesome game, so I bought it. And it is fantastic!
They did a really great job of making the planet that you're stranded on feel desolate and lonely, by making your character sprites so tiny compared to the bleak, yet beautiful landscapes. And even though you're so tiny, it's not nearly as difficult to follow your character's location as it seems in the video. The music also adds a lot to the tone of the game, with very spacey music that's often slow to pick up, and sounds somewhat menacing and mysterious.
I really love how varied they made the different classes you can choose from. Each class plays very differently from everyone else. It can take a bit of experimenting with their various skills before you're comfortable with any one class, but by the end of a few enemy hordes, you should be good. I still have one last class to unlock, but so far, my favorites are Acrid, the poison-spewing beast, the Huntress, who can shoot arrows while moving, and the Engineer, equipped with grenades, rockets and sentry guns. I like being able to run around freely while fighting, which those three classes are able to do quite well. Most of the other classes you'll have to keep stopping frequently to shoot, which isn't terrible, but I'll sometimes get overwhelmed with hordes of enemies and suddenly take tons of damage when trying to shoot. Other classes, like the Sniper and the robot janitor, seem to take a LOT of getting used to before you're any good with them. I'm still terrible with both of those classes...
The other great thing about the game is the items. There's tons of items you can find, most of which grant you passive abilities (which I love, because you don't have to do anything!), while others are usable items that have cooldown times. You can only hold one usable item at a time, while you can hold as many passive items as you can find. The passive items are also stackable, so if you find a ton of monster teeth, you'll be able to regain huge amounts of health by killing enemies. By the end of the game, it's possible to become an unstoppable, almighty killing machine thanks to all the items you find throughout the world. But even so, you can still die if you become too overzealous.
And of course, the unique thing about this roguelike is that while you play, the difficulty slowly becomes more and more difficult, resulting in larger numbers of enemies and more powerful enemies generating all around you. So, you can either try to get through the game as quickly as possible to keep the difficulty down during the final levels, or take your time finding all the items while the difficulty slowly increases. I find the game is actually much easier if you just collect as many items as you can, regardless of the current difficulty.
So far, I've beaten the game twice (once with the Engineer and once with Acrid). I'd like to try to beat the game with each class, so I'll have to start practicing with some of the classes that I'm not very good with yet.
So has anyone else been playing this game? I haven't actually heard much about it from the community. It's only a few months old now, so it should still be pretty fresh in most peoples' minds if they played it. I'd definitely put it towards the top of my 2013 GOTY list, by the way. It's neck-and-neck with Rogue Legacy as my favorite roguelike from last year.