A while back, I picked up Risk of Rain on Steam. I knew it was coming out for Vita and PS4, so I didn’t play too much of it on my PC as I really felt it would fit the Vita quite well. Turns out that, while it does work one the Vita, it’s much better on PC or the PS4. This is mostly because the game has a lot of buttons to assign considering how relatively simple it is. I managed to find a layout that suits my style and is interchangeable on the Vita and PS4. I like being able to use both the d-pad and analog stick for movement, and thankfully, you can, but not by default on the Vita. Oddly, the PS4 has a different control layout and does allow you to use both with the default controls.
The controls are simple enough. Your character has four attacks or moves. The starting class has a burst fire, full auto, piercing shot, and a dodge roll. In addition, all characters can jump, interact with things, use and cycle items. Each move has a cool down so you can’t just abuse your more powerful moves. You’re invulnerable when you roll, but it has a long cool down, so you need to use it wisely.
Here I am explaining the controls without even discussing the game. That’s because I’m not entirely sure how to describe it, but I’ll try. At its core, Risk of Rain is a platform shooter with a heavy injection of rogue-like gameplay elements. By that, I mean that when you die, you’re dead. Start over. There’s no continue; just one chance. As you level up, so do your enemies. In addition to that, as your skill increases, so does the difficulty. There are dozens of power-ups throughout the game. My best runs involved items that increased my healing potential such as the war banner that creates a small area that will heal you as long as you stay within it. The banners come out at each level you gain and they stack with one another as well as with other healing items and skills. I also enjoyed the explosive shots quite a bit as they keep enemies at bay quite nicely.
If the game were simply a survival deal, it’d be quite fun at that, but there are six levels to try to overcome with bosses and hordes of enemies to keep you from progressing. Each level has multiple layouts to keep things fresh. The last level, Risk of Rain, is always the same, but if it weren’t, you might not be able to handle it. Risk of Rain isn’t strong on story, but that’s not its deal. I guess its deal is being brutally hard and charmingly addictive. I just wish it had brighter colors, but I feel like the drab pallet is intentional. Ah well!