Risk of Rain Returns is one of the coolest remakes I’ve ever played. It takes everything that was so good about the original and upgrades it. Rather than just being the same game again but with a new lick of paint, it fuses different aspects of Risk of Rain 2 onto the original, shines up the visuals and the music, and even adds in a few new things as well. The result is a game that’s highly replayable and thoroughly enjoyable.
Risk of Rain originally released a whole ten years ago, and it remains an excellent roguelike to this day. It casts you as a survivor of a spaceship crash trying to get off of a horrible planet that seems hellbent on killing you off. Each character has their own mechanics and style, and aside from feeling different to play, they can all complement each other in co-op too.
Then we got Risk of Rain 2, which did all of the same stuff but in 3D. I genuinely think the leap is comparable to the SNES Mario games suddenly becoming Mario 64. I know it’s not as influential, but suddenly seeing pixel sprites with an extra dimension was, and still is, incredible. It also helps that the gameplay transferred really well, making Risk of Rain 2 a contender for my favourite roguelike ever made.
It’s safe to say that Risk of Rain Returns has a lot to do if it wants to keep up. Thankfully, it feels just as good as the original game. The gameplay is smoother than BTS, with controls feeling completely natural even as they evolve because you suddenly gain the ability to double jump, or float, or anything else you might find, the bosses are horrifyingly intimidating, with each one requiring a different approach, and both the visuals and the music are incredible.
The new abilities each survivor can unlock adds in more chances to further customize your preferred playstyle, along with giving you more to do. The new characters are a blast to play with, and the new trials give a nice sidequest from the standard roguelike mode too. It’s literally all good stuff from top to bottom, aside from a couple of small complaints.
First up, losing the third dimension leaves some of the new characters feeling odd. The Artificer in Risk of Rain 2 can be incredibly hard to kill thanks to their abilities, but in Risk of Rain Returns you end up relying on their ability to create ice walls to even hit things in the first place. Bosses only drop one item in co-op, which means you end up fighting among yourselves to grab it (although that is fun in a way). It’s also just hard, which I love, but it is going to put some people off.