Steampowered Sunday #7
I feel like I am getting on on this bandwagon about three months too late. Risk of Rain is an interesting indie metroidvania shooter, with randomly generated worlds and randomly placed objectives. I remember seeing this and thinking, man that looks cool. So I picked it up over the Christmas break, but never ended up playing it. When I started this whole Steampowered Sunday section this was also the very first game I think that a friend of mine gifted me to do a write up on. It was at that point that I knew sooner or later I would have to devote a Sunday morning to it. It was with a certain bit of trepidation that I finally sat down to play it. I had watched a few streamers playing this… and saw the frustration of them dying horribly over and over.
Your Death Was Extremely Painful
I honestly cannot remember a game that has been quite so successful at making me feel like a complete and total failure. I just finished playing roughly thirty minutes of the game and I feel like I want to throw the controller across the room. I of course won’t because I don’t want to break my favorite controller. The deck is stacked against you from the start it feels like, and the longer you take to find the teleporter, the worse the enemies get. However the longer you hold out, the better your chances are because you level up and can unlock various abilities throughout the level. The best I managed was getting to level 8 before finally getting swarmed to death by so many adds on screen at one time.
The problem I had with this level is I seriously could not find the damned teleporter. I wandered all over the place, picking up all sorts of nifty things, but never finding the actual objective. This is the real frustration of the game for me, is the dual missions… find the teleporter fast, and level up and find interesting weapons. When you finally do trigger the teleporter, you have to stay alive for 90 seconds while this insanely huge colossus attacks you, along with tons of other baddies that have spawned in. I have made it to the colossus phase half a dozen times at this point but the closest I have managed to make it is 30 seconds to go.
I think in part my issue is that it is set up with “modern” controller settings. I am just not used to using my trigger buttons for anything. I am far better controlling games with the face pad, so I have considered remapping the controls greatly to put all of my cooldowns on the face buttons. This is a side effect of growing up in the Atari/Nintendo/Super Nintendo era and pretty much disappearing from consoles in any serious way until Playstation/Playstation 2. I am just used to having everything controlled with the thumb buttons, and even while playing super nintendo games I tended to remap the controllers to put the buttons I almost NEVER pressed on the shoulder buttons.
The game itself is pretty gorgeous, and for not having many pixels to work with, the sprites evoke a sense of character to them. It honestly reminds me of the same kind of graphical treatment that the old school PC lemmings games used to have. Super intricate world made up of super tiny sprites. The music adds a certain character of foreboding to the alien landscape. Running around this world just feels eerie and I can’t really explain why. The purplish color palette fits the first level, but I am not sure if this changes the further you go in the game. The game is extremely well crafted for the limited resources it has on screen at a given time.
What the game reminds me of honestly is a bullet hell shooter, but if a bullet hell shooter started out extremely sparse and continued to get progressively worse over time. In most bullet hell games there is a point of equilibrium where “it can get no worse”. Once you reach that point you can adjust to it, and move forward. Risk of Rain always gets worse, there is no point at which you can really take a breather from the gameplay and prepare for the next assault. Each of the mobs on screen has a pattern, but some of them are purposefully non-complimentary. So far the things that always seem to kill me are the little flying jellyfish things. At the very least they whittle down my health to a point where one of the other mobs, like a lemurian can finish me off.
As maddening as I found the game, and while I could only take thirty minutes in one sitting… I have to say I enjoyed myself. I kinda want to boot the game up again and give it another try until I can defeat the first level. The game is extremely enjoyable and the concepts are simple enough to pick up in a few minutes. Survival is the major problem. I think if I could find the leech seed again, and then locate the teleporter early on I would be able to make it through the 90 second phase. If I got better at using the trigger buttons, namely to dodge I would have had a much better chance of success as well. Sooner or later I will have to adapt to “modern” controller layouts, because this new fangled trigger button thing apparently is not going away.
Now For Something New
For some time now, I have gathered up not only a backlog of games to play… but also thanks to the various humble bundle packs, a number of duplicates. As a result I have decided to start hosting a contest. The idea is that you the reader votes for the next game to be featured on Steampowered Sunday. I picked 10 possible titles from my steam backlog, and you the reader will pick which one you want me to play next sunday. During Saturday’s blog post I will declare a winner and choose a random submitter to win the game that is up for grabs that week. This week I will be giving away a copy of the original Bioshock. For this giveaway you must have a steam account to be eligible. I will be tabulating the results using a Google Form. If you are not interested in the game, but want to vote anyways… there is an option for that as well.