Risk of Rain Returns Review – A Legendary Indie Returns

Revitalizing the classic with a modern flourish.

Risk of Rain Returns Review
Overall
5
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Risk of Rain Returns is a phenomenal game that revitalizes the classic with a visual overhaul and many thoughtful new additions.

Pros

  • Expanded Roster
  • Excellent Visuals
  • Providence Trials
  • Beautiful Soundtrack

Cons

  • Limited Mechanical Improvements
  • Local Co-op Challenges

In the celestial dance of pixels and peril, Risk of Rain Returns emerges as a triumphant rebirth, beckoning players to relive this cult classic’s unforgiving beauty.

Key Takeaways
  • Developer: Hopoo Games
  • Publisher: Gearbox Publishing
  • Release Date: November 8, 2023
  • Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch
  • Game Length: 10 Hours
  • Time Played: 25 Hours
Editors Note: We went back and played both the original Risk of Rain, as well as Risk of Rain 2 to prepare for this current review.

This remastered rendition, pulsating with nostalgic beats of the original, unfolds a cosmic tapestry of revamped visuals, relentless gameplay, and a universe brimming with secrets. Whether you’re a seasoned survivor or a newcomer, this is more than a return—it’s a pulsating crescendo of pixelated mastery.

So join me as I navigate this meteoric landscape, exploring its reimagined realms, unraveled mysteries, and a symphony of chaos that awaits in every biome.

Story And Setting

Risk of Rain Returns Review Story and Setting
Story And Setting. (Image By eXputer)

Risk of Rain Returns not only revitalizes a cult classic’s challenging rogue-like gameplay but also breathes new life into its narrative landscape. It introduces players to a perilous alien world where a quest for survival and escape unfolds against a backdrop of atmospheric storytelling and environmental richness.

It’s deceptively simple yet evocative: after crash-landing on an enigmatic alien planet, players assume the role of a Survivor desperately seeking teleporters to traverse its unforgiving terrain and recover pieces of a scattered spacecraft.

This straightforward objective serves as a foundation for a narrative that gradually unfolds through subtle environmental cues, unlockable story entries, and an immersive Logs section.

From lush, alien forests to desolate, otherworldly landscapes, each biome tells a story of its own, enticing players to delve deeper into any mysteries that this world might hold.

When I first played the original, its cryptic approach to storytelling was evident. This remake enriches its experience with a plethora of new story entries and captivating artwork in a new Logs section. This addition not only provided me with more context about the world but also enhanced my overall sense of immersion.

It’s environmental storytelling is a masterstroke, with each level serving as a canvas for a visual narrative. From lush, alien forests to desolate, otherworldly landscapes, each biome tells a story of its own, enticing players to delve deeper into any mysteries that this world might hold.

Risk of Rain Returns Review
Survive. (Image Credits: eXputer)

A masterfully crafted soundtrack, composed by acclaimed composer Chris Christodoulou, further elevates Risk of Rain Returns storytelling experience. His mesmerizing compositions, characterized by the unique sound of a lightning ukulele, create an atmospheric backdrop that complements this game’s tone.

His music seamlessly adapts to the shifting dynamics of gameplay, enhancing its sense of urgency during intense encounters and evoking a contemplative mood during quieter moments.

Gameplay

Risk of Rain Returns Gameplay
Gameplay. (Image Captured by eXputer)

Risk of Rain Returns’ fundamental premise remains true to its predecessor – stranded on an alien planet, players must navigate procedurally generated levels, battling hordes of enemies and powerful bosses while racing against a relentless ticking clock that results in an increase in difficulty with each passing second.

What made the gameplay stand out was a seamless fusion of familiar mechanics with ingenious new additions. And at the forefront are our Survivors, each with their unique playstyles, skills, and unlockable abilities.

Alongside classics like the Engineer and the Loader, this remake introduces three new survivors – Drifter, Pilot, and Artificer, expanding our roster to 15 characters. It also features a new boss: Lynx Totem, who attempts to overpower players with sheer numbers.

Lynx Totem consistently generates Lynx Tribe monsters while evading damage from survivors. This variety injects replayability and strategic depth as players experiment with different survivors, uncovering synergies, and adapting to their distinct strengths and weaknesses.

As I lingered in a stage, the more difficult it became, creating a strategic dilemma.

This game’s core loop is deceptively simple: find a teleporter, activate it, survive the ensuing onslaught, and progress to another level. However, its genius lies in its balancing act between speed and thorough exploration.

As I lingered in a stage, the more difficult it became, creating a strategic dilemma – rush to a teleporter or risk greater rewards by scouring maps for items and secrets. Many times I was on the edge of my seat due to this immense time pressure,  which masterfully fosters a sense of urgency and mastery.

This title also introduces Providence Trials, a series of diverse challenges that offer a departure from the standard gameplay loop. These trials, ranging from mobility-focused tasks to precision shooting, not only served as engaging mini-games but also rewarded me with new skills and items.

I felt that these are a brilliant addition that injects variety and progression into this roguelike formula.

Unlocking Skills
Unlocking Skills. (Image Captured by eXputer)

A huge arsenal of items, a hallmark of this series, sees significant expansion. From healing drones to devastating damage boosts, there is a staggering array of power-ups on offer that can drastically alter the tide of battle.

Risk of Rain Returns’ real thrill lies in its randomness. Each run is a unique concoction of items, encouraging adaptability and strategic thinking. This item diversity, coupled with Providence Trials, ensures that no two runs feel alike.

Multiplayer, a key component of this roguelike experience, has received notable improvements. Net coding has been refined, and the addition of Steam quick-invite system streamlines multiplayer sessions, allowing players to jump into a four-player game in minutes.

Start With Only Two Survivors. (Captured by eXputer)

Its cooperative experience is further enriched by new team-based skills introduced for survivors, promoting collaboration and synergy among players. And if you throw an Artifact into the mix, now that’s when real teamwork is needed.

However, it isn’t without its challenges. Local cooperative mode, while enjoyable, introduces a spatial constraint – players must stick together to avoid even one character being left behind, leading to potential run-ending scenarios. Nevertheless, I think that online multiplayer is a significant leap from the original’s limitations.

Risk of Rain Returns is a testament to the mastery of roguelike design. Its gameplay is a symphony of chaos and mastery, seamlessly blending familiar mechanics with innovative additions. 

Visuals And Performance

Risk of Rain Returns Review Visuals
Visuals. (Image Credits: eXputer)

At first glance, Risk of Rain Returns’ visual style may seem familiar to veteran fans, but a closer inspection reveals a level of refinement that breathes new life into these alien landscapes players must navigate.

Its pixel art is more detailed and vibrant, with a noticeable improvement in character animations. Survivors move with a newfound fluidity, their actions blending seamlessly with the chaotic nature of their gameplay.

Redesigned bosses are also a sight to behold. These towering monstrosities, already impressive in the original, now command attention with enhanced details and smoother animations. The Lynx Totem boss is a visual spectacle, actively reshaping terrain as I engaged it in battle.

A commitment to preserving the original’s essence while enhancing its visual fidelity is evident in every pixel. This style also carries a timeless quality that transcends graphical trends. It embraces this pixelated charm, turning it into a visual asset rather than a limitation.

Crisp visuals, coupled with smooth animations, contribute to an immersive experience that feels both modern and nostalgically rooted in a once-thriving golden era of 2D gaming.

Risk of Rain Returns is a visual feast for players who appreciate the art of discovery, rewarding curiosity with hidden gems scattered throughout its levels.

Environmental redesigns are equally commendable. While the core structure of each level remains familiar, their finer details have been meticulously crafted to promote additional exploration. Secret walls, hidden collectibles, and more mobility options are seamlessly integrated into each pixelated landscape.

Risk of Rain Returns is a visual feast for players who appreciate the art of discovery, rewarding curiosity with hidden gems scattered throughout its levels.

I think Its user interface has also received some much-needed attention. Menus, prompts, and informational displays are seamlessly integrated into the pixel art aesthetic, maintaining consistency and avoiding visual dissonance.

Screen can get quite hectic
Levels Can Get Quite Hectic. (Image by eXputer)

It was a creative decision to offer both a zoomed-in and zoomed-out perspective that caters to player preferences, and I personally really appreciate it.

A zoomed-in view allows players to appreciate the detailed pixel artistry, providing a closer look at characters and environments. Alternatively, a zoomed-out perspective streamlines gameplay and offers me a broader view of each chaotic battle, facilitating a more strategic approach.

Despite many visual enhancements, I think Risk of Rain Returns maintains a remarkable level of performance efficiency, running smoothly even on lower-end machines. This commitment ensures accessibility, allowing a broader audience to experience its pixelated beauty without sacrificing performance.

Verdict

Risk of Rain Returns Review
Verdict. (Image Captured by eXputer)

Risk of Rain Returns revitalizes a classic with a visual overhaul and thoughtful additions. Its striking visuals and engaging Providence Trials enhance gameplay, while three new survivors diversify playstyles. 

Despite some lingering design limitations, Returns is a nostalgic journey for veterans and an enticing entry for newcomers into the roguelike realm. With its addictive gameplay, compelling visuals, and well-executed improvements, it stands as a commendable remaster of a cult classic.

This has been our Risk of Rain Returns Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles. 

This is box title
Get This Game
You should play this game if you yearn for old-school 2D video games with beautiful and modern art styles and love fast-paced moment-to-moment gameplay.
Dont Get This Game
If you expected a significant departure from that original Risk of Rains experience, you will be disappointed.
Do I Need To Get This Game
This game is for people itching for a classic Risk of Rain experience as it gives just that with a visual overhaul and a few treats.
Alternative Games
  • Risk of Rain 2
  • Dead Cells
  • Noita
  • Spelunky
  • Vampire Survivors
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Asad Ahmad is a Games Reviewer on eXputer who’s combined his passion for writing and gaming into a sweet blend of content for his audience to enjoy. He started off his gaming journey in the RTS genre but settled on RPGs like Skyrim as his go-to games. Asad has a substantial amount of writing experience in reviewing and writing for games, which is backed up by his extensive gaming library on Steam.

Experience: 2+ Years

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