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Risk Of Rain 2 adds a playable lizard-dog

A lovely wet dog

I want to like Risk Of Rain 2 . The 3D sequel to Chancy Precipitation 1 has snazzy music and a weird, varied menagerie of monsters to shoot at. A few more joined the fray in yesterday's Hidden Realms update, along with a playable lizard-dog, dedicated servers, nine new items, and more varied level layouts. It's a meaty and welcome update, though I just played a game and still think getting insta-swatted after 40 minutes of pootling around is an unforgivable pacing problem.

Mercifully, most of the new stuff in the third major update is unlocked from the start. Last time round developers Hopoo Games added interesting ability variants, but then locked them behind hours of grinding, some of it chance-based. In contrast, it's nice to load straight into an alternate version of the first area, a jungley pit that you descend or climb via concentric circles and bridges.

Unlocking the new character, however, is unfortunately convoluted. You need to activate a newt altar using a lunar coin, which lets you reach the Bazaar Between Worlds, and from there you drop down into a Null portal that leads to the new Void Hidden Realm. Then you have to faff about with bubbles or something. Here's a guide, if you want to go through all that rather than just editing a save file.

I couldn't find a newt altar, but you can take a peek at one of the hidden realms in the Hidden Realms update below.

The main point of adding dedicated servers is to let people muck around in multiplayer with mods. Here's an even more convoluted guide to setting one up.

Risk Of Rain 2 is frustrating, because half an hour or more of relaxing Issaac-like item-stacking inevitably gets punctured by deaths that come too quick. Ten months after I first played, that problem's still there. I barely felt imperilled, then suddenly two robots fired lasers at me and I went from full health to ragdolling across the screen. The enemies and items are inventive and arresting, but the game overall winds up being a damp squib. It's a real shame.

Here are the patch notes in full.

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