No one enjoys being lost, a feeling of helplessness and that desire to get back home can be overwhelming. Imagine if this happened to you, but you were being chased by a mysterious floating robot! How would you feel, and what would you do? Rift Racoon tells this sorrowful story with its pixelated retro aesthetic.
Developed by Marcos Game Dev and Ratalaika Games and published by Eastasiasoft Limited. Rift Racoon is a classic precision platform game where jumping, climbing, and teleportation are key skills you need to be successful.
Rift Racoon takes a simple approach.
It was refreshing to have a game that jumped into its main concept with little window dressing. You are thrown straight into the action, getting to grips with the fundamentals, and failing your tasks repeatedly. With an option of two difficulties, you can either select normal which is instakill, or casual which allows for two strikes before you die. In all honesty normal was tough, but casual dumbed down the experience too much.
You control Tucker, he’s a lost racoon who has a curious ability. Not only can he leap large gaps, and use his sharp claws to climb, he can also teleport through walls. Yes, you read that right, a teleporting racoon! You face fifty handcrafted levels that vary in design and difficulty. You must avoid spikes, climb mountainous walls, and teleport through objects. Sounds simple? Think again, this is a beastly precision platformer where death is one small error away.
Short stages and leaps of faith.
I adore a casual gaming experience. A quick blast on a title between jobs, or something to enjoy after you put the kids to bed. Rift Racoon offers this in abundance. If you are accurate and trust your instincts, you’ll fly through the levels. This doesn’t mean it’s easy. No, the short stages allow you to memorise the layout, and a generous amount of checkpoints help you continue from where you left off.
Not only will you have to have trust in your abilities, you’ll be making many leaps of faith. Falling from high platforms to lower areas is a key element in this precision platformer. This was quite disconcerting, and though I died repeatedly, it was rewarding when it all came together.
Alongside your death-defying leaps, you’ll have to teleport into tight spaces. This aspect was troublesome, and failure was all but guaranteed. The developers weren’t lying when they insisted that accuracy was key. If you are just millimetres off, Tucker gets stuck, and unsurprisingly dies. It’s harsh, but that’s what you get for messing with the laws of physics.
Rift Racoon is a retro game with an old-school aesthetic.
I know pixelated and dated graphics aren’t to everyone’s liking, but I like them. My Series X eats them for breakfast, but I love the simplicity, and the nostalgic feeling it produces. The handcrafted levels are great to look at, with many new assets used as the game moves on. There is a nice variety in backdrops, and though the colours are garish and in your face, they weren’t OTT. The sprites are basic but offer enough detail to be inoffensive. The traps, platforms and other obstacles all stand out from one another, helping you to negotiate each stage.
Old-school arcade games are renowned for their brash, synth sound and upbeat tempo. Rift Racoon ticks these boxes with its retro style. Alongside the fast-paced music, you are also treated to calmer and more mellow sounds. It was a pleasant mixture of songs that added some interesting variety to the gameplay. Jumping and teleporting was met with shrill sound effects, and these were a little harsh on the ears. But the discomfort was worth it as the audio creates that much-loved arcade experience.
Tight controls, but missing key elements.
If you are coining your game as a precision platformer, you better have the controls on point. Fortunately, not only are they responsive and accurate, they are easy to pick up. This doesn’t reduce the difficulty of the task at hand. No, it simply makes it more enjoyable to play. Only a few buttons are used across the fifty levels, making this a great entry-level platform game.
I want to say that this has loads of replay value, but sadly I can’t. It keeps you coming back whilst you complete each of the stages, but once you’ve finished it, there is little reason to return. There are gems to collect, but these add nothing to the gameplay. Also, the achievements are unlocked very early on and offer little difficulty to gain them. If the developers had selected a full collectable list and made these relevant to the gameplay, it would have added an interesting layer to the action. Another consideration would have been a speed run option. This would have tested the best players to push themselves and would have added a competitive edge. It would be nice to see the latter added to increase longevity.
Rift Racoon does exactly what it needs to.
Nothing about Rift Racoon shocked me, and its description matches the action perfectly. It’s a casual gaming experience that tests your patience and short term memory. You must have quick reactions and be able to time your actions perfectly. A generous amount of checkpoints ensure that even the toughest of stages are achievable with a little practice. I enjoyed my time with it and recommend you buy it here! Can you help Tucker find his way home and avoid the strange stalking robot? Leap, climb and teleport your way to victory.