ReviewsReview: The Riftbreaker

Review: The Riftbreaker

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Will mankind ever learn? If science fiction has taught me anything, it’s that we don’t mess with alien worlds. However, we’re stupid, destructive, and greedy! Our desire to find the next big thing keeps us going, no matter the risks. The Riftbreaker has this dangerous and exciting Sci-fi concept at the core of everything it does.

Developed and published by Exor Studios, this is a mishmash of genres set in the distant future. The fun and hectic gameplay demand a cool head, an eye for detail, and a smidgen of luck. With a weak story and laughable characters, you’d be forgiven for overlooking this, yet I strongly recommend you reconsider.

The Riftbreaker is phenomenal, even with its shortcomings. 

Now, I love a fantastic protagonist and gripping story as much as the next person, but I didn’t let this define my opinion. Sadly, The Riftbreaker is seriously lacking a deep and interesting story. Moreover, Ashley, the lead character, is so boring I occasionally let them die just to spice things up. However, every other mechanic pastes over these gaping cracks to create a worthy, albeit random genre title. 

With moments of RTS, Tower Defence, resource management, survival, and top-down shooter, you get a lot of game for your money. The gist of the story is that a company wants to colonise an alien planet called Galatea 37. This hostile world is filled with inhospitable environments and rare resources. You must build bases, defend them from swarms of enemies, and overcome each catastrophic event you encounter. If you survive long enough, you can build a rift to return to Earth and complete your mission.

Battle the swarm.

A standard approach, but so many variables. 

What makes The Riftbreaker so great is the simple core gameplay that runs through every playthrough. Once you have the fundamentals nailed, you can enjoy experimenting with the finer details. With every biome offering a unique challenge and different technology required to tackle each problem, you must be flexible throughout. Whether you are evading the superheat of the desert or trekking through volcanic ash, you’ll have to invest in new tech if you wish to succeed.

However, the exploration elements are but a small piece of this complex puzzle. Base building and Tower Defence are key components. How you design your home and the way you defend it will define your levels of success. Regretfully, the alien swarm likes nothing more than to wipe out your progress. This will infuriate you as they attempt to undermine your power. 

This is where the RPG elements of upgraded equipment and new technology are key! You must research and improve your tech to level out the playing field. I loved how this kept you on your toes and every region and swarm requires a different approach.

Teleport between each region.

The end game is testing. 

I state that I love the constant challenges that each region creates. However, the end game is so testing that I struggled to keep up. With resources to mine, bases to protect, and swarms to destroy, it’s the perfect storm that requires precise planning. You’ll teleport between bases while trying to manage your limited time, and this was stressful. No matter your level of expertise, you’ll find this a tough but rewarding experience.

Though the difficulty will punish many players, the blend of mechanics and the theme work in harmony. Failing in the latter stages isn’t shameful, as it’s all but guaranteed. But with precise planning and a methodical mind, you’ll get the best out of this in-depth title.

The Riftbreaker looks like Halo Wars

I’m not sure if it’s the grimy and earthy colour palette or the futuristic edge that reminds me of Halo Wars. I loved its top-down perspective and alien world. The varied biomes and details of the fauna and flora were brilliant to look at. The action is mostly great, however; I experienced some serious crashes when the screen was overwhelmed. This often occurred in the swamp biome where the Series X and other machines struggle to handle the workload. This was disappointing and infuriating as progress was lost repeatedly. This sadly tarnished the final product and needs addressing ASAP.

The energetic and loud audio was excellent until the protagonist spoke. The acting is dull and leaves a lot to be desired. The dialogue isn’t helped by the lifeless plot, but fortunately, it’s overshadowed by the excellent sound effects. The metallic sounds have a futuristic edge that enhances the brutal nature of the gameplay. The booming explosions, thuds of bullets, and whoosh of your flame thrower bring life to every battle.

Upgrade your Mech.

Many elements = complex controls. 

An eclectic blend of genres ensures that there are plenty of elements to understand. This multi-layered approach is challenging to learn, but a thorough tutorial assists the learning curve. There is no escaping the complexity of the controls, but these are supported by a well-designed UI that helps to reduce screen clutter. Though it wasn’t the most straightforward title to get to grips with, it could have been much harder to play.

Don’t let the learning curve put you off this addictive and rich multi-genre title. The gameplay is moreish and will attract fans from an array of backgrounds. Furthermore, the challenging end game and large achievement list will keep you playing for hours.

The Riftbreaker grew on me.

I didn’t know what to expect when I saw the challenging gameplay and the soulless story. Yet, I’m glad I gave it a chance. The Riftbreaker is a slow-burner that requires patience. Once I understood the fundamentals, I adored what was on offer. If you enjoy any of the aforementioned genres, then you’ll want this. I enjoyed it and recommend you to buy it here! Invading an alien planet was never going to be easy. It’s time to build a base, overcome your foes, and return to Earth safely. 

SUMMARY

The Riftbreaker is a phenomenal title that blends genres effortlessly. The moreish but challenging gameplay is brutally difficult but hard to resist. It would be the perfect game if it wasn't for the unfortunate crashes.

+ Excellent graphics.
+ Captivating soundtrack.
+ A great UI.
+ A brilliant blend of genres.
+ Addictive.
+ Challenging.
- It crashes when under stress.
- Wooden acting.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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