At E3 2019, I had an opportunity to check out The Riftbreaker, a base-building survival ARPG game from Polish developer EXOR Studios. The game was in its pre-Alpha stage, but it was easy to see that this game had a lot of potential.

Recently I got my hands on the pre-Alpha build again and was able to play through the Survival mode. Since the game is still being worked on, I can’t give a full review at this time, but I can give my impression of the game as it stands right now.

Race Against the Clock

The Riftbreaker is unlike any game I’ve played, but there are gameplay elements that are reminiscent of games like StarCraft and Satisfactory. You are Riftbreaker Ashley S. Nowak, a scientist and a commando. You arrive on planet Galatea 37, a place teeming with gorgeous flora and fauna…and exceedingly aggressive aliens. Your task is to create a rift that will connect you back to Earth. Once you land you have to start building your base, gather resources, and collect samples as quickly as possible because in Survival mode, hordes of aliens will come rushing at your base and if you don’t have the right fortifications up, they will overrun you. In this mode you are racing against the clock, against the time of day, and against the aliens. You have one hour to survive, but this is no easy feat. You must gather as many resources as you can to build structures that can upgrade your weapons, turrets, and your base. These upgrades are essential to your survival because each wave of enemies gets progressively harder. Where the first wave is relatively manageable, by the end game you can be battle up to hundreds of these Zerg-like creatures. This can all make for an incredibly nerve-wrecking time.

This is completely manageable.

Gameplay and Combat

The mechanics in the game are straightforward. You have menu options that allow you to choose your building types, defense systems, and passive buildings like solar panels and energy conductors. It took a little time to get used to what each selection did, but after a few playthroughs I was able to master it. The UI is simple, and it doesn’t get in the way of your base building or combat. The exploration of the planet is also enjoyable, but I wasn’t able to venture out as far as I wanted because there was always imminent threat to my base. Still you have to be able to go out and gather resources or you won’t be able to maintain your buildings or build new ones.

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Combat in the game can be a little frustrating at times. At the start you are only equipped with one automatic gun and a melee weapon. But the gun runs out of ammo and sometimes I was left hacking and slashing my way through the enemies with my blade. You can build turrets which are incredibly useful if you can make a few of them, but the real power comes from their upgrade. If you can’t get the turret upgrade, then you will have a difficult time fighting off the last attack wave. I cannot stress enough how many of those aliens show up in the final push.  

Graphics and Story

The graphics are incredible. Galatea 37 is colorful and vibrant planet filled with every resource you need to build and every plant life sample you need to upgrade or conduct research. There are iron and steel deposits that you can mine so you can build more structures. The main problem I had was producing enough energy to run all my factories. To address this, you have a choice of solar panels and wind machines. Solar panels only work during the day, but they produce more energy. Wind machines work all day and night but produces less energy. Managing how many of each you should build is trial and error and I still wasn’t able to find the right combination. Every building runs on energy, so you have to be sure that each building is connected to an energy node and that you are generating enough energy to keep the buildings working. If not, nothing will work or there will be delays in production.

Everything’s fine. Everything’s under control here.

Since this was a pre-Alpha build there wasn’t really wasn’t much of a story. Yes, you are a scientist sent to a new planet to gather information. You wear a mecha-suit, Mr. Riggs, and it’s his voice that tells you where you need to go and what you need to do. There is no backstory to this character you play, and there’s no reason given as to why you’re on the planet other than human expansion. I assume that once the game is released, there will be a single-player story.  

Based on what I’ve played, The Riftbreaker is a perfect game for people who love sci-fi, base building, and survival games. You must also like fighting off hordes of aliens as they swarm your base and damage most of your hard-earned buildings. This game can be extremely challenging but surviving an onslaught is ridiculously satisfying. I look forward to playing the finished game when it is released.   

The Riftbreaker is slated to be released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC sometime in 2020. 

Game Trailer




Renee Lopez
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