The Riftbreaker preview (Gamescom)

The Riftbreaker, the upcoming game by EXOR Studios, was recently announced and shown at Gamescom in Germany. We made sure we got a look at the game and secured a bit of hands on time as well – here’s what we thought.

What we know

A hybrid of multiple genres and gameplay styles, The Riftbreaker has you controlling a large mech unit that is part of a forward team sent to a distant planet through a rift in space to pave the way for future colonization. The reason you’re not launching with a full-on invasion is a practical one: your journey is a one-way endeavor until you expand your base to the point where you can open up a portal back to earth that can support more than your highly specialized equipment.

Combining base building and exploration (to get access to the resources you need) with the need to defend your base, The Riftbreaker has real time strategy elements. You also have to actively venture out with your mech to gain access to these resources, build elements to your base and fight off the locals, who aren’t too excited that you’re there. As you do so, you develop your own tech tree, crafting improvements from the materials you find and improving your odds of getting the base rift-ready – or even just surviving.

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What we saw

Even though the game is still early in its development, EXOR had brought a playable build of the game to Gamescom – allowing us to jump right into a portion of the game that showcased the various gameplay mechanisms they’re combining.

What we thought

Our first impressions of the in-game action were that it looked, at least visually, like EXOR’s previous game X-Morph: Defense – a take on the tower defense genre that we enjoyed. A quick check revealed that, indeed, EXOR’s using their in-house engine (dubbed ‘Schmetterling’) for The Riftbreaker. Luckily, X-Morph looks great and performs even better, so The Riftbreaker is promising to be smooth experience from a technical perspective.

The actual gameplay was hard to gauge in a 30 minute demo, mostly on account of the incredibly ambitious scope in terms of the many genres that are coming together here. We’d be impressed if they could fit everything inside a 30 minute tutorial when the time comes, so playing a slice of the game where everything comes together felt a bit like being thrown in at the deep end of a pool.

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A large portion of the hands on session was spent in combat, as I ventured off and engaged with the various weapons I had at my disposal. These included both ranged weapons and melee weapons, making The Riftbreaker also feel a little like an action RPG title where loot is a factor. We played with a gamepad for our session, which felt like a comfortable experience despite the myriad of genres that the game tries to blend together.

It’s hard to get a feel for how all the different elements gel together based on a short demo, but as a new take on several well-known genres The Riftbreaker is certainly worth keeping an eye out for. We’re also curious about how the narrative ties into everything, so hopefully we’ll get another look at the game in the coming months.

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