RiftStar Raiders – Review

RiftStar Raiders

On the fringes of space, there is an endless abyss, but within it, a wild amount of real estate. The planets, and the solar systems the revolve around hold untold riches and wealth, making it a futuristic goldmine unlike anything on Earth. This brings plenty of opportunities to take power, and abuse it. From space pirates to galactic police, battles are constantly brewing over every resource.

Deep in the crack of this new gold rush, there is a threat brewing that may very well threaten the entire frontier. this is RiftStar Raiders, from CLIMAX Studios.  RiftStar Raiders is a top-down twin-stick shooter taking place in the depth of space. Players play as a mercenary on the frontier, pulling off heists and striking back at law enforcement. When an ancient evil is unearthed, players will need to saddle up and stop this unknown menace, all the while earning a big payday.

RiftStar Raiders plays as a top-down twin-stick shooter. Players will be tasked on going on a multitude of mission son the frontier At first, it will begin with a heist, infiltrating a secure installation to retrieve a mysterious device. From there, all hell breaks loose as that device is more important than what one would think it is. Players will be facing a variety of enemy fighters from military contractors to a darkly mysterious alien species.

Players will face a range of light and heavy enemies, from turrets to interceptors to bombers, and so on. Players will even face entire warships in some instances during the campaign. Each mission has its own degree of objectives to accomplish, but the biggest draw is to nab loot. In each mission, players will drop currency, crafting items, and upgrades.  You can use this loot to upgrade your ships and weapons. However, grabbing this loot will be risky as RiftStar Raiders is a challenging game, especially when playing solo.

RiftStar Raiders gives players a variety of tactical weapons and ships to utilize, giving players the opportunity to tailor their ships and play experience to the desired configuration. From lasers to missiles and machine guns, there are many ways to defeat enemies and engage in combat. Playing with these different styles is fun, and players will be immersed in finding each weapons interesting effects. Playing the missions solo will be a challenge and require repeat playthrough to fully defeat. Fortunately, players will keep their currency, making the grind not terrible or impossible.

Playing RiftStar Raiders is good, but made better with friends. Across the 9 large story missions, players will embark on what can be described as small adventures. Missions can take anywhere from fifteen minutes to a half hour, with checkpoints placed in between. Of course, if all players die, then the level starts from the beginning. When players are in sync, the co-op experience is absolutely fantastic, with a plethora of enemies to destroy and a great abundance of loot to collect.

When working together, players will be able to conquer anything the game throws at them. Between the dazzling visuals and advanced mission design, players will find plenty of replayability of RiftStar Raiders. The levels are interestingly designed a well, whether it is fighting through subspace or escaping a supernova in a solar system, there is plenty of variety to experience. One level had a warship in the background attempting to destroy my ship in the foreground, while surrounded by smaller enemies. Moments like this make Rifstar Raiders quite an enjoyable, but challenging interstellar thrill ride.

While RiftStar Raiders has a very solid degree of combat, it is tremendously set back by the lack of local co-op. Co-Op is online only, and not crossplay, leaving a small online community fragmented. Playing locally in a twin-stick shooter is a gold standard, whether with 1 other player or two additional players. Being able to play alongside others in the same room is one of the base foundations of friendly and accessible gaming.

Having local offline co-op would be perfect for those who want to experience the game in a more physical and communicative way. As it stands, the fragmented community means that playing Rifstar Raiders isn’t common, and is borderline impossible. I did manage to reach out and play with at least two other players for a few sessions, but those were rare occurrences. Of course, having multiple players means being able to successfully achieve victory in some missions, which would otherwise be greatly difficult for a solo player. The lack of a local co-op greatly hinders the game, and I hope that the team implements one in their future endeavors.

While the lack of a local co-op does hurt the appeal of RiftStar Raiders, it’s mechanics, gameplay, and Western-inspired style makes the game fun and well worth your time. RiftStar Raiders is a small but solid gameplay experience with a fresh take on interstellar combat and looting.