Zach Wilkerson
E3 2019: The Riftbreaker Preview
Hands-on with a Diablo-inspired base-building survival game.
06.27.19 - 2:05 PM

The Riftbreaker is a promising base-building survival game with some action RPG elements where you get to control a giant mech and take down hordes of monsters while trying to settle a planet for colonization. I had the opportunity to sit down and demo the game at E3, with one of the developers from EXOR Studios alongside me. Based on my brief play time, the game looks and controls fabulously, and it appears to bring its action and survival elements together well.

The Riftbreaker Screenshot

The gameplay loop of The Riftbreaker is intriguing. The opening screen shows two different options: Campaign Mode and Survival Mode. I sat down with Campaign Mode. It's a top-down game, and the mech you control has a few different ways to attack its enemies. First, you have a gun that, according to the developer, can be upgraded to fire at enemies in a variety of different ways throughout the game. Additionally, there is a sword to attack enemies at close range. Both attacks can be used at will, and you can switch weapons in and out using the directional pad smoothly.

The most important part of keeping enemies at bay is effective base-building. Bases can be constructed throughout the world, they are the area where you respawn upon death, and you need to make their defenses strong enough to keep away hordes of enemies when they attack. I spent some time setting up turrets along the walls, and it was exciting to watch my guns take down enemies when they tried to attack. The base sustained a bit of damage during one of the skirmishes, but I was able to repair it as well. It looks like a lot of different options are available to help fortify your base, but even in my limited playtime, it looks intuitive and easy to tackle.

The Riftbreaker Screenshot

In order to craft materials for both building and repairing you bases, along with upgrading the gear for your mech, you have to go out and explore the world to gather loot. All upgrades come from gathering and crafting materials — there are no experience points, so there's no other way to get stronger. Luckily, exploring the world was the most enjoyable part of the demo. The environments are absolutely stunning and use a proprietary engine designed by EXOR Studios. You can drop different fast travel points throughout the environment to return to, and all the while, there is an AI guiding you and making sarcastic remarks in your helmet. Apparently, these environments are randomly generated, and there are different biomes to explore around the planet as well. Enemies even behave differently at night. Without a doubt, the most impressive part of The Riftbreaker is its dynamic world design.

The Riftbreaker was one of my pleasant surprises at E3. Survival games where you gather loot is not normally my thing, but it looks like EXOR Studios is creating something that brings the disparate gameplay mechanics they're using together effectively. The game is set to release sometime in 2020, and I'll be following it closely to see if this promising title shapes up to be something worth playing.