A few months ago Maximilian Csuk would have described Rifter as a game about speed, elegance and finesse, making it sound like a ballet on ice skates.
As of the 23rd of May, however, the Austrian game developer of three years has deemed it a grappling hook synthwave fiesta that’s possibly tougher than nails. Doesn’t sound much like ballet this time, but parcours du combatant; which doesn’t really matter, because Synthwave.
So much in fact that you’ve probably mistaken the above trailer for a 22nd century pop video that belongs on TV, which also works as a brilliantly paced demonstration of Rifter’s side-scrolling, platforming action, held together by a grappling hook mechanic.
Whether Csuk aims to break conventions, he doesn’t say, although he quips that very few have explored the mechanic as Rifter does. Chaining combos, players seem to be given considerable freedom of movement across not one but four different control schemes.
Against a very 1980’s album cover-like backdrop players will happen upon a scattering of obstacles, gigantic boss battles and many mysteries that synergistically work to interrupt chained combos. As for some stats, all this over 90 stages, 30-odd character upgrades, dozens of skills, leaderboards, cut-scenes – multiple endings even – that you, acrobat, must piece together in this shattered world.
Late game levels combine parcours elements and combat. Nailing such a sequence feels really satisfying! My attempt here was a bit sloppy though 🙂 #gamedev #indiedev #screenshotsaturday #indiegames pic.twitter.com/lnZlmWI231
— Maximilian Csuk (@IMakeGames_) February 24, 2018
The bosses in particular take multiple hits and dashes to beat, are often accompanied by mini-bosses, while sidekicks seem to work alongside to keep things on edge. Much of late game combat will be airborne, Csuk adds.
And while he seems to have substantially done his part by drenching Rifter in all the neon from Miami beach, I’m only upset that he hasn’t elaborated upon the soundtrack. All I’m able to infer from Csuk’s Twitter feed at this point still is that the it will feature music by Gloom Influx.
Dust Force, Sonic, Bionic Commando and Hotline Miami are Rifter’s touted inspirations, coming soon to Steam.