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The Riftbreaker mashes together StarCraft, They Are Billions and Diablo, and it’s a joy to play

Riftbreaker is a base-building survival game, but whereas in other games you build an army to defend you, here, you are the army. You’re a pilot inside a mech capable of level-shaking destruction and you can torch entire hordes with flamethrowers, mow them down with thundering cannons, carve through them with giant swords and pound them with barrages of missiles. Here, the tech upgrades you normally spend on your army are spent on you. It feels awesome.

Riftbreaker is a cross between StarCraft, They Are Billions and Diablo. StarCraft because it looks like it – you’re in a colourful and chunky alien world, clomping around in what looks like a Terran marine suit, They Are Billions because you need to survive against increasingly massive hordes of invading insect enemies, and Diablo because you grow and equip a fighter which gets more and more powerful as the game goes on. In summary, then, Riftbreaker is a real-time strategy game with a dollop of action-RPG on top.

It’s really well put together. It surprised me, actually. I thought the key art looked tacky and dated because apparently I’m very shallow, but the game itself certainly is not. Riftbreaker is snappy and robust and accomplished in a way I’d expect from – to use an appropriate comparison – a Blizzard game. It’s got heft and pace and punch. Trains of small enemy insects flow like water as they surge towards you, and cleaving through them with your sword leaves a great bloody mess all around you, and it’s no less fun revving up a machine gun to cut them all down or blowing them to smithereens with any number of explosives. Riftbreaker makes you feel powerful.

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