Backlog Impressions | Rift Keeper

I take a look at the latest platformer roguelike from Frymore, Rift Keeper! But does this ambitious roguelike have the moxie to face off against its categorical competitors?

Pluralisms of the Indie Game

The indie dev scene – a melting pot of innovation, inspiration and nostalgia. Where creators try to dig deep, call upon ambitions of producing something they’ve always dreamed of, and hopefully create the next big thing. Or maybe their aspirations are just to take the hottest trends and make them their own.

Well, the two man team over at Frymore had the moxie to blend a set of linchpin genres found in the indie landscape and face off against their categorical competitors! But will their approach be unique enough to loosen the death grip on the market?!

Aspirations of a Roguelike

After completing their first project Firewood in 2017, Efe and Yanki of Frymore set out to create a game that would not only draw upon the experience they gained during its development, but to also challenge themselves with a more ambitious endeavor. And after a year and a half of work, we were graced with the roguelike action-platformer, Rift Keeper. Which is available right now on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

The Bromidic Platformer

When I first encountered Rift Keeper, and the whole reason I wanted to dive in and give it a shot, was that it reminded me of the excellent and challenging Dead Cells by Motion Twin. The thought of another exploration based roguelike with loot and metroidvania elements was exciting! But once I got my hands on the game, it was readily apparent that it lacked the charm and polish that made Dead Cells so appealing. 

Not only that but it wasn’t a Metroidvania at all! For one, it lacked any amount of exploration, short of running through a few self contained levels. And there was no loot to speak of or any persistent progression, excluding the weapons and/or accessories you could purchase after each run. So, basically it was nothing like what I expected.

But even if a straight action-platformer with a sprinkling of roguelike elements was what I was looking for, nothing about Rift Keeper really appealed to me. The art style is amateurish, the animations remind me of stiff marionettes and the music is repetitive and uninspired. Which is only exemplified by the equally as repetitive and uninspired gameplay. Honestly, the only redeeming quality I can think of was Rift Keeper’s dynamic dungeon difficulty that would increase the stats of your enemies so they scaled with you, making the game slightly more challenging as you progressed. That and there was an interesting risk/reward equipment system that gave both buff and debuffs to your stats depending on what you had equipped. It really made you carefully weigh the benefits of a strong weapon versus the ailments it could inflict upon you. But those things couldn’t save it from its faults unfortunately.

I certainly commend Frymore for their effort on Rift Keeper, especially considering the size of their team, but I would be remiss to recommend you try it for yourself, even if you were able to get it at a deep discount.


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