A lot of fun can be had playing mission-oriented games with teammates. Rift Sweepers, which recently entered Early Access, offers just that. The game retails for $18.99 USD and aims to release in full by March of next year, with seven missions and four playable characters. Players need to work together to fight back the demon hordes or die trying. The game is reminiscent of Remnant: From the Ashes from a gameplay standpoint, although not so much from a game design one. But the question stands: is Rift Sweepers worth it in Early Access, or should you hold off?
To be blunt, Rift Sweepers’ general presentation makes it seem like an extremely low-effort game. It looks like one of those games someone threw together with the included Unreal assets. The environments are shiny, the enemies are insanely generic, and the UI and text look like placeholders. Suffice to say, this is far from an attractive game. The demons don’t mesh well with each other either, as there are big horned demons with hammers, bugs, big humanoid guys with guns, and ugly crawling zombie things. It looks like everything was just thrown into the game.
While Rift Sweepers has four characters, one of them isn’t playable. I spent a bit of time with two of them. Each character has two guns and two abilities. One has an assault rifle and pistol but can use a special shotgun attack (which appears to do very little) and place mines. The other I tried makes the previous one seem pointless, as he has a minigun and assault rifle, plus he can smoke cigarettes for a damage buff and throw grenades. The former runs out of ammo very quickly, while the latter’s minigun overheats at a ridiculous rate. In place of reloading, the minigun just cools down quicker. It’s kind of weird.
Shoot ‘n dodge
Despite the presentation and some of the character quirks, Rift Sweepers plays well enough. Characters can sprint and dodge. Annoyingly, doing either interrupts the reload animation. Unfortunately, there’s a stamina meter that appears to exist just because. It regenerates very slowly and only serves to hinder the gameplay. As of now, there are a whopping three missions in the game, which is a surprisingly small amount of content, even for Early Access. Each one takes 10-20 minutes based on the difficulty you’ve selected. Two easy difficulties were recently added to compensate for the low player count, but you can’t choose to fight any bosses on these difficulties.
As you’ve gathered, it takes about 30-40 minutes of playtime before you’ve seen what Rift Sweepers has to offer. That being said, the three missions are extremely different. The first is highly boring and sees your team refueling pods that are burning a giant egg. It takes forever and if one pod runs out of fuel, it’s game over. Why? I don’t know. Why wouldn’t the burning just pause? That’s no reason to fail a mission.
The second mission has you blowing up barricades with bombs to get to a fuel tank that you need to blow up within some deeper tunnels. The timer on the bombs is, again, way too long. And the bombs malfunction for no reason, requiring you to stay nearby and fix them. If the timer ticks down without you fixing it, guess what? That’s right, you fail the entire mission. It’s as needless as the pod running out of fuel. The third mission is the strangest, but honestly the best. You have to fill pizza orders while fighting off demons. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw this.
The pizza mission isn’t good, mind you, but I liked the idea, silly as it is. After finishing a mission, you get experience and gold. You can level up your skills in the game’s hub, where the gold is called cash. Nice consistency. It’s hard to justify Rift Sweepers’ $18.99 USD price point. Considering the full release will only have seven missions, it’s unlikely most people would even hit the two-hour refund threshold with what it’ll have. Once I finished the third mission, I saw no reason to keep playing this, and I can’t imagine others will feel any differently.