Ripout by Pet Project Games is a Sci-Fi horror FPS with a generous sprinkling of roguelite and co-op elements. The trailer leads me to believe I’ll be taking on a wide range of mutant nasties across derelict spacecraft with my ‘pet’ gun.
Ripout mostly delivers and provides a fun, if occasionally flawed, space shooter experience.
Ripout: First Impressions
Pet Project Games‘ Ripout nails a satisfying gameplay loop that feels like Deep Rock Galactic in many ways. You go on short missions, complete simple objectives, and earn rewards to get stronger and tackle harder content. My first couple of hours were spent figuring the mechanics out as Ripout is pretty light on explanations, but everything quickly falls into place.
You have a hub ship that serves as a base of operations, and even without a tutorial, it’s easy enough to figure out.
I’m a sucker for sci-fi horror, and I love the aesthetic Pet Project Games has gone for with Ripout. There’s a real Ridley Scott’s Alien vibe to the ship design with analog monitors and retro-tech decorating the interiors. The strange growths on the walls are intimidating, and the shuffling horrors in the distance make everything feel decisively creepy.
Mutilated monsters are pretty scary when they charge at you down dark corridors. I was taken aback by some of the larger hulking monstrosities in Ripout and had very little to complain about with their design.
A Shooter with Teeth
Naturally, first-person shooters live or die by their combat, and Ripout mostly delivers in this area. Movement feels a little stiff as you quickly run out of stamina after a short sprint, but it’s serviceable. Guns are punchy, and while fighting is pretty basic, it’s somewhat propped up by the Mod system, which I’ll touch on in a moment.
My favorite part of Ripout is, without a doubt, the Pet Gun, and it makes sense that it took center stage in the marketing. This critter attacks enemies on command and performs different actions based on the opponent. The Pet Gun can even grab small creatures, which you can use as weapons. I adore this mechanic. It’s unique and fleshed out, and once I got used to the timing, I used the Pet Gun all the time.
Do you want to build a Spaceman?
Ripout has an addictive gameplay loop, as mission rewards include new armor and weapons mods. Even as a solo player, messing around with different armor sets is fun. Constructing a build with mods to complement my playstyle felt rewarding, and the promise of new gear encouraged that golden ‘just one more run’ feeling.
The roguelite mechanics come in the form of buffs that only last until you finish a mission. Although not as impactful as power-ups in The Binding of Isaac, for example, it’s always fun constructing a build on the fly.
Close encounters of the blurred kind
There’s plenty to praise about Ripout, although a few issues plague the early access version. As mentioned, the visuals are great, although there’s an ever-present fog which feels a little excessive. I get that it’s there to obscure enemies, but it does become a hindrance. On that same note, the UI is unclear, especially regarding navigation markers. The combination of lousy UI and being unable to see makes exploring more frustrating than it needs to be.
Ripout sells me on its own brand of creepy vibes and horror, but one baffling design choice takes far more away from the experience than it gives. I’m talking about jump scares. For some odd reason, vents and storage units occasionally burst open when you walk past. This is accompanied by a loud bang and awkward music cue. Sure, I jumped every time, but it’s like someone popping a balloon behind my head, and it feels wholly unnecessary.
I may be harping on about this too much, but Ripout has crafted a horrifying sci-fi scene with its visuals and sound design. It doesn’t need to punch me in the face with jump scares as it feels like Ripout is beyond such cheap tactics.
Another aspect of Ripout that misses the mark is the controls, more specifically for the controller. I was pleasantly surprised to see full controller support for the game, but it feels gross and stiff. At the time of writing, there are not enough settings to make controller movement feel comfortable, and I hope this changes in the future.
Ripout shines the brightest when it leans into elements that make it unique. The Pet Gun mechanic and Alien horror vibes are superb, and the gameplay loop is already in a good spot. Ripout is in early access, so some rough edges can be forgiven, but there is work to do. If I had to grade Ripout in its current state, the title would scrape a 7/10, but that could quickly go up in the future. Right now, there’s plenty to enjoy despite Ripout’s shortcomings, and if Pet Project Games sticks to its roadmap, this is one to keep an eye on.