Some say that synthwave aesthetics are overplayed, but I’d argue that it’s one of the best trends to hit gaming. A whole new excuse to have catchy synth music, bright complimentary colours, clearly defined visuals and explosions of neon particles every five seconds. Upcoming arcrobatic speedrunning platformer Rifter takes all of that and adds grappling hooks to the mix, which sounds like a good time to me, at least.
I’ve been following Rifter’s development for quite some time now. Solo developer Maximilian ‘IMakeGames’ Csuk has been posting a steady stream of tantalising animated gifs and short gameplay videos to Twitter for some time now, and has been working on the game for three years in total. Now the game is listed on Steam and a trailer is live, he’s proudly showing it to the world, and rightfully so, because it looks and sounds lovely.
Citing Dustforce, Bionic Commando and Hotline Miami as inspirations, Rifter looks pretty intimidating at first, with the player zipping through the air at ridiculous speeds, seldom touching the ground if everything goes to plan. A range of air-dashes (also used to attack enemies) and grappling hook tricks are needed to keep your feet off the ground and your momentum high. While the game looks geared towards the speedrunning crowd, it promises 90 levels and multiple endings, so unless those levels are individually tiny, it may have more meat on its bones than you’d think.
Despite the speed of the game and the tiny size of your little character on-screen, there’s an impressive sense of weight and impact to your air-dash attacks, with collisions thumping off (or through) enemies, and leaving glowing cracks in the ground whenever you miss the mark. Aside from that big stompy thing at the end of the trailer, punching through enemies seems to be just part of the racing line, which is exactly what you want in a game like this. I’m looking forward to seeing if it plays half as good as it looks later this summer.
Rifter is due out sometime this July. You can wishlist it over on Steam here.