The stylish, retro-futurist trappings of strategic roguelike RFM made it one of the most eye-catching demos of last autumn's Steam Next Fest. Since then, though, we haven't heard much about it - until now. Developers Bromio have finally broken cover again with RFM, giving it a new name and offering up a brand-new demo for everyone to play as it heads to Kickstarter to help push its development over the finishing line. Now known as Remnants Of The Rift, I've been putting this toe-tapping roguelike through its paces.
You play as Morgan, a mercenary who can dive into an alterate reality known as the Bast. Each level takes place on a single layer of the Bast, and the idea is to keep diving deeper and deeper until you find what your client's looking for. In each layer, you'll need to protect various modulators from coming under attack, beating back waves of baddies as they make a beeline for them across its isometric grid. Have a watch of the trailer below to see it in action:
As you can see, Remnants Of The Rift is a groovy blend of real-time tactics you can pause as you weigh up your moves. Morgan had four attacks to choose from in my demo - a gun, a destructive dash, a stun laser and a mine were my weapons of choice - and each one has its own cooldown timer, too. As such, you'll need to make the most of your limited moveset to stop the Bast's various beasties from noshing on those tasty modulators.
In practice, movement was a little finicky for my tastes, with Morgan's lightning fast dashes feeling a bit flat and weightless against the roar of its banging soundtrack (seriously, the music's so good in this game that it makes me wish there was more of a rhythm element to it). Thankfully, working out the best way to take down each level's waves of enemies is tense and gripping stuff. They come from all angles, these red and orange snakey, slug boys, which can make them seem harmless in isolation when they're so spread out, but I was surprised at how quickly the pressure started piling up.
Really, I only have myself to blame, as all enemy movements are telegraphed in advance, you see, with arrows and charge bars telling you which square they'll be moving to next and how long it will take for them to get there. Sometimes I was super on top of it, laying down a cheeky mine on one square before hot-footing down the other end of the map to blast another with my gun or stun laser. Other times, though, it was more of a scramble, and I found myself trying to turn certain enemy attacks to my advantage, using explosive bursts to take out multiple baddies at once, or using my stun gun to paralyze big cannon lads so I could move into their line of fire and take out some rogue worms who had snuck in under my radar.
Shops, upgrades and weapon mods can also be found along the way as your journey deeper into the Bast, but the only ones you're able to carry through to other runs are the upgrades you buy back at Morgan's apartment. I'm in two minds about this, as the cost of the apartment upgrades was often pretty high, leaving less room for experimentation than I would have liked. Subsequent runs started to get a teensy bit repetitive as a result, but hey, this is still only a demo after all. Fingers crossed the final game, which is due out later this year, gives us a few more toys to play with early on.
Still, Bromio have laid down a good set of foundations with this demo, and it's still as gorgeous looking as ever. I love the music and cell-shaded look of Remnants Of The Rift, so I hope the rest of it lives up to expectations. Bromio have said the game will still happen regardless of what happens with their Kickstarter, but they believe "it will be much more fulfilling experience with your help". The Kickstarter funds will also be used to help localise the game in more languages, depending on how much gets raised.
If you'd like to try the demo yourself, you can find it over on Remnants Of The Rift's Steam page.