Space, the final frontier and a bitch to navigate when playing twin stick shooter RiftStar Raiders. Since games first became popular, space has been a go-to genre for many famous titles such as Asteroid. A classic game, RiftStar Raiders attempts to capture that birds-eye spaceship feel but instead of just throwing asteroids at you, it’ll throw space pirates, automated security systems, aliens and large explosions at you until you scream the safe word (it’s peaches). That being the case, it must be said – RiftStar Raiders is not an easy game. It’s bloody hard! The enemies want you dead, the floating rocks want you dead and quite frankly you’ll want you dead after hearing the car alarm that is the low health alert for the umpteenth time.
The game lacks story. Whilst text does pop-up with instructions from captains, the odd pirate and what not – as if you have time to read amidst the shit-show that is exploding around you – the story is sparse. From what I could gather is the mention of certain factions not getting on in jolly old space and of course aliens have come along to the party, and it is up to you, the ‘most wanted’ to help save the galaxy… amidst collecting loot, pay and all that good stuff.
As mentioned the game does throw plenty in your way to keep you busy. The first level is a heist of sorts, involving acting casual as you navigate various security cameras and trips which you almost definitely will set off because you have about as much control of your ship as new born giraffe does its legs. Enemies do get progressively harder and when you find yourself in what’s sold as an epic space fight but really, it’s just you are dying a bunch of times, spinning and shooting simultaneously hoping some laser beams hit, for a short, fleeting moment, you just maybe might be having fun. Maybe.
The games online co-op is enjoyable with friends – if you have any. If you’re one of those weirdos with real life friends and think maybe you can sit down and play it together, think again, freak. Local co-op is strangely not in the game so start posting around for some online friends and pray it goes well. Online can be you and up to 3 friends, so buckle up and be prepared to get social! You can choose from a bunch of repetitive missions with the different factions and start roleplaying that you’re having fun. Whilst co-op is an optional feature, trust me, it’s not. You need other people to die in your place for a chance to land some hits or generally progress.
The loot system is enough incentive to keep mindlessly ending lives in a vacuum however you may find certain areas requiring specific loot; and with a random loot drop system… not great. It just results in hours of you precious time on this earth spent looking for a digital item with no real-world value so, you know, have fun with that. Oh, and how about loot online? I hear the fat boy in the back ask. Well, Chunk, if you have friends that you play with – each play session is rewarded with a loot drop, so isn’t that great? A loot drop that operates on a first come, first serve basis. What does that mean? It means you can do all the work for none of the pay when the vulture of your group, usually called Chris or something, decides they deserve all the loot and swoop in before you do.
The loot does improve your gameplay experience, I will say that. With numerous combinations and outcomes, you can customise your gameplay to suit you… as long as you find the parts or pick them up faster than your rat friends or online strangers can.
Overall RiftStar Raiders can be fun, not a lot, but sometimes fun nevertheless if you play with friends. For me, the game sold itself as an almost Borderlands type deal, with the co-op play and the piles of loot but in my opinion it’s just Asteroid in a push-up bra and mini-skirt. Looks better but you’re playing the same old, dirty game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.