The Geek Getaway received a review copy of this game.
Rift Rangers is a rogue-lite "bullet heaven" tower defense game from Epic Story Interactive that is available on Steam for $4.99. (If you are unfamiliar with bullet heaven games, they are essentially bullet hell games but instead of huge amounts of bullets flying at you there are hordes of enemies. The genre was popularized by the indie hit Vampire Survivors.) This mixing of several game genres results in a fun experience that will have you going for "one more run" for hours at a time.
The story in Rift Rangers is pretty simple and straightforward. You assume the role of one of the Rift Rangers and you must stop the evil Master Brain from invading your reality with a monster horde that is being brought over through rifts. If you can hold back the horde for just 20 minutes than your Mega Mecha can close the rift and stomp out the remaining monsters.
The game features 4 playable Rangers, although 3 need to be unlocked, that each possess a different starting turret and have a unique special ability. These small differences are not enough to fully differentiate each Ranger though, as they share the same upgrade pools and have access to all the same unlocked turrets. Speaking of turrets, this game have no direct attack button. Instead, you will be placing various turrets, 4 different kind per run, in order to attack the enemy hordes. These turrets can be upgraded every time you collect enough crystals to level up, but there is a level of randomness to it as you have to pick from 3 different upgrades per level up.
Additionally, you can increase your life, turret power, or heal if you are able to secure one of the Master Brain areas. You do this by simply standing in the designated zone for a certain amount of time until you see a small cutscene of Master Brain being foiled. These upgrades are very powerful, but you can choose to ignore them if you are afraid to wander away from your already placed turrets. This adds a twist to the typical bullet heaven mechanic as you are not only dodging and killing enemies but trying to secure spots on the map to earn bonus upgrades or healing.
The game also features permanent upgrades that you can unlock in the hub area by spending collected Energy Chips. These Energy Chips are randomly dropped by enemies, are rewarded for completing various Feats, or given to you after successfully surviving a level. Besides using them to unlock permanent upgrades you can also spend them to unlock the other rangers.
The game features 15 different difficulty levels but only 2 different stage types. The Cosmic Station is a wide open area that has many random spots Master Brain can pop up at. It also features lots of walls and green glowing tiles that slow your movement down when you walk over them. Should you survive 10 minutes in the Cosmic Station then you unlock the Cosmic Highway that features a cramped area with hardly any verticality, random cars that can damage you and the enemies, as well as damaged areas that prevent you from walking over them.
Final Verdict: Recommended!
Rift Rangers is a fast-paced game that will absolutely have you constantly going for "just one more run" every time you lose. The opening theme song is face meltingly epic and really gets you pumped for the game. The sounds during gameplay are equally as awesome and it really feels like an actual Super Sentai/Power Rangers property. While there isn't a lot of variety in gameplay or levels, the fact that it is only $4.99 makes this one an easy recommendation.