Rift Racoon is rage quit material. Before you skim over or even exit out of this review and dismiss this indie title from Eastasiasoft and Ratalaika Games, read on a bit as challenging also means rewarding.
This is one of those games that make trophy hunters beam into next week. Collect a diamond (the equivalent of switching on your PS4) and boom: trophy. Complete the first level in a couple of minutes: trophy. Ah, it’s going to be one of those easy earners.
But pretty damn early in, the mechanics in Rift Racoon help you find that inner voice and projecting the acronym FFS. The number of deaths that took place was relentless, and though I’m quick to raise my hand and take ownership for being mediocre, the controls aren’t perfect.
Rift Racoon Review – PS4/PS5
As the racoon, Tucker, in Rift Racoon, you have the standard ability to jump (it’s a platform game), but also climb walls and teleport. These traits make for a very interesting experience, but it is often flawed as you end up teleporting into structures, causing deaths, or get two-thirds of the way up a wall and run out of juice, thus falling to your demise.
The HUD is minimalist. There are no stamina or health bars, though there is a visual indication that old Tucker will give up on climbing as he turns black. You can attempt to jump out of this predicament or even teleport, but you only get one chance to do so, and the accuracy is sketchy.
With the teleporting in Rift Racoon, you can hold down the square button before committing to a warp, and a ghost version will appear. This can help in sections where you have to jump and warp; otherwise, you’ll appear within a wall and die.
Checkpoints are there, but it’s not until the later levels that they’re more frequent – and need to be. The real kick in the teeth with Rift Racoon is the placement of the hazards; often, a spike is placed directly on the edge of a wall, so you have to jump and warp to perfection to avoid it. Alternatively, you’ll be riding lifts and have to teleport up or down; otherwise, you’ll be intimately introduced to an impaling spiky thing.
No Rockets In Sight
There are a fair amount of levels in the game, and these hazards make it challenging. In some areas, it’s on par with a custom made Super Mario Maker 2 course where you have to get it perfect if you want to get through to the end.
The developer, Marcos Game Dev, does throw you a bone with a ‘casual’ mode. It’s a bit of a joke really, as all this mode offers is an additional hit. Instead of an insta-death, you have a buffer. But even then, it’s not enough. Still, playing on casual mode isn’t a detriment to getting the platinum, which is nice.
This is the same for collectable diamonds. Once you have a handful, you get the trophies, and there’s no other incentive to go for those out of reach gems unless you’re a completionist. There are no timers either, so no speedrun option, which would work in the game’s favour for more competent gamers.
Playing through on a Saturday morning with the kids was an incentive to keep my cool, but even my eldest was getting flustered at the endless deaths. Rift Raccoon isn’t difficult for the sake of it, and for that reason, it has appeal, but be aware that it’s not a cakewalk.
Charming, Yet Challenging
Comparing it to something like the recent Tanuki Justice, it has a retro charm, and I liked that about the game – the visuals had a friendly throwback vibe. This could appeal more to the retro fans, but unlike the former, the hazards in the game aren’t entirely cruel, despite my vocal protests and hexes on the developer for making such an infuriating game 😛
After a breather, coming back to it with fresh eyes and a calmer demeanour allowed for some further progress, and, as the introduction stated, it felt much more rewarding to get the trophies as you feel you earned them.
As fun as it is to add another trophy to the list to show off to your mates, being handed them for nothing soon loses its appeal. However, managing to get through a series of lifts while dodging spikes and not throwing the PS5 DualSense at the wall is an achievement, considering the implications.
Rift Racoon Review Summary
Rift Racoon is a fun game in small doses. If there were a couple of features like a timer or speedrun option, that would add to the longevity. That said, there’s more than enough challenge here for casual and competent gamers – maybe more so for die-hard platform fans?
- Responsive controls.
- Nice chunky pixelated visuals.
- Rewarding when you finish a stage.
- Two difficult modes.
- Teleport feature can be awesome.
- The placement of hazards is cruel.
- Repetitive tunes.
- Extra HP isn’t a massive help.
- Teleporter can put you in the ground.
- Pretty challenging!