Riftbound – Review
Follow Genre: Tower Defense
Developer: Barrel Smash Studios
Publisher: Barrel Smash Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Riftbound – Review

Site Score
Good: Fairly decent foundation
Bad: Bland, Boring, Slow, Feels like a cheap Plants vs Zombies
User Score
(4 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (4 votes cast)

More than a decade ago EA’s Plants vs. Zombies games took the world by storm. These very simple tower defense games had a lot of fun content to delve into, wacky zombies to defeat, and most importantly, very original plant-based turrets to fend off the zombie invasion with. The franchise ultimately expanded to the third-person shooter genre as well, but it was mainly the original two games that were loved by casual and veteran gamers alike. Of course, when a simple concept such as this gains this much popularity, other developers and publishers will also do their attempt to cash in by making a clone with a few asset flips and perhaps an original mechanic or two thrown in the mix. This is sadly the case for Riftbound, a game that has a solid foundation but fails to entertain for a long time. We honestly expected a bit more from this one.


In Riftbound you’re treated to a very shallow story where the sentient Great Oak is trying to defend the lands against an evil invader that has spawned forth from a dark rift beyond the mountains. You, an unnamed protector, will have to utilize the Great Oak’s power to fend off the enemy invaders. This is basically all the game tells you before you dive into the actual gameplay. You’ll slowly traverse the lands on your way towards the dark rift, but everything is handled in a superficial manner and you’ll never really feel connected to what is going on. As a whole, it feels a bit bland and uninspired.


Graphically Riftbound doesn’t look extremely bad, but it does look like an old game rather than something that has just been released. We noticed a severe lack of variety in the enemy types, and each of these types sadly only had one actual model that would attack over and over. Even some small variation within the same enemy type would have already been nice to spice things up. Other than that, the backdrops also look extremely simple and they lack any finer details. We did love the 2D character portraits during the story segments. Sadly, once again, the developers cut corners and you’ll have only one picture per character that gets used, and thus you’ll never see any of the characters actually express any different emotions.


The sound design in Riftbound is okay. The soundtrack feels fairly cinematic, but it is very limited and it will eventually get quite repetitive. The sound effects are functional, and they go well with the battles that unfold during your gaming sessions. As a whole, it would have been fun to have a few more bells and whistles when it came to the soundtrack and the sound effects, but we can’t really complain either.


Riftbound is a run-of-the-mill tower defense game in which you have to defend different lanes from a massive undead horde. The game allows you to place offensive and defensive elementals (turrets), while also being able to cast different spells. The latter is a fun touch, but nothing truly original. The game only has a handful of base elementals you can place on your grid-like field, and these can be transformed (upgraded) into other elementals that have additional effects. During each mission, you’ll only have a limited number of slots you can assign elementals or spells to, so you’ll have to choose wisely if you wish to survive the level you’re in.

The problem with Riftbound is that it’s just so incredibly boring and slow. We often found ourselves putting the game on maximum speed, and even then, we felt like we were still playing at a slower speed. True, during some of the boss battles we had to slow things down again, as we had to make a few more split-second decisions. Sadly, the boss battles felt more like a war of attrition. Due to this, many of the game’s stages ended up becoming a chore rather than a fun experience. It also didn’t help that the game only has a limited number of elementals to unlock. Compared to the Plants vs Zombies games, Riftbound simply doesn’t have enough interesting content to keep pressing on.


Riftbound isn’t the worst game we have ever played, but it was mind-numbingly dull and boring. The game has a solid foundation but fails to make it interesting or fun for that matter. You’ll be able to play through a very generic Plants vs. Zombies clone with fairly poor design choices, bland turrets to unlock, and just very little incentive to keep pressing forward. This one could be fun if it was offered at a hefty discount, but for now, you’re probably still best downloading Plants vs. Zombies 2 on your phone.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (4 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Riftbound - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

Aspiring ninja.

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