Pet Project Games has laid down a solid foundation with Ripout, and I can see myself looping back to the game periodically to enjoy the new content down the line.
Developer – Pet Project Games
Publisher – 3D Realms
Platforms – PC (reviewed)
Review copy given by publisher
I’ve been keen on checking out Pet Project Games’ debut project Ripout ever since its initial announcement trailer 2 years ago. Well the game is finally out in Steam Early Access just in time for spooky season and I’m kind of digging it! This indie sci-fi horror FPS provides a novel and refreshing cooperative shooter experience, despite lacking enough content to keep you engaged for the long term.
Set in the distant future, Ripout sees humankind reaching into the depths of space and making contact with an alien race. Somewhere along the way a war has sparked, and humans were on the brink of losing, before they discovered a way to cybernetically mold together aliens and humans to create bioweapons. Now it’s up to you to explore derelict spaceships in search of human survivors and figure out what happened.
Ripout’s overall gameplay loop is very reminiscent of Left 4 Dead or even Deep Rock Galactic, where you embark on missions in a procedurally generated map to find loot, gather schematics, and kill monsters. There are rogue-like elements baked in as each stage grants you certain buffs at terminals that only last for that level. It’s not as in-depth and game changing as pure rogue-like games, but the effort is appreciated nonetheless. Think of the game as a semi-rogue-like campaign driven experience where you still unlock and retain specific things at set moments.
The iconic pet alien gun is the main gimmick that sets this title apart from others of the same genre. Your cuddly little alien companion is attached to your main weapon, no matter what, whether that be an assault rifle or shotgun and can be sent out to pounce on and distract enemies. It can also scan for nearby loot and even seize other symbiotic creatures to become an additional temporary weapon so that you can dual wield guns. Gunplay feels crisp and meaty, with sound effects that deliver the impactfulness of combat.
Progression comes in the form of unlocking better weapons and mods from completing missions and finding crafting materials. You start the game off with a standard assault rifle, pistol, and ax, but expect to get your hands on a rocket launcher, flamethrower, and even a laser gun! Weapons must be crafted at the central base hub on a dedicated crafting bench from resources you gather while you are on a mission. Mods, on the other hand, are found from exploration, gambling in a mini-game back at base, or from mission rewards. Your pet alien can also be switched out to provide different buffs, such as a claw or even a shield.
The concepts presented in this game are very fresh and novel, but the overall experience definitely needs a bit longer in the oven. Environments and monsters start to feel very samey and bland after a while considering most of the same assets are re-used over and over again. The incessant use of fog to cover up your surroundings feels a bit excessive and unnecessary as well, making it hard to navigate and see where you’re going.
As a horror-themed shooter, Ripout does a great job delivering in that front, with narrow corridors and dark alleyways that always induce a feeling of dread and tension. Deformed bodies are littered across the floor, with some that aren’t actually dead and can pop up at any moment. But as mentioned above, that allure starts to dissipate the more you play, because at some point, you’ve seen it all, even if levels are procedurally generated.
Given that this is an early access title, there is a fair share of bugs and weird design decisions that plague the game. For starters, you have a stamina meter that gets exhausted when you run. I’m not sure why this was necessary as it adds no value to the gameplay other than hindering you from running all the time. There were no game breaking bugs encountered during my playthrough, but I did run into some environmental clipping issues and my guns not dealing damage to any enemies.
What’s nice about Ripout is that you can play cooperatively with your friends up to a team of 3 players. If you don’t have any friends, fret not as there is a server browser to join a stranger’s team too! But those who prefer to play solo can do so as well, as the game can be played offline with no internet required. Additionally, a detailed roadmap has already been laid out for future content updates, including new mission types, sidearms, suits, critters, weapons, enemies, bosses, and even a practice shooting range!
Surprisingly, there’s a ton of accessibility features here, so players can create a gameplay experience that best suits their playstyle. Several settings, including Player Protection, Bullet Hit Power Factor, and Enemy Dispersion sliders can be found in the menus that can be adjusted to make the game as easy or hard as you please. The game also naturally scales with the more players you have in your party, so keep that in mind.
Pet Project Games has laid down a solid foundation with Ripout, and I can see myself looping back to the game periodically to enjoy the new content down the line. The pet gun gimmick is great. It’s the perfect game to hop on with a couple friends to enjoy quick 10-20 minute missions, although I can see gameplay getting repetitive after a while in its current state. Here’s hoping the developers stick to their roadmap plan and achieve a successful 1.0 launch!