The Riftbreaker: Tips and Tricks to help the beginner master the monster hordes


The forest trembles in anticipation. The horde is coming. 

A froth of muscle and hide cuts through the undergrowth, uprooting trees, trampling unfortunate fauna into mud and blood. 

Thousand of beasts driven by an instinct for destruction bear down on my base. But they’ll be met by my own metal monsters… 

Rockets detonate across the trampled ground blasting chunks of monsters and muck into the air. 

Chainguns scream out a mouth of bullets that chew through fauna and forest alike. 

Lasers lance out a sun hot sword that scythes the hordes in half. 

But there are seemingly billions of them, I can’t hold them back. My defenses are crumbling, my shields have flickered and faded, my base is overrun. 

There’s only one thing left to do: Give them my best H-Bomb handshake and blow them all to hell. 

Oh, and reload my last save.

The RiftBreaker offers an eclectic mix of Factorio, They Are Billions, and Diablo to create an Action Strategy RPG like no other. 

I’d been following this game for over a year, and, on its 14th of October 2021 release, I bought the game immediately and played it for hours. 

In my time playing, two ideas crystallized in my mind:

1: The game is brilliant

2: The game is extremely hard!

So, in this article, I’ll list all the tips and tricks I wish I knew before I started. And if you use them, hopefully, the horde won’t hunt you down and turn you into their next meal quite as quickly as they did with me. 

Ok, let’s get started… 

Each day is 720 seconds or 12 minutes long

Each in-game hour is 30 seconds long. That means a 24 hour day is 720 seconds or 12 minutes in length. Knowing this information, you can figure out exactly how much power or other forms of economic income you need for any given situation. 

Or you can work out exactly how long it will take you to get the resources you need to build certain structures. 

The Riftbreaker is not a Tower defence game

Though Riftbreaker can feel at times like a tower defense game, it’s not. 

The game only consists of towers for defense (there are no mobile units other than the Mech). Enemies will not mindlessly walk down funnels of walls while being shot at from all sides like they do in traditional tower defense games. 

They will surround, attack, and destroy the first structure they encounter while en route to your base. 

So it’s worth keeping that in mind when designing your base. 

This brings me on to my next tip…

Create walls outside your base

Once you have established your base’s main walls, you should create short runs of walls outside your base’s perimeter.

The reason why is because enemies will surround and attack anything you build. That includes walls outside your main base. So if they see a wall, they will all gather around the wall and maul it until it’s destroyed. 

Building these walls outside your base draws the attention of the hordes, and slows their progression across the map drastically. 

This gives your towers time to shoot at them. Just be sure to build some of the walls within range of your towers.  

Also, these extra walls are a great place to lay down some mines. When critters surround the walls, the mines blow up and take a fair few of them out. 

Constantly develop your economy

Your success in a strategy game like Riftbreaker will largely depend on your ability to develop and manage your in-game economy. 

It’s vital that you constantly grow your total power generation and the number of resources you gather. 

To that end, I suggest that you spend at least 50% of your time developing your economy so that when the time comes to spend on defense, you have all the resources you need to repel the horde. 

Don’t be afraid to build mini resource gathering bases. 

When I first started playing Riftbreaker, I wanted to create that huge, impregnable uber turtle base that could repel any and all monsters in the game. 

However, I very quickly found that staying within the walls of my ever-growing centrally located base stunted my economic growth. 

This often led to my base being overrun by the monsters quickly simply because I didn’t have the resources I needed to create the necessary base defenses. 

What was the answer? 

Get out into the world, as early as possible, and start building mini bases around every single Carbonium and Ironium deposit.  

Surround the base in walls. Build your resource collector, build enough power generators to power the resource collector.

Then, if you have the resources stored up, expand this mini-base by building 1 AI hub, 4 defense towers, and extra power generators for them. Then, when you have the time, place mines and more walls around your mini-base. 

This may sound like overkill, but these extra bases will not only make you money but often act as decoys to draw the horde’s attention away from your main base. 

Yes, a lot of the time the base will get destroyed. But that’s ok. They can be rebuilt quickly and cheaply.

Solar Panels work for 13 in-game hours. 

Solar panels only work between 8 AM in the morning (0800 hours) and 9 PM at night (2100 hours). That’s a total of 13 in-game hours or 390 seconds. 

Through this time, unless it rains you’ll get maximum power from your Solar panels. 

Build Solar panels along with power storage to last you the night. 

Level 1 Solar panels produce 20 units of power per second. So over the course of a clear day, a single level one solar panel will produce 7,800 units of power. 

Early in the game, you’ll want to build enough solar panels so that you are producing double the power you are using throughout the day.

Then you want to build power storage for the surplus energy you are generating.

That way, if you have power storage when the solar panels switch off when the sun tucks under the horizon, you’ll have enough power to last you through the night. 

For example, if you are currently using 200 units of power per second, you’d need 20 solar panels to produce 400 units of power. That way through 13 hours of sunlight you’d power your base plus fill 78,000 units of power storage (8 power storage buildings). 

Through the 11 hours of the night, you’d use 66,000 units of power.

Diversify your power grid

Using just solar power is cool and worked for me on my first playthrough. However, on higher difficulties, you should try to diversify your power grid with a mixture of different power generating facilities until you unlock nuclear power and then fusion power later in the game. 

The game constantly throws different meteorological events at you that’ll decrease or increase your power generation from one or more types of renewable power generation. 

For example, on some days, you’ll have a couple of hours without any wind. This will decrease your wind power generation to zero. And the same can happen to solar power. 

So it’s always good to make sure your power grid is diversified. And there’s one cheap and easy way to do that early in the game…

Make use of BioReactors

Bioreactors make use of the animal and plant matter you constantly pick up in the world. 

For example, when you destroy plant life, you’ll notice green flashing leaves littering the floor. This is plant matter. Pick it up as it can be turned into power into the plant bioreactor. 

Conversely, when you kill monsters they will often drop animal biomass. 

Both of these Biomass types can be burnt in plant or animal biomass reactors to produce electricity. 

The Plant bioreactor will produce 100 units of power per second per plant biomass unite.

The animal BIoreactors will produce 200 units of electricity per second per animal biomass unite. 

They produce electricity constantly whether you need it or not. However, they can be turned off easily and used in an emergency when solar output decreases, or when there is no wind. 

And don’t worry about running out of biomass. You’ll be destroying vast amounts of plant life while you clear land for your bases. And the constant supply of monster meat conveniently given up by the horde means your bioreactors will hum along hunger-free. 

Try easy mode if your constantly getting overran in Normal mode

The Riftbreaker is hard. The monster hordes can get so big on the PS5 that the game can start chugging in the mid 20s frame rate. 

Unless you have a good idea of exactly what to build you’ll get overran very early on in the game. 

If you are like me and you prefer to relax while gaming at a more sedentary pace, try setting the game too easy difficulty. Once you have learned the game’s systems you can then move up to playing survival mode or campaign mode on a harder setting. 

Double or triple up on walls 

Walls are absolutely essential to creating defendable bases. Without them, you’ll be immediately overrun, and your buildings will become feed for the horde. 

So you should always look to envelop your base with walls. 

Once you have done this, look to double up your wall thickness. This will give you 700 hit points of wall between your base and the horde. 

Once you have enough resources, triple the wall thickness so it’s 3 walls thick: 1050 hit points. 

This will make it very hard for the enemy to punch through all 3 layers of your walls. 

Additionally, when you get the chance, upgrade your walls. Level two walls double the hitpoints of a wall from 350 to 700. So a triple-thick wall will give you 2100 hit points of protection. 

Use the terrain to your advantage

Whenever possible, use natural rock formations and pools of mud/green sludge/lava to your advantage. 

Enemies can’t cross rock formations or pools so they offer free and impervious protection for your base. And they can be used to channel the enemy where you want them. 

However, be careful: long-range enemies can sit on the edge of mud/sludge lakes and shoot at your base from a distance. 

Build fire bases away from your main base

When I first started playing Riftbreaker, I dug deep into my RTS roots and started building what I thought was the ultimate turtle base. Overlapping defenses, elaborate entrances, what I thought were overwhelming amounts of firepower…

And then along came the horde and overran my HQ. Boom. Game over. I needed to try something different…

I discovered one easy way to thin out the horde so my main base was protected and had enough firepower to kill off the stragglers. 

I started building firebases.

Once my main base was established on the map, I’d start by building 4 firebases towards the 4 corners of the map but not too far from my main base. I find that most swarms of monsters tend to originate from the 4 corners of the maps.

A firebase should include power generators, an AI hub, and 4 towers. Then the base should be surrounded by 3 layers of walls. 

Then when you have the time, I’d surround the base in mines, and eventually build a minelayer tower in the middle of the firebase so that it can constantly lay mines around the base. 

These firebases, though cheap to build, are extremely well protected from enemy hordes. They are great at drawing the attention of the horde, and even if they are destroyed, they will have thinned the horde enough so that your main base can pick off the remains easily. 

Use Mines

When the horde decides to attack, they’ll often throw thousands of monsters at your defenses in an effort to breach your base to get to its soft innards. 

So it’s important to make use of every resource you have at your disposal. One of those resources that I see underused is mines. 

Often I’ll notice that new Riftbreaker gamers won’t bother with mines. Yet mines can be the difference been repelling the horde or being eaten alive. 

When you first start the game your mech will produce 10 standard mines that regenerate slowly. 

I’d recommend placing at least 10 mines at every corner of your base. The horde loves to come from the four corners of the map. 

Keep on laying mines until all the walls of your base are lined. That way when critters come to attack your walls, your mines will arm themselves, then detonate a few seconds later, taking a group of monsters with it. 

Later in the game, you’ll unlock the awesomly power nuclear mines that can, if placed well, obliterate entire swarms in a devastating mushroom cloud of death. 

So be sure to make use of mines. 

Plus, as soon as you are able, research the mine-laying tower. Place them at the corners of your base. You’ll thank me later.

Have a wide portfolio of weapon towers

Every monster in the game, just like in most RPGs, has weaknesses and strengths against different types of damage. 

Some monsters are weak against fire. Other monsters have got buffs to help them withstand fire. 

Knowing that different monsters have different strengths and weaknesses, it pays to have different types of towers protecting your base. 

When I first started off, I just had walls of sentinel towers encircling my base. I thought I was protected. That I’d build a bad-ass base that the horde would just run towards and die. 

How wrong I was. 

I very quickly realized, as the game progressed, that these sentinel towers were pretty much completely useless against certain types of enemies. Often, in panic as the hord tour down my defenses, I either hastily build new towers or I had to risk my mech and jump into the fray and go toe-to-toe with the horde’s titans. 

As soon as I started taking full advantage of Riftbreaker’s pick-and-mix selection of weapon towers, my problems blew/disintegrated/melted away, literally. 

So make sure you build a mixture of towers. 

Get the spear as early as possible

For me, the spear is easily the best melee weapon in the game. You start off with the Sword, which is ok. It does the job. Just.

However, the spear is a different beast of a melee weapon.

The spear thrusts forwards and extends itself extremely far from your mech. It’s great for attacking waves of low-level critters as it pierces through multiple monsters with ease. 

Plus, the beginner spear comes with cryo which slows down monsters making them easier for turrents to slaughter. 

You can level up your spear further by unlocking the upgraded spear and adding a “health regeneration on hit” mod. That way, every time you hit a monster with your spear you’ll regenerate your health. 

And considering the spear can hit many monsters at the same time, it can literally siphon massive amounts of hit points to keep your health topped up.  

Kill the acidic yeast ASAP

Early to Mid game, after visiting another part of the planet, you’ll start to encounter something called acidic yeast. 

This blobby green-yellow growth literally assimilates the landscape, growing and spreading across the planes. This stuff needs to be taken seriously as it will cover the entire map if it goes unchecked. Yes, you can build base tiles that stop acidic yeast growth. But it will make it nearly impossible to navigate outside your base with any semblence of ease.

And of course, the horde is unaffected by the acid. 

I’ve played a number of games where I was too slow (Too stupid more like) to destroy the main red root that causes the yeast to grow across the map. 

Then, while I’m skipping around scanning trees and shrubs like some high on life David Attenborough, I get a warning blaring through my headphones that my base is under attack and the acidic Yeast is melting its way through my base walls. 

Once the yeast has gotten this far, it’s almost impossible to stop.  

So as soon as Riggs (your mech) announces that acidic yeast has started to grow on your map, head to where it is immediately and deal with it. Don’t hesitate, don’t build something extra, drop what you are doing, hunt it down, and destroy it. 

Make use of Artillery 

Artillery in Riftbreaker is a really useful strategic support weapon that I always employ on my bases. 

Artillery can attack targets much further away than standard base weapon towers. Plus, each artillery strike does a huge amount of area damage that can cripple an oncoming horde before they beocme a real threat. 

But artillery comes into its own when you build small sections of wall outside your base just inside the artillery’s range. 

You see, the horde will always surround and attack whatever bit of base they encounter first. So if you put a single piece of wall in the middle of the map between the horde and your base, the hoard will destroy that wall first. Well, at least as many of the hoard that can surround it. 

You can lure the horde to stop and attack a wall just inside your artillery’s range so it can hammer the hoard with shells.

Pair this tactic with placing mines next to these distraction walls and you’ll be obliterating the hoard in no time. 

Place Repair drone towers around your base 

Do you want to double your chances of success in Riftbreaker?

Then cover your entire base in a network of Repair Drone towers. 

These towers, are completely automated and need very little energy to function. 

Whenever the tower detects damage to your base it will automatically send a drone to fix it. It will even do this in the middle of a battle.

Just keep in mind you do need resources to fix things.

Plus, a level one repair tower only has 1 drone to fix things. This single drone can get overwhelmed pretty quickly in the heat of battle, so upgrade the repair tower to level 2 ASAP. 

Conclusion

Ok, that’s my little list of tips for beginner Riftbreaker players. I hope you’ve found it useful.

With your help, I want to continue to grow this article. 

If you have any great tips you’d like to share, please add them in the comments below. You do not have to add an email address to comment. 

If the tip is good, I will add it to this article along with an acknowledgment of the person who posted it. 

I hope these tips help you enjoy Riftbreaker as much as I am. Good luck.

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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