Rifter is a neon-drenched mix of Sonic the Hedgehog and Bionic Commando

In the Indie GIF Showcase, we dig up the best-looking new and upcoming indie games and explore what makes them special. Are you a developer with a game to submit? Use this form.   

I love doing these Indie GIF Showcases, but they often require me to write about cool-looking games that are still quite a ways off, which always stings a bit. It's like writing next year's Christmas list—a curious mix of excitement and longing. Verdungeon, for instance, looks great, but it's not due until later this year or early next year. Which is why I'm so pleased that Rifter, a striking "acrobatic platformer" to hear solo developer Maximilian Csuk tell it, is scheduled to release this July.  

To put it simply, Rifter is a 2D platformer that's all about grappling hooks. If you're anything like me, you're on board after hearing that alone, but it gets better. According to Rifter's newly minted Steam page, you can customize your little Lite Brite character with different skills and upgrades, and I already want to know what they do. Make your hook longer? Make you run faster? Make you spin more?  I hope they make you spin more.

Csuk points to Bionic Commando, Sonic the Hedgehog and Hotline Miami as inspirations, and the DNA of each is plain to see. We've got the satisfying arcs and momentum of Bionic Commando, the speed and verticality of Sonic games, and the vibrant art of Hotline Miami. It's a promising combination: Rifter's sense of movement looks spot-on, and its "pumping 80s synthwave" soundtrack sounds like a perfect pairing.