There is no shortage of twin stick shooters nowadays. It seems on whichever digital shop you go to there are a dozen of these shooters. What makes each one stand out? What makes each one a better experience than the last? When I first saw RIVE I didn’t know what to make of it. It looks chaotic and hard as nails. Once that game started in my hands I was in love.
RIVE was originally scheduled for release on Nintendo Wii U but it just wasn’t working on the console. That was probably the best thing that could happen because it would have been a shame if this game was lost with that system (although I loved the Wii U). The best way I can describe RIVE is as a twin stick shooter / platformer / schmup. Throughout the game you pilot your spider tank as it runs, jumps and shoots its way through hordes of mechanical enemies on land, underwater, in zero gravity and even on a moving train. There are segments that use these elements alone and then times where they’re used all at once. It is self aware of what it is making references to the type of gameplay you’re currently involved in. One particular instance had your main character saying how much he prefers side scrolling over first person stating “He doesn’t know how those guys can see behind them.” Little touches like this to the dialogue really put a huge smile on my face.
After years of development, the game came out in 2016 on PlayStation 4 and Steam. The ultimate edition, which has been touted as the best version is the one reviewed here and only on Nintendo Switch. This version is tweaked to perfection, players smoother & added a co-pilot mode so that you can have someone join in on the chaos with you by controlling either your movement or your weapons.
The game won’t take you more than a couple of hours to complete as you run and gun throughout these metal robots. Once you’re done the main campaign you’ll have another difficulty, challenge modes, online leaderboards and in game achievements (Yes! A Nintendo game with achievements!) As you progress through the game you will unlock new upgrades. Your main weapon stays the same but I honestly didn’t feel the need to have it changed. Based on the gameplay you have the last thing you’re worried about is having you main gun changed.
RIVE is a tough game, but its not nearly as hard as people may have told you. Now I love bullet hell-schmup-fast paced games so it could be that I’ve grown accustomed to the chaos but really the games real challenge is when you up the difficulty or play one of its challenge modes. Other than that if you’re proficient in any of those genres you shouldn’t have an overly hard time on the normal difficulty.
I’ve been surprised a lot with indies in 2017 and RIVE adds to that list. The game is balls to the wall insane, a blast to play and never stops being fun. The mechanics handle so smooth that it feels like an extension of your body. Without playing the previous iterations I cant comment on how much the controls have improved by I believe Two Tribes when they say that the game has been perfected. While there can be difficult moments its far from impossible, just means you need to rethink your play style. I highly recommend this for fans of any of the included genres (twin stick shooter / platformer / schmup).
For a limited time the game has a 15% launch discount on Nintendo Switch
Developer: Two Tribes
Publisher: Two Tribes
Release Date: November 17th (Nintendo Switch)
Available On: PC/Mac/Linux (Steam), PlayStation 4 & Nintendo Switch (Ultimate Edition)
Disclaimer: This game was provided by the publisher for review purposes