“Platforming meets the Twinstick Shooter”: Rive Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - March 27, 2017

Have you heard of an indie game called “Rive”? It released in September last year and you’d be forgiven if you missed it, what with Forza, FIFA, and ReCore coming out in the same month. I hadn’t heard of it myself until it came packed in with this month’s Humble monthly bundle. I was looking for something to play as I started to get burnt out on Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Rive just happened to be at the top of my unplayed games list. And hot damn, this is exactly what I needed.

Rive’s gameplay is like a combination of elements from some of my favourite games: Imagine the 2D platforming of Megaman, combined with the twin-stick shooting and fast-paced action of Geometry Wars. It’s a great combination of mechanics that mesh together to produce a game that is challenging, often-times frustrating, and all-the-times awesome.

There are a bunch of mechanics added to the mix that gives a nice variety to the gameplay. Some of these are in the form of gameplay mechanics that are level-specific, such as some sections taking place in zero-gravity. You’ll also acquire new abilities throughout the game that shake things up, such as being able to hack certain enemies to fight alongside you.

The shooting feels great and the array of weapon upgrades feel powerful, thanks to Rive’s fantastic aesthetic design. The game uses a layered 2D look with high-quality sprites and detailed animations to make the combat feel impactful and the world feel vibrant. The majority of the game may take place inside a decrepit space station, but the environments feel nicely varied and new enemies are constantly popping up. The subtle future-techno music that accompanies the game also works well to emphasise heated combat situations and low-key platforming sections.

Rive is also fully voice-acted, which brings a heap of personality to the characters but also makes the incessant memes and pop-culture references borderline unbearable. It’s like the writers were trying to squeeze in as many references as possible, and it’s the one thing about Rive that stands out in my mind as being a negative.

If you’re a fan of platformers and twin-stick shooters, I heartily recommend Rive. It looks great, it plays well and is a straight-forward, challenging, good time. If those genres typically aren’t your kind of thing, Rive’s story and characters aren’t significant enough to distinguish themselves from the gameplay. Either way, I’d suggest keep an eye out and picking up Rive on a Steam sale – it’s hard to imagine someone playing this and not enjoying themselves, even just a little bit.

  • Release Date: 9/13/2016
This post was written by
He is a gaming staff writer for Kulture Shocked and the site’s unofficial southern hemisphere correspondent. When he’s not on the run from customs for importing Mortal Kombat games, you can find him slapping the bass in his Psych-Rock band Neptune Estate or enjoying the beautiful Queensland weather from the safety of his couch.
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