RIVE (Hands-On) (PC) Preview

By Ian Soltes 16.10.2014

Review for RIVE (Hands-On) on PC

RIVE is an action platformer developed by Two Tribes and intended to be released on Steam, as well as current consoles such as Wii U, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with a launch date that has yet to be announced. Having already offered an early playable version for attendees of Gamescom and EGX, Cubed3 now goes hands-on with the shooter-platformer hybrid to see how things are shaping up.

Two Tribes has made it clear from the start that RIVE embraces old-school gaming values and executes them in a new-school fashion. An intriguing prospect indeed, but can the team pull it off successfully? Well, demos and early releases are always difficult things to judge, obviously. After all, it is far too easy for a game to be released in a state where not being finished works heavily against it. Will any beta bugs found be fully squashed? How about major changes that could end up happening in the future? Clearly it is a tough call to gauge the full potential of RIVE, especially in such a short playable demo. Basically, an accurate decision as to its potential quality is nigh on impossible to determine.

Anyway, what was here from the off was: a robot-with-a-gun, controlled during intense 360-degree shooting and platforming action, with a hacking mechanic that allowed for altering the behaviour of enemies as hacks were collected and uploaded. The robot moved along levels using the WASD keys and shot enemies automatically. The keyboard and mouse setup has not yet been tweaked, as actually noted by Two Tribes, with a controller being favourable at this stage. For the purposes of this hands-on, though, WASD was the only method available - so there was no choice but to simply bear with it. Some of the enemies came in the form of turrets with shields that could shoot back, floating buzzsaws or spheres that tried to ram the robot, and some that could be 'hacked' to help the player out. 'Healbots' could be hacked, too, in order to heal the robot, and another kind could be tinkered with to let it float in the air for a short while.

Screenshot for RIVE (Hands-On) on PC

There was only one very easy boss included in this version, one that was simply a large sphere surrounded by a shield with a small hole at the top, spawning smaller spheres. Beating it was possible by climbing through two small tunnels on each side of the map, then jumping over it and shooting down into the hole to cause damage. Upon defeat, the demo ended - short and sweet.

The levels on offer so far felt pretty stock, with the first being a fairly standard junkyard-style stage with clear and easy passages full of enemies that could be easily shot down, while the second was a rather standard lava-filled area that involved jumping over a few small waves of molten metal as progress forwards was made, before reaching a third 'level,' which was essentially just the boss room. This showcased a 'dark' mechanic in which the screen was thrown into complete darkness, aside from a few lights from the enemy and a flashlight on the front of the robot, but it was quickly passed through to reach the actual final battle.

The controls felt a bit awkward, especially when it came to the floating mechanics. As they were basically anti-gravity (which seems to be common amongst many indie games), proper control was a bit difficult and confusing due to needing enough momentum or just perfect timing in general. Regardless, nothing in the demo felt really 'stand-out' or 'exceptional' - in a good or bad way.

RIVE has decent graphics, and a difficulty level that currently feels a bit on the 'easy' side at times. However, it has the potential to become harder later on, but it is difficult to tell if it is actually likely to get 'harder' or just become 'cheap' to up the difficulty stakes because the demo was over before the soup for lunch had been fully cooked.

Screenshot for RIVE (Hands-On) on PC

Final Thoughts

This demo of RIVE was little more than a basic tutorial level, so judging its overall quality is tricky. To prevent it remaining as 'just another unknown shooter,' it needs to increase its challenge and mix in more interesting features in order to join the same group as Ikaruga and Mark of the Ninja. The short demo had its positives, though, despite being too short to draw an accurate conclusion from. As Two Tribes is currently working with only three people and trying its best to make a game alone, as well as release it across all current consoles, such a task is obviously huge for such a small team. If RIVE ends up not worth the wait, it is better that it stuck its foot out there, tried its best, and got a tip of the hat, rather than being shunned and ignored for attempting such a large task.


Two Tribes


Two Tribes


2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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