RIVE (PC) Second Opinion Review

By Gabriel Jones 30.09.2016 1

Review for RIVE on PC

Somewhere in deep space there is a mysterious abandoned ship, its secrets just yearning to be plundered by scavengers. Enter Roughshot, a man whose tenacious grip on survival is matched only by his attention to dental hygiene. What he finds in this derelict craft is more than mere junk; he discovers…true love. Wait, no, that's not right. RIVE (read the pre-release preview here) isn't the next life-reaffirming indie sensation. This is a shooter/platformer where a tank rends hundreds of thousands of robots into so much scrap. Either Roughshot finds a way out of the mess he got himself into, or the player restarts from the last checkpoint.

The goal of this game is to survive twelve missions of intense action. The missions are divided into a variety of wild set-pieces. At first, players are expected to fend off waves of killer robots. Later portions of the game up the bot count, while introducing other dangers to contend with. Platformer fans will recognise a lot of trademark ideas, like the obligatory water section, a ride on a runaway train, and conveyor belts. On that note, who doesn't love scrambling up a narrow corridor to avoid rising lava? While the deaths are bound to pile up, the frequent checkpoints keep the game moving at a relatively steady pace.

Screenshot for RIVE on PC

Roughshot's tank comes equipped with all of the necessary tools for escaping the ship. Aside from the machine gun that fires in practically any direction, there's also the all-important double jump. It's important to note that while this game has elements of a twin-stick shooter, a greater emphasis is put on the tank itself, not the bullets it spews. Enemies come from every direction, and even the weakest bot can take more than one hit, so the tank can't just sit in one spot and fire away until the room is cleared. The player has to keep moving, find the right positions to fire from, and pay attention to the effects of the environment. For example, the tank's gun is useless underwater, and there will be scenarios that take advantage of this weakness.

In between missions, Roughshot might have the opportunity to purchase some upgrades. While this game can be completed without buying anything, the special weapons tend to make things easier. Each weapon is situational. Homing missiles work best in open-areas, the shotgun is great for crowds, and so on. Using weapons in an effective manner can also positively influence the score. Yes, even though death is around every corner, the player is encouraged to score a ton of points. Destroying enemies in a short period of time creates a combo. Enemies can eventually be worth up to 20 times their normal value. There are also special bonuses for destroying multiple robots at the same time. However, the current combo is lost, whenever the player takes damage.

Screenshot for RIVE on PC

Over the course of the game, players will come across drones that they can hack. Some offer extra firepower, others a path to the next area. New hacks will be devised as progress is made, but it never really gets too complicated. After all, the player is hopelessly outnumbered; any opportunities to even the odds are greatly appreciated. Some hacks lend the game a slight tinge of puzzle solving. It adds just the right kind of variety. It's like having a fresh spin to the current task, but also one that doesn't force the game to adopt an entirely different genre just for a minute or two.

Controlling the tank is one of RIVE's more joyous qualities. The vehicle has a nice amount of weight to it, which makes movement satisfying. Jumping also works very well. For gamers using an Xbox 360 pad, it might be a good idea to change the control settings in the option menu. The default button for jump is the left trigger, which is troublesome for certain portions of the game. Otherwise, the mechanics of moving and shooting are very well done. The multitudes of scenarios the player must face are difficult, but they're all fairly designed. This is mainly because they all mesh well with the tank's movement abilities. What the players learn in the early missions will carry them through to the end of the game. It's all about playing smart, watching for visual/audio cues, and knowing the enemy.

Screenshot for RIVE on PC

One especially notable aspect of the visual design is how it assists the player. In one mission, falling debris must be avoided. The player can tell where the debris is going to land, because the pieces block light from a lamp that's placed near the top of the screen. This is neat for two reasons. Not only does it make for a cool visual, but it's also subtle. Another game might use giant red arrows to point out where the debris is going to land, which isn't nearly as clever. Another instance is the red light a charge bot will display just before it…well…charges. A nice touch on the audio side is that trains will sound a horn if something is in front of them (such as the player).

Upon completing the story, there is the chance to play both the speedrun and single credit modes. They're both self-explanatory. In other words, yes, there is a mode dedicated to players who want to try and beat the game without dying. It's nothing short of an insane proposition, but apparently it can be done. There's more replay value in challenging the online leaderboards, and collecting the numerous rare achievements. Special missions will also be made available in the near future.

Screenshot for RIVE on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

RIVE is, without a doubt, one of the finer action games released this year. It strikes the right balance between focused, but also playful. The player will be thrust into a constant variety of intense scenarios, all more difficult than the last, but only rarely will they even think, "That was a little unfair." There are plenty of ways to approach each situation, and there's room to experiment with weapons or exploit the enemy AI. The difficulty is well balanced, and the campaign is fluff free. Even the water section is good, and those hardly ever work in video games.

Developer

Two Tribes

Publisher

Two Tribes

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

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   

Comments

It's a fantastic swansong title from Two Tribes! I really hope the Wii U version hasn't been cancelled... It's such an addictive game, but brutally tough at times! Yet never feeling unfair, at the same time.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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