RIVE (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 21.01.2017 1

Review for RIVE on PC

There is absolutely no question how impressive Two Tribes' swansong release, RIVE: Wreck, Hack, Die, Retry! is, as witnessed by early hands-on reports with the Wii U eShop version, PC edition, and eventual reviews of both PC and PS4 iterations (Wii U fans read this…). What could make an already addictive shooter better? Plenty of free content! Despite Two Tribes only being a shell of a company now, with key members leaving, the remaining staff recently pumped out a free update that challenges the quality of many other games' paid DLC.

RIVE is packed with personality; from the sarcastic banter between the main character and the computer trying to kill him, and the various references to other classics shmups, Two Tribes' masterpiece is an absolute joy to play through. Filled with intense space shooting goodness, hordes of enemy fire, and even some dastardly platform elements, it is the ultimate test for shmup enthusiasts the world over. It is also a real test of any gamer's resolve. Back when testing this out on Wii U at a busy EGX in 2015, it left the nerves a-jangling, and the following year trying out the latest PC build was more of the same, if not tougher. Upon release, the community raved about how this was one of the most hardcore experiences to hit the market in over a decade, yet some people saw that as a negative…

After all, what about the regular folk out there that love to dabble in the genre, yet are not exactly experts at the fine art of surviving in bullet-hell scenarios? This was possibly the biggest flaw in the final product in some people's eyes, since although it greatly appealed to the hardcore out there, it alienated those that wanted to try, but could barely complete the very first mission. Well, never fear, because Two Tribes has listened to the feedback and decided to take action…for free!

Screenshot for RIVE on PC

The standard difficulty setting has been lowered to 'Normal' with the higher setting reserved only for those that specifically want to access it. Expect stronger bullets, less damage, more powerful health replenishing items, and no condescending reference to a "Soft Mode" or teddy bear image appearing (now it's a special star added for those tackling the harder side of RIVE). Some of the missions have also been adjusted or even lengthened, and numerous fixes employed.

Since September 2016, there have been minor additions, like more health being given when re-spawning at checkpoints multiple times in a row to make things a bit easier, extra controller layout styles, and even better balancing for missions, plus a Japanese mode since they do love their shmups over there and prefer it when they can fully understand the language! There was even a "Skywhale Survivor" challenge brought into a new Special Missions section, as a taste of what was to come in the larger v1.10-onwards updates that kicked in during November and continued into December of 2016.

Screenshot for RIVE on PC

With it impossible for the shell of Two Tribes to add new stages of the same calibre as the current ones, the remaining staff members have been able to compromise by squeezing more life out of the old beast by introducing Challenges and Battle Arenas that re-use existing assets. Whilst the Speed Run and Single Credit modes were there for the hardcore to refine their skills, creeping further and further up the online leaderboards, these new options are levelled at the rest of the gaming populace.

Challenges bring something new each and every day, meaning that gamers must log in after 24 hours in order to see what has been unlocked, and then keep on doing so until they have everything up for grabs, before pushing to beat all stages on bronze, silver, and gold levels. The difficulty is cumulative, so taking it at your own pace is not a problem.

Screenshot for RIVE on PC

As for the Battle Arenas, these are an extension of the "test" done with Skywhale Survivor to judge interest levels, now expanding upon the initial idea to bring more endless fighting fun to the table. There are three scenes handpicked from the main adventure that have been extended so that the battle only ends when you succumb to the onslaught of enemy attacks.

There is also a general "extra polish" feel to RIVE now, with statistics monitored by the developer to see what needed amending, and the remaining team listening closely to user feedback to give the best experience overall…without any extra charge! Other developers should take a long hard look at what Two Tribes has done here - made all the more impressive by the fact that the majority of the team has completely gone.

For more details on the original, pre-update release and its core story and mechanics, be sure to check out Cubed3's review of the PC edition of RIVE from launch.

Screenshot for RIVE on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

One of the best just got even better! RIVE: Wreck, Hack, Die, Retry! was an exhilarating ride for fans of all styles of space shooters to start with, but now even more genre enthusiasts can enjoy this stunning effort thanks to the extra difficulty mode offered. As for those who signed up for the initial release, they also have some fantastic reasons to come back and enjoy the excellence that Two Tribes has delivered. Will this superb shooter be transferred to Nintendo Switch now, rather than staying on the near enough finished Wii U? Given how amazing this update was, the only thing that could possibly better it would be the promise of further tweaks, and maybe even a multiplayer element, all in time for a Switch release! For now, PC and PlayStation 4 gamers are in for a massive treat with this sublime update…


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   


I'd be intrigued to hear the thoughts of others that played the base game - what do you think about the free DLC? As impressed as I was?

I've suggested that next they do some sort of either head-to-head speed-run on the same screen so you can play with friends at home, or a battle mode - facing off against each other in different arenas.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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