This is their last goodbye
Two Tribes have been around the block a few times and chances are you’ve played one of their games at some point (probably Toki Tori) and they’ve always been top of their game. So it was a surprise when these self proclaimed grandfathers of gaming announced their retirement. Before they head off to pasture though they are back for one last outing, RIVE. RIVE is a 360-degree shooter/platformer and it’s their final title, their swan song, their parting gift to gamers and quite possibly their best game.
In RIVE you take control of Roughshot, or rather his spider tank. He’s a gruff-talking space scavenger that’s low on fuel and gets trapped on Galaxian Service Vessel #6. With the help of a guide drone, which you are never quite sure if he’s helping or using you, he must make his way through the service vessel searching for fuel, blasting robots to smithereens and finding upgrades along the way.
RIVE consists of twelve missions and an epilogue, and while it’s not the longest game it certainly packs a punch with the variety of its missions; there’s traditional twin stick shooter levels, classic platform levels and even a raising lava level thrown in for good measure. When the main game is completed the fun doesn’t stop there as you unlock a single credit mode and a speedrun mode, and there are also online leaderboards to compete in.
The game is littered with, well actually its rammed full of, references to other games, movies and even the much talked about subject of the monetization of gaming. It’s all done humorously and very tongue in cheek right from the off; beginning with Roughshot using a dragon punch to fix his computer screen and then switching his cameras to side-scrolling shmup mode. You can watch my first five minutes of gameplay to get a feel for the tone of the game.
As with most shooters the controls are simple. The left stick controls movement, the right stick lets rip the infinite supply of bullets. L2 and R2 handle jump and secondary weapons respectively, and speaking of secondary weapons, as you play you will unlock more of them which are selected by using the face buttons. All the movement in RIVE is slick, responsive and smooth, which is exactly what you need as some moments require epic dodging skills to avoid the enemies’ barrage of attacks.
Two Tribes have always known how to make a game look good and sound good, and this tradition continues with RIVE. Every level is fantastically well designed, and even when you are in the midst of an enemy onslaught every explosion is a veritable feast for the eyes. The music and sounds are spot on. The voicework is top quality too. For some reason it reminded me of Ben Ripburger from LucasArts’ Full Throttle.
RIVE contains a platinum trophy but you will need to do a number of playthroughs to pop it. This is because there’s a trophy that requires you to max out all your equipment and another one that requires you to only buy one upgrade. There are also a number of level specific trophies that can be obtained by dipping back into the missions once the game is completed.
RIVE is an excellent game. Sure there are moments when the difficulty spikes as you hit seemingly unbeatable sections in the game, but this adds to the feeling of enjoyment when you finally do beat them. It’s definitely a must buy game not just for twin stick shooter fans but for all gamers. Two Tribes are definitely going out with a bang and leaving us with a game to remember.
NelMaNo Rating – 8.5/10