The game is a mix of a twin-stick shooter and a platform game, and it features some pretty solid gameplay elements from other games, including some similarities to classics such as the Mega Man franchise. You take on the role some burly bearded man, Roughshot, and he’s inside of this spider-like robotic tank that you control throughout the game. The concept is simple – kill everything that comes at you.
RIVE isn’t an easy task to take on though, and this is noted from the moment you get to the menu screen and you’re presented to start the game on hard mode. If you prefer to take a normal difficulty route on the first run, you’re out of luck. It doesn’t exist – suck it up and play the game the way it’s meant to be played.
The majority of the enemies in RIVE will have a homing feature to attack you directly, although some other enemies will have their own set patterns making them a little less challenging, unless they’re getting in the way of your maneuvers. Because of the erratic behavior of most enemies, the gameplay is really quite hectic and there are many explosions going on around the screen at any given time, and there are other hazards including lasers, giant sawblades and more which add to the challenge.
Level design is really quite impressive and while it may seem unfair at moments, multiple attempts to push past an area will usually be met my success and a feeling of accomplishment. I wouldn’t really say that the game offers puzzles anywhere, but you’ll have to take a few steps back sometimes to see how to progress through some sequences in the game.
The game boasts a six hour campaign, and while I haven’t finished it yet, I’m on the 6th mission and I’ve played approximately 4 hours now, including many deaths and embarrassingly bad attempts to beat each level. Regardless, the game packs a solid amount of content and quality for its price. The levels are pretty impressive and the soundtrack, always upbeat, helps to get you in the moment where you are on the edge of your seat trying to stay alive. It switches between you being totally in control of where to go, to vertical scrolling, or to a horizontal scrolling game at different points, and this helps it to keep feeling new.
While RIVE doesn’t bring anything groundbreaking to the table, but it manages to harness knowingly good elements from other games and bring them together to create something challenging, funny, and addictive that players are sure to enjoy. If you’re looking for this year’s sleeper hit – RIVE may very well be it.
Nail-biting difficulty at times, but so intricately designed it's wonderful. Sometimes the checkpoints are a little unfair combined with remaining health bar.
For the most part, it's gorgeous. Bright lights, shadowy sewer-like systems, and pretty explosions. A few of the textures every so often are a little bland, but barely noticeable.
It's fast-paced music that suits the style of game, it works. The voice acting for Roughshot shines here though, fun dialogue is sure to bring a smile to your face.