Let’s get this first out of the way: THIS GAME IS INTENSE! Alright, Rive is the latest and the last game of Two Tribes. After many-many years in the industry. the company decided it was time to say goodbye, but they plan to make a grandiose exit. Their last child is a game of pure madness and humor. A side scrolling shooter not for the faint hearted, which puts us against waves after waves of deadly robots sent to terminate us. Do you think you are prepared for this madness?
Our hero is a solitary scavenger in a spider-like vehicle, which he uses to traverse the outer space, explore giant spaceships, loot them (and destroy them). Our hero gets trapped in a gigantic and seemingly abandoned spaceship and tries to gather as much loot as possible and get out of there. However, this whole ship is run and completely controlled by an AI who wants our hero to stay there forever. We can of course shoot down the damn thing, but it just keeps appearing again and again thanks to a 3D printer providing it with infinite bodies.
Our arsenal starts off with a machinegun with infinite ammo and through the upgrade system we can add some special weapons to our collection. These extra weapons require some ammo boxes to be gathered every time we use them, but are much more effective at doing devastating damage to our enemies. So, I would suggest that we only use them when the enemies are coming in big waves and especially on the suicide robots which explode when they reach us, my god I haven’t faced more annoying enemies in a game! Additionally, while progressing through the levels you will find some “hacks” that allow you to override the settings of various robots, such as nurses and turrents and control them. The game has only one difficulty, Hardmode, or so I thought. There was one level with trains where I needed to jump on them at the right moment and escape a room full of enemies, but I ended up getting crushed by them. After a lot of failures, the game took pity on me and gave the “Soft” mode, which displays a teddy bear on the left corner of the screen, makes enemies less deadly and improves our damage. Well, while the game shouldn’t give me soft mode for being killed by environmental hazards, it made my life way easier (and made me feel bad about myself, a little).
Each level sets itself apart from the others, featuring different settings and mechanics, such as a game in a forge with tons of lava, one in the waterworks and one in space, which was very fun and reminiscent of the old side-scrolling shooter games on the arcade machines. What is more, the clever comments from both our protagonist and the AI make the experience much more fun and make you wonder who is the bad guy and who is the good guy after all! All these elements give fun twists to the game and ensure that the player will not get bored by the repetition of the similar mechanics and all-too-serious dialogues. Rive is certainly a game which forces you to have fun!
In this press release that Two Tribes was kind enough to provide us with, I experienced up to the seventh mission of the game and while it took me a while to get there, I certainly cannot wait to get my hands on the final release so I can reach the end and deal with this capricious AI! Even though it is not the final game, the experience feels complete and looks extremely polished. In my playthrough I didn’t notice any bugs or any problems at all and the game unfolded smoothly (except for when I was getting killed all the time). Additionally, the final game will feature a Speedrun Mode and a Single Credit mode, which will most likely be a mode where you only have one life. Good luck with that.
On Steam and PS4 Rive is set to be released on September 2016, with the Xbox One and Wii U releasing later.
Dimitris “Onel” Zarachanis