TL;DR: An extremely well produced fast paced side-scrolling shooter that mixes platforming with bullet hell elements in a frantic and hectic package. An utterly exhilarating and satisfying experience and the end of a great journey for Two Tribes.
Developer: Two Tribes
Publisher: Two Tribes Publishing
Genre: Robot hacking shooter
Release date: 13 Sep, 2016
As some may or may not know, this is Two Tribe’s last game and it shows. The spot on visual design and humour combined with frantic shooting in a weird mixture of platforming and bullet hell makes this an one of a kind created by these devs.
In terms of actual story, there isn’t much depth to it. You’re Roughshot, a space scavenger that gets stuck on a huge spaceship and is now trying to find a way out of it while trying to avoid getting killed by the creations of the ship’s AI. Still, the conversations between the player and the ship AI, as well as the monologues of Roughshot, are overall funny, entertaining and feature some nice little references here and there.
As for the game itself, when you first play the game you’re only able to play the campaign mode, but after beating that you unlock a speedrun mode and a hardcore mode in which you only have 1 life. It took me around 7 hours to beat the campaign but your mileage may vary depending on how good you are at the game. Some later missions I managed to beat rather easily while I was stuck for some time in some sections.
The gameplay itself is very simple. You can jump (and double jump), move left or right and shoot in a 360º arc. There are some sections in which this base gameplay changes a bit, such as when you enter zero gravity bubbles/zones which allow you to reach otherwise unreachable places but overall that is how the game plays. As you progress through the game you’ll also unlock the ability to hack different kinds of enemies such as healing drones, turrets and suicide drones and, by collecting scrap left by dead enemies, you can also upgrade your spider tank and purchase new special attacks.
The combination of a tight control scheme and satisfying shooting, great looking texture based visuals and pretty particle effects make for an overall appealing package. Now add to that a roster of levels and enemies that are varied and which increase in difficulty and complexity as you play through the game allowing the experience to remain fresh, interesting and challenging, forcing you to always be on alert, and you have RIVE, an extremely simple formula that, at the same time, also makes for an extremely compelling, charming and enjoyable game. If you’re looking for a challenging game that will test your skills, I highly recommend you check this one out.