There’s excitement once more on the rough roads of River City! Hard-hitting female protagonists Misako and Kyoko are destroying the city to rescue their boyfriends, Kunio and Riki, and they won’t allow anyone to obstruct their path! As you punch and kick across the city, you’ll gain new abilities, eat up power-ups, wield bone-crushing weapons, and unleash a stockpile of combos, throws, and special attacks that will leave the villains weeping for their mothers – all in outrageous pixel-art fashion! The astounding action is interrupted by motion-comic story panels, anime cutscenes, multiple endings, and an epic synth-pop soundtrack. This version of the game has touchscreen or Bluetooth controller assistance for solo play (Bluetooth controllers required for 2-player co-op) as well as River City’s newest shopkeeper: Crunchyroll-Hime!
GLORIOUS PIXEL-ART GRAPHICS
The pixel-art graphics in River City Girls are a glorious homage to classic beat ’em up games. The sprites are full of personality and packed with details that showcase the developers’ pixel art mastery. The characters have smooth animations that make the action feel impactful. The backgrounds feature destructible objects and humorous signs that encourage exploration. Overall, the retro pixel-art aesthetic plays a huge part in recreating that nostalgic feeling of playing a beat ’em up in the arcade. It’s a visual treat for fans of the genre.
SATISFYING COMBAT SYSTEM
At the heart of any good beat ’em up is a combat system that feels responsive and rewarding. River City Girls delivers in this regard with an accessible control scheme of light and heavy attacks that can be chained into combos. Landing a long string of hits and throws on enemies feels great. The heroines learn new moves like air dashes and grapples that add depth. Weapons such as baseball bats and katanas spice things up even more. Topping off the combat is the ability to recruit defeated enemies for special assisted attacks. Overall, the fighting mechanics are easy to pick up but have enough nuance for veteran players.
A key ingredient in recreating that old-school vibe is an upbeat chiptune soundtrack. River City Girls features an absolutely stellar soundtrack with earworm melodies and driving beats. The music was handled by famous chiptune artists like Megan McDuffee and Chipzel. There are even vocal theme songs performed by singers Cristina Vee and NateWantsToBattle. Having this level of musical talent provides a consistently jamming soundtrack that rivals the classics of the genre. You’ll be humming these tunes long after turning off the game.
FUN CO-OP GAMEPLAY
While beat ’em ups shine as multiplayer experiences, many modern attempts fail to recapture the fun cooperatiave play of classics like Double Dragon and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. River City Girls brings back the magic of beating up bad dudes with a friend. The simple addition of allowing both players to freely move anywhere on screen alleviates so many headaches found in older games. The ability to lift and throw partners also leads to unique and hilarious combos. It’s a blast exploring the world and unlocking new moves with a partner. River City Girls is a must-play co-op beat ’em up experience.
PACKED WITH CONTENT
River City Girls provides players with a meaty amount of content, ensuring dozens of hours of playtime. There are 5 large districts to explore with branching paths, secrets to uncover, and side quests to complete. Shopkeepers offer gear and items for character progression. Multiple endings and New Game+ provide replay value after beating the main story. Unlocking new playable characters like Kunio and Riki add even more variety. This game could easily have been split into multiple entries decades ago. The amount of content is a great value for its price.
Finally, River City Girls nails the nostalgic feeling of playing a retro beat ’em up but with modern quality-of-life refinements. The anime cutscenes and motion comic story panels recall an era when games were packed with that sort of flair. It also pilfers the best bits of genre classics like Double Dragon and Final Fight while ditching outdated mechanics. Even cameos from iconic characters provoke nostalgia for fans of classic Technos games. However, intuitive controls, fluid gameplay and co-op make it play like a modern game. River City Girls is a showcase of how to revitalize a classic genre to appeal to both retro fans and newcomers.