By: Jeff Cater
Developer Two Tribes has been creating games for a long, long time. Starting back in 2000, it made many memorable platformers such as Toki Tori and Worms: Open Warfare 2. Unfortunately, Two Tribes has decided to cease (new) game development, but not before releasing one of its most explosive platformers to date.
In RIVE, you’ll be faced with intense colors, bullets-a-plenty and even some slick jokes while navigating a gigantic freighter tucked away in an asteroid field that houses a seemingly infinite number of baddies.
If you’ve been making platform games for about 20 years like Two Tribes has, coming up with a control scheme is probably something you do in your sleep. As with most side-scrolling shooters these days, you’ll control your nameless pilot with the left stick and aiming your shots with the right.
To fire, you guessed it, you pull the right trigger. To get over shorter obstacles you’ll have to activate your short-jump jets with the left trigger, but you can also pull a second time to produce a double-jump. As you progress you’ll also find and unlock new devastating weapons that are bound to your various face buttons.
Wow, RIVE looks really damn great. Not only does the game throw tons of special effects at you, it also does so at an unbreakable pace. Be it a swarm of mine-bots or bars of electricity bearing down at you from all directions, the game suffers no noticeable slowdown.
Both you and the endless enemies you’ll face are animated very well and complement the visual style of the environment perfectly. It’s a tad bleak at first, but it’s truly hard to notice with the sheer amount of enemies, bullets and explosions, all of which appropriately meaty and vibrant.
RIVE features a pretty sweet soundtrack too, which ramps up in intensity just as often as the on-screen action. The weapons effects aren’t really anything to write home about, but they’re pretty hard to notice amidst the rest of the superb sound effects and voice acting. Your nameless pilot cracks a few hit-or-miss jokes, but honestly they’re mostly hits and are delivered quite well.
RIVE is a shooter that pulls out all the stops from beginning to end, and the game does its damnedest to test your mettle. As you explore the dangerous locales, you will be thrown into intense firefights in cramped tunnels, expansive loading bays, and even gigantic engine chambers, all of which have little traps and features unique to their locale.
Maybe you’ll have to bound over exhaust ports that are expelling extreme heat, or maybe you’ll be frantically shooting control nodes that are edging deadly walls of electricity ever closer. You’ll die plenty in RIVE, but the game never truly feels like it’s punishing you for failure; you won’t lose more than maybe a minute of progress and you don’t lose any points or weapons unless they were acquired during that time.
As you get deeper and deeper into the ship (by activating and unlocking loading bay doors and the like), RIVE will throw a curveball every now and then, like a sudden shift to Zero-G, a room consisting of almost nothing but bullets or a chamber that is quickly flooding. These changes come swiftly and often, and they add a yummy amount of spice to the already full plate that RIVE gives you.
Unfortunately, there is no multiplayer, but then again it’s probably a blessing in disguise because the level design is just not fit for more than one player.
It’s sad to see Two Tribes calling it quits, but at least it gave us RIVE, a game that’ll go down as one of the most intense and polished shooters delivered to any platform.