Rive: Bringing the Pain

Every now and then you find yourself wanting something a little different, something with a bit of a challenge and something where really, you just want to blow s%#t up.

Unfortunately it is a time where old school 'shoot 'em up' titles are a bit harder to find, harder still to find a good one. So with me getting my hands on Two Tribes' release of Rive, I have to say there was a little bit of sadistic glee to be had. The question is, does Rive hold itself as a masterpiece of the genre, or just another bit of mediocre mayhem?

Rive is a 360°, 2D, twin stick shooter that borrows many elements from age old classics and throws them into a nicely polished and quite challenging game. You take control of Roughshod, a salvager with more quips than Bruce Campbell (of Evil Dead fame) as you fight your way through the bowels of a massive starship full of hostile robots and traps designed with one thing in mind, destroying you. Usually just after you have narrowly escaped the previous one.

Rive is a 2D platformer and uses a standard twin stick control system. One stick provides movement while the other aims and fires your gun. Specials can be picked up along the way giving you a bit of a helping hand. You can also upgrade Roughshod's ship, though only the armour can be upgraded which is kind of redundant given the general deadliness of the enemies and traps. Some power-ups or alternate fire would be better suited.

Visually, Rive is stunning. It is crisp, colourful and the frame rates hold steady even when you're inundated with enemies on the screen. Levels are designed well and make it very clear what you need to do to progress.

This leads to a lot of trial by death. You will be re-trying a lot of sections time and time again, leading me to a lot of swearing and twisting of the controller. You could be forgiven to think that some of the sections feel like you are being trolled, you need to string together split second jumps and moves, all while being sure to shoot enemies and avoid being chewed up by a nasty saw trap. In short, don't play when you're tired. Put the controller down and try again tomorrow. Trust me it will stop you throwing it through the screen. You'll find yourself in these tense situations time and time again throughout the approx. six hour playthrough, but the reward and return of self-worth is worth the trouble.

Rive is definitely a fitting swan song for Two Tribes. The stunning visuals, tight precise controls and comedic, tongue-in-cheek narration of Roughshod, show a lot of creative effort has been spent in the making. Elements of Rive will give you a bit of a trip down nostalgia lane while the intensity may just kick you in the teeth.

Rive may not leave a lasting impression on the genre, but it will be for you. It is well worth taking it for a spin if you have the patience and an extreme thirst for a challenge.

Rive is currently available on:
PS4: Playstation Store
Steam: Steampowered

Pat (Snoogan512/Snoogs)

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