Checkpoints are frequent and the Game Over message keeps comically cycling between nostalgic pleas to “Insert Coin” or puns based on your method of death (“Kentucky Fried Pilot” if blown up, “What the Hell?” upon burning alive). These grim jokes serve to reassure players that Rive knows exactly what it's emulating (“Cool, a rising lava level” and “That AI activated my auto-scroller somehow!”), and that each scenario, no matter how ludicrous, is beatable.
Difficulty is a good thing when managed correctly. Most players want to beat an area and be overcome by a feeling of pride and accomplishment, not be glad it is over. RIVE often prompts the latter emotion and while the levels, art, and hacking are fun and well-designed, the main take away from Two Tribes’ game is a feeling of frustration.
While it is obvious that Rive was a well-crafted digital love letter to arcade classics of yesteryear, this is not a game that will be joining that pantheon of remarkable releases. Just because a game is hard, doesn’t mean it is gratifying. Though it certainly has moments of brilliance, these glimpses are few and far between. It also doesn’t help matters much when the borderline mean-natured presentation and combat mechanics continue to over-emphasize failures, instead of trumpeting successes. This will most likely find a small, loyal audience among the already converted and fairly neglected arcade shooter crowd. Ultimately, Rive lacks the approachability that would help it preach the shooter gospel to those not already singing in the choir.
If Two Tribes' plan was to go out with a loud and glorious bang, they have succeeded in doing just that.
Outside of a few platforming quirks and walls of death, Rive is a slick 2-D Action-Platformer that will kill you every chance it can get.
It's always a shame to see a company hand in their final game, but Two Tribe's RIVE is a fantastic swan song. Featuring some tight shooting and platforming with difficult and creative fights and some really entertaining and well-acted characters, RIVE shouldn't be missed by anyone looking for a fast-paced explosive romp.
I had a ton of fun with the game as I wrote my RIVE review. The campaing is roughly 6-8 hours long and is very dependant on skill – if you choose to drop down to Soft mode you can complete the game a little faster. The game is fun, fast-paced and looks great, and you should all go out and add it to your collection to reward Two Tribes for all of their hard work.
One of the best just got even better! RIVE: Wreck, Hack, Die, Retry! was an exhilarating ride for fans of all styles of space shooters to start with, but now even more genre enthusiasts can enjoy this stunning effort thanks to the extra difficulty mode offered. As for those who signed up for the initial release, they also have some fantastic reasons to come back and enjoy the excellence that Two Tribes has delivered. Will this superb shooter be transferred to Nintendo Switch now, rather than staying on the near enough finished Wii U? Given how amazing this update was, the only thing that could possibly better it would be the promise of further tweaks, and maybe even a multiplayer element, all in time for a Switch release! For now, PC and PlayStation 4 gamers are in for a massive treat with this sublime update…
I hope it's clear by now that Rive is excellently made, and I had a great time flying through space alongside Roughshot. It's clear that the developers behind it were passionate about making the best experience possible. Rive holds its ground among the best 2D shooters available on PSN – it's a title which I would readily recommend to anyone with a free afternoon and an affinity for twitch gameplay.
The game might be short, but there’s a lot of replay value in it if you want to get all of its trophies, including what will surely be a very hard Platinum trophy. For the main game, you can expect to be done in 4-6 hours, and since you’ll need to replay it here and there to get the rest of the trophies, you better learn what the game has to throw at you! I loved Rive, and hopefully, you give this one a try!