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River City: Tokyo Rumble is not only a fantastic game for existing Kunio-kun fans, it'll also appeal to any gamer looking for satisfying old-school beat 'em up gameplay set in a humorous world full of loveable characters.
Mixing brawler and role-playing aspects is a common design choice, but River City: Tokyo Rumble veers far closer to the brawler side. It’ll be over quickly, but so was the original. A few little things keep this from being an all-time classic, but it’s a fun break from the heavy role-playing games the 3DS has had this year. This is one trip to the Far East worth hopping on.
Although Tokyo Rumble plays great and I had lots of fun with it, the gameplay on display has been done better, and recently. Both Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Double Dragon Neon have online and local co-op play in addition to considerably better graphics and sound. That said, neither of those games ever made it to the 3DS, so if you want to smack up some street scum on the go, it's easy to recommend River City: Tokyo Rumble. There's lots to unlock, it never stops being fun to whale on the other gangs, and despite the simple graphics, those classic character sprites show off more personality than a lot of more modern games' protagonists. If you're on the fence, I'd recommend trying the original River City Ransom on the Wii or Wii U virtual console, since this is a greatly enhanced version of the same thing. If you already have nostalgia for the series, feel free to add a couple of points to the score.
Thankfully that slapdash treatment isn't indicative of the game as a whole. The story mode is well put together and serves as a faithful homage to the classic. It's loving to the point of almost fawning, and it feels a little too willing to play it safe at times, but it's an enjoyable nostalgia trip regardless.
River City: Tokyo Rumble is an unapologetic love letter to the beat-em-ups of yesteryear. While simplistically accessible and filled to the brim with nostalgia, it’s brought down by very limited options and some clunky controls.
While River City: Tokyo Rumble is lacking in terms of challenge or complexity, it delivers on the basic concepts that have helped the Kunio Kun franchise last for decades. The character designs and animations evoke plenty of charm, and the fighting is simple and easy to enjoy. A handful of secrets and unlockable extras reward anyone who takes the time to explore. The dozens of methods for punishing everyone that threatens the safety of Tokyo is a treat, as well. All in all, this is a quality beat 'em up that's worth looking into.
All in all River City: Tokyo Rumble is a fun little adventure that doesn't really take a lot of chances with a formula that was first established about thirty years ago. That might be playing things a little too safe, but it is also a testament to how good River City Ransom was that three decades later the core gameplay still holds up as an entertaining if somewhat shallow experience.
River City: Tokyo Rumble is the epitome of a 'safe' game. While the core mechanics of the gameplay are solid and the graphics are unintrusive, there's little here that stands out as being particularly exceptional. This is the kind of game that's fun to play every once in a while, but doesn't have any characteristics or memorable traits that'll keep you coming back again and again. We certainly give River City: Tokyo Rumble a modest recommendation, but only to fans of the genre or franchise that are looking to get a nostalgic fix. If you're new or indifferent towards brawlers, perhaps less expensive options like the excellent 3D Streets of Rage 2 might be a more fitting purchase.
Shows its limits early on, with its rather repetitive combat, a level structure that needs improvement and the mixing of different graphic styles did not come out too well, but while those not interested in the genre should look the other way, any River City fan will be more than satisfied with this reincarnation of the thirty-year-old series.
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