Top Critic Average
River City: Rival Showdown leans more heavily on the RPG elements that the original River City Ransom brought to the beat em' up genre with a stronger focus on a narrative and exploration. Being on a handheld, the new game prioritizes the single-player experience in its core design which loses the charm of the couch co-op that made the original game so memorable to many players back in the day. River City: Rival Showdown ushers in some big changes while still does a good job bringing the original River City Ransom into modern times while still honoring its Kunio-kun roots pretty well.
River City: Rival Showdown's best qualities are its unique method of progression and well-executed storyline. Admittedly, this critic was not expecting this to be the case. The appeal of this franchise has always been its simplistic but satisfying fighting; not to mention the depth and creativity that comes from having so many fun abilities to play around with. While these hallmarks are present in this 3DS brawler, they are buried under the relentless quest for higher numbers. The final result is a game that just isn't as accessible and endearing as it could be, but there's still entertainment to be had.
With the lack of direction, the difficulty spikes, and the time it takes to upgrade skills and equipment, Rival Showdown is an exercise in frustration more than anything else.