Like real-life explosions, RIVE was a game that I hadn’t heard about, but once it exploded onto my screen in its trailer, I was absolutely wowed by what I saw. A crazy, freshly looking shooter, filled with robots, machine guns, and big enemies. I saw frenzied, fast chaotic action that required players to use fast reflexes to destroy the opposition and to survive. Finally, I saw a neat take on space settings, as the player was not any kind of soldiers or super-powered beings, but instead, a collector looking to get some scrap for good money. RIVE gives that sensation of tremendous, fast action and a neat science fiction setting to definitely be looked at. But, how does it fare when playing? I had the opportunity to play RIVE, tucked in the Indie Mega Booth over at PAX WEST.
As I was already educated on the knowledge of RIVE as a game, I jumped straight into the action mechanics of the title, ready to see how the game fared out. AS I prepared, a representative of Two Tribes helped me prepare for my fight into the bowels of a massive ship. My mission was selected. As the objective was to explore the ship and secure scrap, I would be plunged into the foundry of the ship, filled with molten metal and dangerous enemies.
I was given a brief rundown of the controls. RIVE is a twin-stick shooter, filled with shooting, explosions, weapons, and the sheer chaos of using all of that to take down robotic enemies. However, there is a unique twist that will give players an edge in combat. Players can hack robotic enemies and use them to their own advantage. I had heard about this mechanic but wondered how it would be implemented. I would get an answer to that implementation, and the result was really neat. Players have to hit a button to hack enemies. When holding that button down, the screen turns green, similar to looking outside of night-vision goggles. Players then move their ship quickly to discover hackable robots. Upon getting the robots into the cone of vision, they become hacked and will aid you in combat. The ones that were chosen for the demos would give me constant health. This process was all very quick.
The level thrust me right into danger, and I was immediately encountering heavy fire from robots. The controls and gameplay feedback felt incredibly responsive in the first few moments of getting into the game. My small robot spider craft crawled across the screen, in an animation that felt like a moving 90’s cartoon, and when the action got fierce, the visuals brightened with extremely fast moving bullets and missile fire.
Then, the was the boss, a giant floating airship, filled with guns, missiles, and lasers. At first, I believed this fight to be a cakewalk. However, seconds later, I died, blown to pieces by the enemy. Fortunately, a checkpoint system had me back in no time, and I was back fighting the enemy. I lasted a longer time but was once again destroyed by the maniacal. The representative at the booth was able to help me by reminding me I had special weapons, as well as the hacking tool for robots. Knowing that, I was able to launch one of four special weapons, the missile, at the enemy, as wells hack robots to defend me. As I fought the robot, I had to account of the swirling molten metal below me, swishing left and right in a wave of liquid fire that could significantly damage my ship. Eventually, I was victorious and saw the boss erupt into a ball of fire and lit oil.
What may have appeared to be the end of my demo was only the half way point. I had time for one more mission.
The next mission was a massive steel train, moving through the ship. The purpose of this level was to survive to use the train and potentially escape that part of the vessel. Immediately, I was under heavy fire from flying machines and gunships, frantically shooting and using my hacking capabilities I shortly died, as I was brought down by enemies very quickly. But once again, I managed to secure robots with my hacking ability, and even managed to switch to a new special weapon, the shotgun. I was able to blow back enemies with ease and survive the onslaught, which was continuous and relentless, filled with explosive projectiles, rockets, and gunfire.
I leapt and shot my way through, barely surviving the pursuing forces. As the fight continued, the train got faster. My excitement and adrenaline built and built rapidly in the short amount of time. As I fought, I was ambitious to see what would happen next. I fought relentlessly against the enemy my health dwindling, my shots firing, for every one of the, two more came. Suddenly, the train plowed through walls of metal, breaching the hull, and ejecting me into outside space. The train was obliterated, the hull was breached, but the robots were slain, and I was alive. It had been a wild ride and my demo ended.
I talked to a member of Two Tribes and what RIVE meant to them. Two Tribes is not just another game, but a sendoff for an entire gaming studio. Two Tribes has spent years making video games, particularly for smaller platforms such as the Nintendo handhelds and the PlayStation Portable. After years making entertaining titles, RIVE represents and end to the studio’s journey into gaming. With that, they wanted to make one last send off to the industry with RIVE. Of course, it is living up to the tagline of going out with a bang. In making RIVE, they wanted to make a game that called attention to the shooter sand platformers of years gone by. Considering the demo I had played, the game has succeeded in that mission. While it was incredibly challenging, the action was frantic, fast, frenzied, and exciting.
RIVE is currently out now on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Steam platforms.