Rive (PS4 Review)
Two Tribes’ Rive is their latest game and sadly their last for the time being. Rive is a twin stick shooter which blends twin stick shooting, platforming, and even side scrolling. Will the end of the Two Tribes’ saga be a welcome addition to their 16 years of games or a footnote better left unread?
Rive starts with the player waking up from cryo sleep as a spider tank pilot in an asteroid field. Side scrolling your way to the closest structure, which just so happens to be the home of a terribly lonely and bored robot. this robot finds joy in causing you misery and tricking you into deadly traps and puzzles. You’ll die, a lot, and you’ll hate yourself and curse your slow reacting remote and cast it to the asinine shadows of your gaming room. However, the fault is not entirely yours, and rarely your remote, as Rive will often give you a multitude of options where only one has a favourable outcome. Usually the options will be time sensitive, such as lava flowing from above and you needing to pick a path. But, if you pick the wrong side of the lava at the start you won’t be punished immediately. No, you will feel the wrath of the creators anywhere between 5 and 20 seconds after your decision.
Rive’s main focus is on twin stick shooting in a platforming environment. This was a new experience to me and, at first, not a favourable one. The backgrounds can sometimes look like ledges and this can create some interesting situations where you are left free falling in a panic looking for something, anything, that could be a possible way out. Aside from my getting to grips with the core mechanics the game is a blast (pun intended). You take command of the spider tank, the vessel of choice for space salvagers it seems as its 360 degree shooting makes it an easy choice for swatting those pesky enemies and asteroids away. The tank is upgradable with weapons, which are bought from within the teleporter room, and hacks, which can be found during your missions.
The weapons themselves are there to offer different, usually more impressive, fire power than your main weapon, the machine gun. Thankfully, there is no ammo limit for your machine gun. Allowing you to re-enact the ‘Battle of Zion’ to your heart’s content.
Hacks are used to take control of the robots and automated systems that can be found as you explore the space structure. Luckily they have been left around, totally coincidentally, the levels for you to find. Usually the basis for missions, you will set off to retrieve these hacks so that you can escape the demented robots lair.
Usually the art style in a twin stick shooter is the last thing on the developer’s mind. They would usually go for old school styling or conversely go for high def super realism. Rive nicely combines a mix of cartoon backgrounds and almost water colour sprites.
Rive gives you 3 different difficulty levels, starting at Hardcore and increasing thereafter – so those seeking a challenge are in for a treat. This was the first alarm bell for me, I am not a fan of learning through corporal punishment and much prefer to learning through mollycoddling and frustration at how easy things get (and subsequently increasing the difficulty). Another way to test your mettle is the leaderboards. You’ll be given a score after each mission that you can test against the rest of the games players. So far I haven’t been higher the 90th.
Two Tribes have described Rive as their best game yet. They have said it is a perfect culmination of their 16 years in games development. It is easy to see why they said this, Rive is fantastic and very approachable. No game involving mechs and the destruction of robots could ever be in my bad books. Aside from the initial impressions of Rive it has never set a foot wrong, and never needed to fight its way into my good books. Twin stick shooters have never been a favourite of mine, with hectic onscreen action and my lazy reactions they never suited my play style. However, Aside from the initial impressions of Rive it has never set a foot wrong, and never needed to fight its way into my good books.With its great look and toned down action, Rive is the twin stick shooter I have been waiting for. Rive is the perfect Swansong for Two Tribes to go out on. It is sad that it is the end, but thank you Two Tribes for making it so good.