Thoughts On River City Girls

I’ve not played any of the previous River City games; I picked this mainly because it’s a WayForward game and I love every game of theirs I’ve played, especially the Shantae series. I also really enjoy a good scrolling beat ‘em up (really need a better name for this genre, “thumper,” maybe?).

I’ve played through the game twice, once with both Misako and Kyoko, and achieved both endings. Here, I present my feelings about the game.


After having completed the game once, my initial thoughts were as follows;

Pros:

  • Bold, colorful graphics with characters full of, well, character

  • Easy to jump into and start punching with moves that are easy to pull off

  • Wonderful music

  • Cool boss fights

Cons:

  • Depending on your tolerance for anime, some of the cut scenes and voice work may irritate.

  • Blocking seems like a lucky dip

  • Some of the unlockable moves feel a bit pointless

  • Can’t switch between girls mid-game (but can do so upon loading up a save)

Having played through a second time, I’d make the following adjustments;

  • The blocking isn’t actually as bad as I first thought. It’s not perfect, but after playing for a while I found you can actually block enemy combos, although it only works about 60% of the time.

  • Some of the weapons you can use are a lot of fun. My favorite was the yo-yo, but I also rather appreciated being able to slap my enemies with a fish. However, just how much extra damage they do is questionable, as it still takes a fair amount of hits for enemies to stay down.

  • Similarly, many of the collectible/ purchasable items didn’t really seem to do enough to make them worthwhile. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part you can take or leave them.

The only boss fight that isn’t fun is Abobo. He will block after your fourth consultative attack without fail, meaning you can’t combo him. And, unless you get out of the way quicksmart he’ll give you a headbutt that will take off a good chunk of health. He also has crazy accurate throwing skills. While he does have a pattern you can learn, it is still a very frustrating fight that tarnishes otherwise wonderful boss encounters.

I appreciated too that the girls both have different fighting styles, so you won’t be able to use the same techniques with both. To add further depth to the game, the two unlockable characters also have varying fighting styles. So lots of re-playability.

All in all, River City Girls is a lot of fun! I didn’t get bored at all, despite both playthroughs being one after the other, and I’ll certainly return to playthrough as the unlockable characters and 100% the game. A lot of heart obviously went into this and for my money it’s one of the best thumpers ( :D ) this side of Streets of Rage.