Backed right into a nook by curtains of laser hearth, I hop and twist, curling my pictures and grinding foes into nuts and bolts. After hacking a help drone to usher in some additional muscle to the combat, I battle my method out and proceed my maelstrom of destruction. These moments are widespread in Rive, and so they’re emblematic of how the sport melds sharp design and difficult encounters to reinvigorate the shoot-em-up style. It is a chaotic recreation backed by explosive motion, snarky cracks, and an affection for the ridiculous.
You play as a no-name, space-salvaging badass in a strong spider tank. It’s an armored, all-terrain machine with a large machine gun for its fundamental weapon. As you progress, you’ll earn extra upgrades like new weapons and armor, plus some devices that allow you to take management of every thing from turrets to trains.
At first, you stumble throughout a gargantuan derelict vessel prepared for plunder. However, after all, there is a catch: As you discover, you’re accosted by numerous drones and bots programmed to place you down. You will be taught to shoot, transfer, and use another fundamental abilities, however then Rive situationally limits how can use your newfound skills by forcing you right into a nook or right into a zero-g bubble. These moments are as tense as boss battles, asking you to make the most of your abilities in novel methods, all whereas underneath the duress of fixed, high-energy motion.
Regardless of that, Rive hardly ever feels overwhelming. It is intense and taxing, nevertheless it does not typically really feel prefer it’s asking an excessive amount of. It is common these days to herald tough video games as intrinsically “good,” however that development belies that truth that there is a tenuous steadiness between issue and frustration. Rive is difficult, however even should you die, you possibly can immediately soar again into the motion. You by no means lose greater than about 30 seconds of progress, and loss of life does not drain assets or knock down your general rating. The sport consists of loads of powerful spots, nevertheless it doesn’t take too lengthy to acclimate to the problem and wriggle by way of.
Alongside the best way, you will discover some moderately unusual locales, given that almost all of the sport takes place on a spaceship. Between big lava lakes, oceans, zero-G bubbles, and the like, Rive offers you loads of playgrounds to discover. Every space is vivid, colourful and gorgeously animated. Creatures skitter alongside the ground whereas lights and backgrounds hum with life. That is all window dressing, positive, however every degree can be distinct, presenting new units of challenges each couple of minutes.
One of many few strong knocks in opposition to Rive comes from its protagonist. He is bought all of the corn and cheese of classics like Duke Nukem (with out the crass misogyny). He has all of the character of a brick, and solely a few his jokes hit their mark. It is a unusual addition that does not appear obligatory given the sport’s deal with motion over storytelling, and is borderline cringeworthy.
Rive is demanding, nevertheless it pushes the form of near-thoughtless play that shoot-em-ups try to attain. When confronted with an onslaught of enemies and environmental hazards, you will should suppose quick or die. Rive additionally does not run all that lengthy, however what’s right here is superb, top-notch motion, and the sport delivers a number of the most memorable moments in a shoot-em-up in years.
Editor’s notice: After a number of further hours of testing, GameSpot has up to date the rating to mirror the Change model of Rive: Final Version. The brand new model of the sport consists of further score-based modes, efficiency optimization, and a co-pilot mode the place two gamers can individually management the tank’s motion and assaults. – Nov. 27, 2017, eight:00 AM PT