• Developer: Way Forward
  • Platforms: PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One
  • Price: $29.99
  • Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
  • Review Code Provided: Yes

Way Forward (developers of Shantae) have brought a new entry on the River City franchise (Kunio-Kun in Japan) with a slight twist, this time it’s the girls time to show who’s boss on this city full of thugs ready to beat your ass.

River City Girls is an isometric 2d beat-em up game where you play as Kyoko and Misako (either solo or co-op) in a quest to find their kidnapped boyfriends, Kunio and Riki.

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Dont need a reason to throw punches

The game doesn’t have the most deep narrative, but most games in the genre don’t. The premise is set up quickly so that you can start hitting people in the face as quick as possible.

Kyoko and Misako have one mission: finding their boyfriends and deliver a knuckle sandwich to whoever did it.

A game with personality

Despite the simple story, there’s fun characters left and right to make up for it. Kyoko and Misako have a great dinamyc between each other and you know everytime there’s a dialog between them you’ll get a smile from their banter.

Not only the protagonists, both the bosses and the various characters you meet throughout the game alll have personalities that bright up the game as a whole. Specially the bosses, which all have backstories and fully animated intro scenes.

Did i mention all characters have voice acting?

The graphic style just makes everything pop up and feels colorful and alive. The stages feel like actual landmarks and all the characters are very expressive.

Every animation is fluid, colorful and impactful. Even when the screen is very busy you can notice everything that’s happening and it’s just a visual spectacle once you start unlocking all the moves and enemies the game offers.

The soundtrack is a bit jarring at first but once you get used to it, it gives the game a different flavor their genre counterparts don’t have, and the change between pop-synth and vocal tracks makes every new song enjoyable and memorable.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

The gameplay is simple, you got 4 types of attacks: normal, heavy, grab and special. At the start of the game you only have a normal and a heavy attack, by defeating enemies you get money and you can use it on Dojos to unlock new moves.

Everytime you die, the room you’re currently in gets restarted and your money gets cut to half. In Co-Op, there’s a small time where your partner can revive you with no money punishment.

The gameplay is one of the best part of the game. Altho its simple, juggling enemies (specially in Co-Op) is super fun and the hard difficulty doesn’t let you slack off or else you’ll die a lot.

Big Bad Bosses

Each zone is guarded by a final boss which you gotta beat to move to the next part of the game.

The bosses are by far the best part od the game. Each boss has 3 phases and have unique attacks between each other, in addition to intro scenes that makes each one of them unique.

But there could be more

This is the part of the review where i nitpick the minor inconveniences this game has.

Customization in this game is lacking, there’s not a lot of equipment and you can get by (even on Hard) without using any equipment.

Food shops are more valuable since the consumables you buy from them can restore your health and give stat boosts.

There’s backtracking to do on each zone and although it’s not annoying on most of the game, the last zones felt like blatant filler when you’re asked to backtrack for items.

Final Verdict

Clocking at about 10 hours (without finishing New Game+), River City Girls is a fun beat-em up that keeps you entertained all the way through and leaves you with wanting to play more.

Music, animation and visuals complement the game and makes it stand out thanks to it’s bright style and coloring.

9/10

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