Riverbond is a colourful dungeon crawler with ‘shoot and slash’ combat that sees you working your way through eight different adventures, each with their own theme and different collection of enemies. Everything you see in the voxel environment (other than the ground itself) can be completely demolished with a few swipes of your sword, it is particularly satisfying as you hack your way across levels, but also beneficial as you’ll find hidden health potions and coins amongst the rubble – and maybe even a secret location or two…
Combat in Riverbond is something you will pick up almost instantly, press square to hit things, circle to dodge and use the D-pad to swap between your equipped weapons. The levels can be played in any order, but as you work your way down the list the enemies become more abundant, more aggressive and much, much bigger. While there is very little in the way of difficulty, I did find myself dying more in the later levels (damn you, ranged enemies!) – there are bosses at the end of each adventure, these are made up of a large ‘boss’ and lots of little annoying adds, for the most part, you can just kite them around the arena using a ranged weapon to chip away at the bosses health – just don’t get caught on the environment!
There are chests littered throughout the levels that will either grant you a new weapon or a new skin. While the skins are a permanent fixture, the weapons will only last until you leave your current adventure, so don’t get too attached. The character skins vary from food items (a box of popcorn being my go-to), anthropomorphised animals, and even some characters you might recognise from other franchises – shovel knight anybody? The weapons are just as weird and wonderful – guns that shoot bees, ice-lollies fashioned into polearms and even ‘downvote’ symbols you can dual-wield to devastating effect. Not only do the weapons have a multitude of different skins, but each also has their own weapon types with varying damage and attack animations.
Personally, one run through of Riverbond for me is enough – I loved the game and don’t regret any time spent playing – however, should you particularly enjoy a challenge, after each adventure you are given a score- the culmination of the number of coins you have collected, bolstered with the amount of time it takes you to finish- and should you fancy another jaunt through the game, you can jump back in to try and beat your high score.
I personally preferred playing Riverbond solo for two reasons, first and foremost, I do not want somebody coming in and stealing my coins, thank you very much. Secondly, the later levels can feel a little hectic as it is, enemies and attacks flying around all over the place, adding in another player just serves to add to the mayhem. This, however, is a very me thing, for pretty much everyone else wanting to play this game co-op they’ll have a whale of a time – I just don’t play well with others.
Your time in Riverbond may not be extensive, it will, however, be awash with colour, combat and crazy characters. Games don’t have to last weeks to be wildly fun, and this is a perfect example, I managed to complete the game – platinum included – in an afternoon but I had an absolutely wonderful time doing it.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*