'River City Girls' is a side-scrolling beat 'em up that is the latest addition to the River City Saga, which begin in 1989 with the NES classic 'River City Ransom'. While I love side-scrolling beat 'em ups, I am particularly fond of the River City games, as they incorporate a non-linear play style as opposed to the linear, level based format most games of the genre are known for.
While it is part of a series that includes Xbox available titles 'Renegade', 'River City Ransom' and 'Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san!: A River City Ransom Story', there are more games in the series that haven't had official U.S releases. This may cause a bit of confusion to anyone trying to follow the storyline or character arcs for these games. However, fans of Super Smash Bros. may recognize the characters Kunio and Riki from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Anyways, River City Girls centers around best friends Kyoko and Misako who have just received a text that their boyfriends (the aforementioned Kunio and Riki) have been kidnapped. The girls must now cut class and bash their way through River City to save the loves of their life.
The game incorporates manga-style storytelling along with some witty, tongue-in-cheek dialogue that pokes fun of the absurdity of the game's 'fight everyone you see' gameplay.
While some male gamers may be put off by the game's silly, 'girly' nature, the game is challenging, interesting, fun and funny, regardless of how manly you are. It also sports a rocking soundtrack including many fully composed songs (complete with vocals) from the game's resident pop star, Noize. The soundtrack definitely helps immerse the gamer into the world of River City.
After the company Technos (known for both the River City and Double Dragon franchises) went out business, Arc System Works purchased the rights to all of their properties. As a result, fans of the Double Dragon series will be in for a surprise as they will see many familiar faces. While some classic Double Dragon enemies such as Linda and Abobo have larger roles, you will see cameos from Billy and Jimmy. There is even a special appearance from Double Dragon Neon's main villain, Skullmageddon.
While the campaign is not particularly long, the level-up system awards players for exploring, boosting experience and stocking up on items. Even after beating the game, you can either wander around River City, mopping up collectibles and achievements, or start a New Game+ for a bit of extra challenge. Regardless, the repetitive beat 'em gameplay never seems to stale.
While it is an overall awesome experience, I was hesitant on purchasing it due to it's hefty price tag ($30). While I was waiting for it to go on sale, there was a surprise announcement that it was coming to Game Pass. Not just the Xbox One version either, but the Win 10 stack as well. So, those with a Game Pass subscription can double the fun and save $60.
For a genuinely fun and addicting game with a retro feel, I give this game a solid 4/5 stars.