River City Girls is one of those games that becomes an absolute darling in the modern era of gaming right out the gate. It’s in the same category as Shovel Knight with how people went insane over it online… Though it is developed by ArcSys and WayForward, it still has a distinctly indie feel to it, and I think it’s because of the audience they were making this game for. But does it stand up to all the hype?

Yeh. It does.

The game is a spin-off of those old River City Ransom games where you play just a bunch of mad lads beating people up on the streets. I don’t really know my River City history, but I believe Kunio and Riki are the protagonists for some of the later games.

In River City Girls you play as Misako and Kyoko, who are Kunio and Riki’s girlfriends! They are just as badass as those dudes, and apparently the boys have been kidnapped, so it’s up to their gals to save em’.

River City Girls is a beat em’ up, semi-open world game that has a main storyline with a bunch of branching side quests, and a pretty huge map to explore. You’ll be meeting new characters and learning new moves to kick ass and you’ll never get bored of it.

The fighting in this game is pretty standard until you hit the dojo and use your hard-earned cash on moves to absolutely rock your opponents. Two of the best moves in the games are a dab for Kyoko and a goddamn powerful haymaker from Misako… But yes, learning new moves brings much-needed depth to the beat em’ up a genre that’ll make sure you can play in your very own style.

You’re gonna need those moves, too, since this game doesn’t mess around. It can be pretty darn challenging without being extremely punishing though. It rides a fine line that’ll have you dying a bunch of times but being really satisfied when you get through a tough section!

One cool feature in the game is when you beat up everyone in the room until one enemy is remaining, you can recruit them to join your side – There’s a little collection you can start since all the enemies have unique designs with multiple colour variations.

Besides kicking ass you’ll be doing fetch quests while kicking ass, fighting unique bosses while kicking ass, and just exploring the city for collectables while kicking ass, and they’re all handled really well without getting stale. Well, maybe the humour is a little stale, but I’m a stinky goblin man who laughs at the worst things imaginable; it just misses more than it hits for me, but it’s still really charming.

The best things about this game are the visuals and the music though. You have an insanely fluid and beautiful pixel art style along with crazy good backgrounds and character portraits, not to mention fully animated cutscenes – The character designs are all fantastic and it’s just complete eye candy. The music is just insane too! You have absolute bangers every single screen you go through, not to mention the amazing songs with lyrics in the background while you pummel dudes to the ground. It’s just complete synth-pop goodness.

Playing multiplayer in this game is also a real treat since the combat is just so fun, and teaming up against bosses and almost breaking the game trying to do insane combos is always a treat in any game.

I’m completely in love with this game and it’s definitely one of the best 2D beat em’ ups I’ve played in years. If you want something anime as all hell but still super western, something with rad combat, amazing music and visuals then pick this game up ASAP.

I’m giving River City Girls a:

9.0 / 10

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