It's rare to get an awesome preview for a sci-fi game, since many developers are paranoid about what die-hard gamers will think about it before it drops onto a system. And that's perfectly understandable, as geeks will tear shit apart for random reasons. So when we do get to try out a game and aren't under the pressure to review it, it's a damn splendid time to kick back and have much more fun, without having to look through the analytical lens
. This time, I received a copy of the game RIVE
from Two Tribes
, a badass sci-fi shoot
'em up that will be coming to PS4 and Steam on Sept. 13.
The game starts you off immediately in danger as your character—the equivalent of a space trucker—awakens to find himself in the middle of an asteroid field. After blowing away the debris, we find ourselves on board a space station, where you must navigate through the tunnels in your pod. The station is in dire need of repair, but that's not really what you're here to do, as you quickly discover you're more of a scavenger than a savior. You'll collect items as you make your way through the broken system and try to find a way off.
I was super stoked at the idea of having this kind of SHMUP that takes you through the character's own storyline, and not some grander plan. You're just here because of some circumstances, and you just need to get the hell out.
The gameplay in RIVE
is pretty sound, as you're given a double analog movement to get around and fight. You have the ability to fly around in zero-gravity, or walk around with tiny spider legs using the left controller. The right controller serves as your gun, and wherever you aim it is where it fires with unlimited standard ammo. You have the ability to find new kinds of ammo throughout the levels and are able to buy upgrades to your pod that includes better shielding and the ability to pick up nuts and bolts, which serve as the currency in this game. You also have a hacking laser which you can use on certain bots
and terminals on every stage that will help you get around, and even heal yourself.
The preview of the game only gave me a single option for everything: Hard. So maneuvering around and dealing with hordes of enemies quickly became a test of skill and endurance. There are times I got pissed, but I was brought back to near where I died to give it another shot, so that made everything much more awesome.
The graphics for the game are smooth and well-animated, as if you've been tossed into the world of a studio making a 3D film on a 2D level. Enemies and challenges are smooth, and fit nicely into the vacuum of space that's been created for you. The music complements the action you face, as you go from an ethereal synth track to a hard beating combat rock track in an instant when your situation changes. There are very few flaws in the presentation, and the game totally embraces the vibe of humanity being spread across the galaxy still doing what they would do on earth, only on a universal scale. Even Joe Schmoe is a spaceman collecting garbage, and it couldn't be any cooler to pick up trash.
The preview I got to play didn't go very far into any kind of story, but from what I was able to jump into, it looks like Two Tribes has got a decent hit on its hands. RIVE
has got some heart and humor, which is seriously needed these days when games of this type take themselves too seriously. If you're looking for a new SHMUP, sci-f title or just action shooter, this is one to keep an eye on when it pops out in three weeks.