System: Xbone, PC
Release Date: TBA
We first saw Riverbond during the Microsoft press conference and honestly did not give it much of a thought as it appeared at first glance to be just another attempt at an overly simple voxel game. Our impression did not change much either when we randomly stumbled onto the single demo screen that it took up in the entire Microsoft exhibition area. That all changed though as soon as we picked up the controllers and started playing. I am not sure what exactly changed but within just minute or two of play the three of us were laughing and yelling enough to make the developer with us concerned for our sanity.
This is four player drop in/drop out cooperative game that is a cross between Gauntlet and Minecraft with very simple controls that consisted of attack, ranged attack, special attack, pick up/throw, block and jump. The game appears to be light-hearted adventure through various maps with both indoor dungeons and outdoor environments. You and you friends slash your way through more than 100 levels, interacting and destroying everything in your path. In our case this included, trees, grass, stone pillars, chickens, ghost spiders, bookcases and the occasional giant flaming pillar. Weapon upgrades are obtained throughout the game and we were told that eventually there will be up to 50 weapons.
The combat was easy to pick up and learn while at the same time being complex enough that I think that veteran gamers will be able to stay engaged and happy for quite a long time. I think it was the simplicity of the combat as a whole that is what made this game so great. There was no need to get used to the controls, we just picked up and played and were able to focus on the game without getting lost in the mechanics of this. This is why I chose this game as my “Game Of The Show” for E3 2017. It hit all the marks for me. Family friendly, easily accessible and endlessly playable in any environment.
One additional note on this, the developer indicated when asked what platform this would be available indicated that this would only be on Xbox and when pressed on the possibility of other consoles in the future he replied no comment. Myself and the EFG staff look forward to seeing more of this game as it becomes available to the public.