What better way to start a 2-week self-quarantine than with a bit of nostalgia? Growing up I was a HUGE fan of River City Ransom for the NES. I’ve missed a few American localizations of other titles in the series, but River City Girls was one that I really didn’t want to pass by.
Series mainstays, Kunio and Ricky (Alex and Jack in US titles), have been kidnapped and this time it’s up to their girlfriends, Misako and Kyoko, to rescue them. It’s a classic beat’em up with RPG elements such as purchasable items, tons of awesome unlockable moves, and leveling. RCG also has a killer soundtrack and plenty of easter eggs and nods to other old games in the genre tossed in for good measure.
I often found myself grinning at the girls’ antics as they pummel their way through several districts of River City in hopes of finding clues about what happened to their beloved boys. Along the way, they meet all sorts of quirky characters, bosses, and shop keepers. Misako and Kyoko both play a bit differently but are balanced, so playing one or the other purely comes down to preference.
The only downside of the game is the ending. It’s a bit unsatisfying and confusing to anyone who’s not SUPER into the series as a whole (including games not brought over to the US, something that’s only discovered by finding and defeating the game’s secret boss.) What IS nice is that you can play a New Game+, adding Kunio and Riki as playable characters.
If you’re a fan of old-school beat’em ups, River City Girls is certainly worth your attention. It looks great, plays great, and has plenty of nostalgia to keep you coming back for more.
Can Kid’s Play This Game?
The game is rated E10+ for Fantasy Violence, Language, Suggestive Themes, and Mild Blood. Use your best judgment here when it comes to the kids. The core of the game is centered around violence, though the blood only comes into play with some of the animated character portraits after a boss has been beaten to a pulp. The language is very mild, and the suggestive themes are pretty non-existent except for one or two obscure lines of dialogue.
River City Girls is available digitally from the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Store, Xbox Live, Steam, GOG, and Humble Bundle for $29.99.
This review was written by Rob Kalajian, the founder of A Pawn’s Perspective.
A Steam key for River City Girls was provided free for review by WayForward