Microsoft dropped a ton of games into the already loaded Game Pass during E3 this year. One of those games is Riverbond. As you may already know, I like looking for family-friendly games to play with my younger cousin as well as games I can use to introduce him to mechanics from more challenging genres. I think I might have found one of those titles in this game by Cococumber.
What is RIVERBOND
RIVERBOND is a hack and slash style dungeon crawler in its simplest form. The world around you is made of Voxels, more on this later. I am going to be upfront. This is Gauntlet in a 3d voxel world. You can choose to play this game by yourself or with three other people in drop in/out local co-op. In typical dungeon crawling fashion, the players will travel across levels looking for gear and loot while accomplishing the quest given at the start of the level. This task can change or advance as the level goes on but you will always have only one active quest at a time. Players will battle the standard trash mobs and more powerful enemies along the way. At the end of each level, players will challenge a boss and move on after defeating that levels final boss. This all sounds standard and it is, but the world design is what adds something different to the formula.
Destruction of a World
As mentioned earlier, this game is designed using voxels. This means that almost everything in the environment is destructible. Structures burst into little cubes after being destroyed, as do the enemies. The design of the levels incorporates this as a game mechanic. Players will need to smash down pillars and other structures to reach loot or other items. The player can even use this destructible environment in combat.
Combat in Riverbond is very simple, you slash or shoot. They say that there are over 50 different weapons in the game. There are your basic dungeon crawls weapons in the game. Such as swords maces and spears. But for range weapons, you get good old guns. From laser guns to guns that shoot rainbows. The player can acquire a more traditional bow toward the end of the game. The ranged weapons are not the only weapons that get a level of weirdness. The player will collect items like pencils, popsicle, and a ham leg.
The slashing component is simple, put the target in front of you and spam the button. The shooting, however, is a little more tricky. You will need to fine tune where you are aiming with the right stick. It really can be challenging to get your hits on target until you get the hang of aiming. Each weapon will have varying DPS and Strength to them, but you will never see it displayed. But, you will figure it out quickly while watching the damage numbers pop as you land hits. The weapons aren’t the only variety the game throws at you. You will unlock skins for more characters as you play. Some pretty famous Indie Heroes even make an appearance.
Players will be able to find and unlock 8 unique skins from other loved Indie Games. They include:
- Raz (Psychonauts)
- Shovel Knight (Shovel Knight)
- Bullet Kin (Enter the Gungeon)
- Juan (Guacamelee!)
- Lover Mu (Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime)
- Demelza (Knights and Bikes)
- Robot 05 (Planet of the Eyes)
- The Kid (Bastion)
As I said in the intro. This was a great game to introduce my younger cousin to RPG style game mechanics. I was able to explain DPS and concepts such as clearing adds in boss fights. With the game being simple it allowed for him to explore and try the things we were talking about.
When I say simple, I’m not knocking the game. It still uses RPG mechanics that are a mainstay to all RPG’s. The developers made sure to add these to the game so it was not just a run and gun till the end. Yes, most of the game is like that, but they make sure to add sections where you need somewhat of a strategy.
This game was fun for my cousin and me. I got my wife to try it and she enjoyed it also. I was even talking to a friend on Twitter and he enjoyed it and is getting his kids to play it now. Anything to get them off Fortnite. So grab this game if you have Game Pass.
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GamerDad181 “That is all, game on!”