September 15, 2019 6:03 PM   Subscribe

River City Girls Is Like River City Ransom But With Girls [Kotaku] “For decades, old-school beat-em up fans have been following the adventures of River City Ransom heroes Kunio and Riki, a pair of high school tough guys with a knack for rescuing their girlfriends from thugs. Wayforward’s River City Girls turns that tired formula on its head. It’s an utterly charming old-school brawler where the girlfriends get to rescue the boys, and lord have mercy on anyone who gets in their way. [...] It’s mainly River City Girl’s style that sets it apart from its progenitors. This River City is bright, colorful, and modern, peppered with fashion plate background characters deftly dodging errant attacks. Boss battles are introduced with gorgeous animated cutscenes, while flashbacks are presented as black and white manga volumes.” [YouTube][Game Trailer]

• River City Girls: A Girls' Fight Out [Nintendo Life]
“The Kunio-kun series has been around for more than three decades in Japan, delivering a steady stream of quality titles mostly featuring its trademark art style: chunky characters with big heads. Some of the games made it to the west under various guises – Renegade, Super Dodge Ball, Crash ‘n The Boys, Nintendo World Cup and the like – but arguably the most notable entry made it to our shores as Street Gangs in Europe, and River City Ransom in North America. As the name suggests, River City Girls is a spin-off of that game, and it’s absolutely superb. Actually, it’s more a spin-off of the Japan-only Super Famicom entry Shin Nekketsu Kōha: Kunio-tachi no Banka, because that was a fighting game that let you play as the two protagonists here. But nobody likes a show-off – especially one who spouts out Japanese game names as if they didn’t copy and paste them off the internet to get the spelling right – so let’s not focus too much on that. The point is that River City Girls stars Misako and Kyoko, the girlfriends of River City Ransom’s heroes Kunio and Riki.”
• Girls just wanna fight kun [Destructoid]
“Since the 1986 release of Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (or Renegade), this long-running franchise has kept the spirit of the street brawler alive for generations. Indeed, this week sees the release of brand new entry River City Girls, developed by Shantae helmers WayForward Games. But, some 33 years since Kunio-kun's debut, is there still a place for the humble brawler in 2019? [...] River City Girls isn't a brawler in the Streets of Rage/Final Fight sense: a linear arcade game where players progress through a series of left-to-right stages. Nor is it an RPG in a literal sense. The truth lies somewhere between these two genres. In River City Girls, one or two players (local co-op only) brawl their way through an ever-expanding map, battling through various locations such as a school, a shopping mall, a fairground, a scrapyard and so on, all housed within the city's six zones. Enemies respawn in these locations constantly, and occasionally players will be "locked" into a screen until a throng of baddies are defeated. Kyoko and Misako travel back and forth across these zones, speaking with allies, completing side quests and gathering info, all in valiant efforts to find Kunio and Riki.”
• There's Substance in this Style [US Gamer]
“The start of River City Girls feels like deja vu. Kyoko and Misako, this entry's heroines, are sitting idly in detention when they get a text that their boyfriends have been kidnapped. It's a charming nod to the original River City Ransom, which kicks off with Riki's girlfriend Mami being kidnapped and sends Kunio and Riki on a mission to beat up gangs across the city to get to her back. River City Girls is a role reversal, with Kyoko and Misako on their own journey to save them. And River City has never been a more lively place. The shopkeepers are buff or otherwise intimidating, and eager to sell you anything from avocado toast to med kits to boost your health. On every street, everyone from Terminator look-a-likes to cheerleaders want to rumble and tumble with you. It's all soundtracked by electronic and bubbly pop music. And most importantly, the sprite work on Kyoko, Misako, and everyone they encounter is astounding. River City Girls' anime-inspired art direction is a delight, and sets a sunny tone for the entire game—even if I found the writing to be largely pretty grating. (I'm sorry, I'm allergic to internet humor.)”
posted by Fizz (12 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I would buy this right now but it's not on GOG and nowhere on GOG's upcoming releases despite the publisher saying it'll be available there, except that the release page doesn't mention GOG at all. Oh well, looks really cool! I'll wait.
posted by glonous keming at 6:26 PM on September 15, 2019

Been looking forward to this since it was teased a while back and totally forgot it hit. Can't wait to do a little couch co-op with it!

The original for the NES is still one of the best 2-player beat-em-ups ever made. It has aged incredibly well IMO.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:58 PM on September 15, 2019 [3 favorites]

It's so fucked up that playing a game as a girl or a woman is considered groundbreaking in the industry.

Setting that bit of awfulness aside, the game is a joy to play. It suffers a bit early on with some repetitive button mashing gameplay but if you can push past that for an hour or two, you'll finally get to the more RPG like nature of the game and some fun abilities are unlocked and the game becomes something else.

A few reviewers have mentioned how this is a game that takes some time to really open up. I agree, you get out of it, what you put in. It's not for everyone and I could see how some might grow bored of all the mashing of buttons.

It's also just beautiful to be inside of. The pixel art us gorgeous and it's so bright and vivid. You don't ever want to leave this world.
posted by Fizz at 6:14 AM on September 16, 2019

This is very exciting!

The Kunio-kun genre is maybe my favorite for gaming (is it a genre? I think of it as one - any street brawler with RPG elements is right in my wheelhouse). River City Ransom changed my goddamn world when I played it.

I appreciate that developers are riffing on it too - this looks like a blast, and I'll be downloading it as soon as I'm home tonight!

Did anybody check out "Friends of Ringo Ishikawa"? Also a riff on this style of game, with a just devastating storyline.
posted by rocketman at 7:24 AM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Did anybody check out "Friends of Ringo Ishikawa"? Also a riff on this style of game,

I've read some reviews and it looks intriguing. It also feels deeply personal and looks to tackle mental health. Haven't yet picked it up, but the art-style for FoRI looks similarly gorgeous.
posted by Fizz at 7:48 AM on September 16, 2019

This game is fantastic. It's just pure fun.

This seems like the place to ask this, and I don't think it's a spoiler but just in case...


Is there a key somewhere for the in-game map? I can't find one and I'm having trouble figuring out what the icons on the map mean. Some of the areas have dollar signs on them, which I think means they contain shops? But one of them now has this thing that looks like a crumpled red ball, or maybe a rose. Anyone know what that is?
posted by Sangermaine at 7:53 AM on September 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I would buy this right now but it's not on GOG and nowhere on GOG's upcoming releases despite the publisher saying it'll be available there, except that the release page doesn't mention GOG at all.

This write up for the release says versions coming to GOG and Humble Bundle at a later date. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long.

RCR was and is one of my favourite games. I've been disappointed in the follow-ups so far, but this one looks good!
posted by ODiV at 11:27 AM on September 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I want to play this game so bad. Unfortunately "wait a year or two and scoop it up on discount" is my standard strategy.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:32 AM on September 16, 2019

It's cheaper than a lot of other new games if that helps!
posted by ODiV at 11:33 AM on September 16, 2019

This looks amazing but where are the 76 trombones?
posted by sugar and confetti at 1:33 PM on September 16, 2019

omg omg omg omg omg

rocketmiss and I played this until laaaaaaaaate last night. It's so much fun! Great soundtrack, great visual art, and co-op mode is a blast. The difficulty *feels* just right for this kind of game.


When your friend dies on screen, you can revive her by stomping her spirit back in her body lol this game is a riot.

Thank you so much for posting this, Fizz!
posted by rocketman at 6:44 AM on September 17, 2019

River City Girls is now available on GOG and Humble.
posted by ODiV at 11:01 AM on October 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

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