PAX West 2019: Riverbond

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 3 years since I last played Riverbond. The last time, it was in the PAX Rising section of PAX West, and I sort of stumbled upon it. Then I compared it to voxel Zelda, and that’s still pretty accurate, but it’s very much come into its own since then. There’s a definite quirky vibe to the game, and despite the voxel art, there’s a ton of complexity and personality in the game. That’s conveyed by the foes you face, the people you meet and the characters you play. You’ll unlock a ton of avatars as you progress, and in the demo I played the stalwart doughnut, while my partner went with some sort of fruit. Yes, it’s silly, and yes I don’t mind at all. There’s a lighthearted yet challenging vibe to Riverbond, and frankly I dig it.

RIverbond | Switch

What I probably didn’t compare Riverbond to before was Minecraft, and though that’s an unavoidable comparison, it’s also a pretty thin one. Both are very different genres, and I much prefer the light ARPG adventure genre to mindlessly mining and crafting. Though I do like how you can disassemble the component cubes of anything in the game with enough brute force. There’s a lot of weapons at your disposal to do so with. I started out with a gun, which was cool for its long range, but woefully inadequate for close counters, of which there were a lot. Once I found a chest with dual wielding daggers, I started slicing and dicing foes with wicked glee. This made it even more fun to tear into angry mushrooms which hurled explosive caps, cruel fish, flying skeletal beasts and more.

Riverbond | Sashimi

Normally I’m not a fan of games that tend to focus on multiplayer, but Riverbond is a lot of fun with a friend. But if that’s not your style, there’s also a single player campaign. If that wasn’t enough, there’s tons of cameo characters from other indies, such as Shovel Knight, Bastion and Guacamelee! I’m really happy I got to see how much Riverbond has grown in 3 years, and cannot wait to play it on my Nintendo Switch. Thankfully, nobody is left out, since it’s also available on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. I think developer Cococucumber has a hit on their hands, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same once you’ve tried it.

Riverbond | Avatars

About Josh Speer

Josh is a passionate gamer, finding time to clock in around 30-40 hours of gaming a week. He discovered Operation Rainfall while avidly following the localization of the Big 3 Wii RPGs. He enjoys SHMUPS, Platformers, RPGs, Roguelikes and the occasional Fighter. He’s also an unashamedly giant Mega Man fan, having played the series since he was eight. As Head Editor and Review Manager, he spends far too much time editing reviews and random articles. In his limited spare time he devours indies whole and anticipates the release of quirky, unpredictable and innovative games.