River City Girls 2

River City Girls 2

Don't confuse them with the ladies in Venice.

River City Girls 2

History shows that 2019 was going to be the year Street of Rage makes its return with a bang, as fans finally got hands on with the 4th instalment of the series, but it was also the year WayForward threw the cat right amongst the pigeons with River City Girls.  A retro inspired side scrolling brawler that was a spin-off from the legendary Kunio-kun series that gave Street of Rage 4 a real run for its money.  Now four years on WayForward has just released a sequel to their outstanding brawler, which is surprisingly called… River City Girls 2.

We re-join our fiery teen heroines Kyoko and Misako – who must defeat the big bad from this first game… once again.  These Yakuza bad asses are back with a vengeance and have taken over not only the school, but also most of the girl’s favourite hangout spots too.  It’s a so-so foundation of a tale which is light, but enough for the duo to burst back into action and get things fixed the only way they know how… with a shower of fists and kicks.  Though to be fair the overall level of writing on display in River City Girls 2 is sharp and quite fun with more than a few one liners that will have you laughing out loud along the way.  Let’s be honest River City Girls 2 is all about arcade brawling thrills and this instalment doesn’t drop that ball.  You get to pick your character at the start, choosing from Kyoko and Misako as well as their boyfriends Kunio and Riki, plus newcomers Marian and Provie.  Combat like the first game starts out a bit simple and dare we say it… button spammy in ways.  Until you start unlocking new and more powerful moves, this is where you really start to see the true core of the game and its addictive combo-fuelled action as there are a LOT of moves to unlock.

For the most part your ever growing move list is also very easy to pull off, with moves being more often than not, a direction and a mix of light or heavy attacks to pull off the desired move.  Also worth noting is that each character has a focus and strength of their own when it comes to fighting, so Kyoko is great at air attacks, whereas Misako is better at defensive attacks.  Playing around with which best suits you is key, but also remember you can play in co-op, and your mix of fighters also comes into play here as well, as you beat your way through some really interesting and colourful bad guys – most of them paying some sort of homage to Kunio-kun series in some ways.  Plus like the first game you can recruit enemies you fight to join you, which add a sort of assist move, when things get a bit too hot.  Though this time round there are also a number of NPCs you can recruit to save you a bit of time, with having to defeat them first.  When not getting your fists bloody, you’ll be able to find a number of side missions to get suck into.  These range from busting ghosts to playing dodgeball and these distractions help to break up the action just enough, to stop it from getting to repetitive over its eight or so hour run time.

There are also a healthy number of different shops once again you can visit, to spend your hard earned cash on buffs and boosts, as the overall map of River City Girls 2 is bigger than the first game, seeing you battle from fish markets and train yards, but the world is so big it brings in a fair bit of backtracking as well.  Visually the game is STUNNING once again mixing a chunky pixel art style with buttery smooth animation, which is all set to highly detailed backdrops.  Soundtrack wise Megan McDuffee smashes it out the park here blending genres and dishing out truly thumping beats that really get you fired up.

River City Girls 2 is an amazing follow up to one of the best brawlers in recent years, packed with detail and has a mirror like level of polish.  Yes it can get a bit samey, as do all side scrolling beat ‘em ups in ways… but this is a must play.

An Xbox review copy of River City Girls 2 was provided by WayForward’s PR team, and the game is available now on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch and PC for around £40 depending on platform.

The Verdict


The Good: Combat | Visuals | Soundtrack

The Bad: World is maybe a little too big | Final battle is a bit too much of a grind

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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