River Metropolis Women was a shock hit for me when it launched in 2019. That sport completely blended stable beat ‘em up mechanics with mild RPG mechanics, all wrapped up in a beautiful bubblegum pop aesthetic. River Metropolis Women 2 takes every part I beloved from the primary sport and gives just a bit bit extra.

Kyoko, Misako, and their boyfriends return in River Metropolis Women 2 to beat up the Yakuza which have taken over their city. Whether or not taking part in alone or in 4 participant co-op, you choose your favourite character and punch your means by way of every stage to take down a number of Yakuza bosses starting from wizards to social media influencers to a very spicy movie star chef.

Along with a colourful forged of villains, River Metropolis Women 2 gives a collection of 6 playable characters. The forged from the primary sport returns, however there are two additions, Marian (of Double Dragon fame) and Provie, a brand new authentic character. I beloved Marian’s design on this sport and performed as her for the majority of my playthrough. Characters you aren’t utilizing stage up within the background, so you may swap up your play model as usually as you need.

Every playable character has a novel transfer set, together with mild assaults, heavy assaults, grabs, and particular assaults. New assaults may be unlocked in shops or by leveling up your character. There’s a stunning quantity of depth right here. Taking part in round with launchers, floor assaults, and particular maneuvers may also help you string collectively very lengthy combos. Don’t be intimidated in case you aren’t eager about high-execution combos as a result of the sport is straightforward sufficient that the majority gamers will have the ability to get by mashing buttons.

Marian brawling in River City Girls 2.
Every part of the map has distinctive enemies and environmental hazards

The sport takes a lightweight tone and is heavy on the jokes, which is an effective alternative given the kooky premise. I discovered the script humorous general, although often grating when a pair jokes in a row didn’t land. You shouldn’t anticipate a riveting story or character examine, however do anticipate a number of laughs from River Metropolis Women 2. 

River Metropolis Women 2  can also be stuffed with references to different beat ‘em ups, WayForward video games, and the Kunio-kun collection. This sport looks like a love letter to all the opposite video games that impressed the builders once you run into characters just like the Double Dragon brothers at dojos across the map.

The brand new playable characters had been a few of my favourite additions to River Metropolis Women 2, although their implementation within the story leaves a bit to be desired. As a substitute of incorporating all six characters into the story, you solely hear from two at a time. One is the character you might be taking part in as, and the opposite is one which you can select by way of the settings menu. In consequence, you hardly ever see the characters work together as a bunch, which is disappointing. 

On a brighter be aware, all my favourite NPCs from the primary River Metropolis Women sport return within the sequel, principally performing as facet quest givers. Facet quests are a lot improved in River Metropolis Women 2. As a substitute of being solely combat-centric, facet quests usually contain brief minigames that add some selection to the gameplay. The minigames are all effectively carried out and by no means overstay their welcome. There’s an enormous selection right here as effectively, with minigames starting from rhythm video games to dodgeball battles.

A weightlifting minigame in River City Girls 2.
Minigames assist guarantee the sport doesn’t develop into too repetitive.

Along with minigames, there may be quite a lot of collectibles to distract from brawling. Every full assortment is rewarded with new content material, objects, or expertise. Followers of collectathons will admire that there are a number of totally different collections, in contrast to the one assortment within the first sport.

The combating in River Metropolis Women 2 is as glorious because it was within the first sport. It’s commonplace beat ‘em up fare right here as enemies wander in from the edges of the display so that you can wallop along with your character’s talents or by choosing up a weapon. Weapons felt good initially of the sport, however as soon as my stats had elevated a bit, I discovered myself relying extra on common assaults, which let you string longer combos collectively.

River Metropolis Women 2 isn’t tough, however different enemy sorts and environmental hazards forestall you from turning your mind off fully. You’ll should be careful for ranged assaults, explosives, and enemies that leap across the display. The sport throws in additional sophisticated and harder enemies because it progresses, so that you’ll see all kinds of characters and assaults by the point the credit roll.

One in every of River Metropolis Women 2’s extra distinctive options is enemy recruitment. In the event you see an enemy assault that you simply like, you may get them to hitch your facet and use their assault your self. You may recruit as much as two enemies at a time to help you in fight. On the press of a button, the previous foe will swoop in and carry out their particular assault.

Patty Wagon's shop in River City Girls 2.
The outlets are stuffed with humorous jokes and references.

Recruitable enemies add a ton of enjoyable and depth to the gameplay. You may choose an enemy that may allow you to prolong your combos, one which provides a ranged assault to your repertoire, or only one you just like the look of. Any means you slice it, recruitable enemies allow you to personalize your play model. I had a blast experimenting with each new enemy I discovered.

Gamers may also personalize their River Metropolis Women 2 expertise utilizing equipment and meals. Equipment are items of kit with quite a lot of results. Some make the sport simpler, others change the foundations of fight, and a few arguably make the sport tougher. You may have two geared up at any time, so which of them you employ needs to be primarily based on the way you prefer to play the sport. I beloved utilizing particular assaults and weapons, so I selected an adjunct that made my particular gauge fill sooner and one other that made my weapons explode when thrown.

Meals additionally performs an vital position in River Metropolis Women 2. Many outlets promote consumables that restore well being. Every distinctive consumable has a stat related to it that’s completely elevated the primary time you eat it. This acts not directly as a problem slider. Gamers can search out each retailer and purchase each consumable to maximise their stats or keep away from meals if they need a larger problem. 

All of the meals, equipment, and recruits will probably be important for taking over River Metropolis’s most harmful bosses. Bosses all have a novel theme and combating model that helps make each memorable. My favourite was the chef boss, who spends a lot of the struggle chucking knives at you to dodge. Most bosses have three phases, which observe a sample of the boss performing a sequence of assaults you want to dodge earlier than you could have an opportunity to do some injury to them. Whereas this could really feel formulaic, it’s enjoyable in search of further openings the place you may sneak some further injury in with a particular assault or with a long-range weapon just like the yo-yo.

A comic-book-style cutscene in River City Girls 2. The girls talk to Ken the Yakuza member.
The comic-book-style cutscenes go well with the sport’s tone and add to the appeal of River Metropolis Women 2’s writing.

The charming writing and memorable bosses are effectively supported by River Metropolis Women 2’s presentation. The environments and characters are portrayed in stunning pixel artwork throughout gameplay, however throughout cutscenes, we see detailed drawn photographs of the characters as a substitute. The pixel artwork scratched the retro itch I at all times get from beat ‘em ups, whereas the cutscenes wowed me and added a number of character to every character.

The story is usually introduced through black-and-white animated and voice-acted comedian strips. The presentation matches the childlike, actiony tone of the story, and provides every boss an opportunity to clarify their tragic (or hilarious) backstory earlier than their boss struggle.

The soundtrack can also be a excessive level. Megan McDuffee returns as the author and performer for River Metropolis Women 2‘s soundtrack. Every boss has their very own theme that helps you be taught what every character is about earlier than you even struggle them. Each track within the soundtrack is catchy and I discovered myself buzzing and singing alongside to a number of of the high-energy songs all through the playthrough. A few of my favourite tracks from the primary sport additionally make an look on this sport, and I used to be at all times completely happy to listen to them. 

Between the enjoyable gameplay, charming writing, retro presentation, and banging soundtrack, River Metropolis Women 2 feels prefer it takes every part from the primary sport and does slightly bit extra and slightly bit higher. Extra strikes, extra characters, on-line co-op, and higher gameplay selection are just some of the most important enhancements on this sequel. In the event you favored the primary River Metropolis Women, you’ll love the sequel, and in case you didn’t, I’d suggest River Metropolis Women 2 to anybody who enjoys beat ‘em ups or simply needs a delightfully charming sport with a number of laughs.


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