River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review

River-City-Girls-KV-560x315 River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review

With the boys indisposed, it’s up to their vengeful girlfriends to rescue them - and exact revenge along the way.

  • System: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: WayForward, ARC System Works
  • Developer: WayForward
  • Release Date: Sept. 5, 2019

River City Girls Official Launch Trailer

Who it Caters to

River-City-Girls-KV-560x315 River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review
Initially, you may think River City Girls appeals mostly to fans of the Kunio-kun series. And yes, it is true; it does cater to those fans by reintroducing familiar characters, settings, and ideas. But River City Girls can be played by anyone regardless of whether or not you have played the previous games in the series. It caters to any gamers that want to enjoy an old school beat ‘em up with modern “quality of life” improvements that make the game less frustrating to play while still feeling nostalgic. Gamers that like side scrollers and action/fighting platformers will be especially happy with River City Girls.

River City Girls also caters to gamers that like anime or anime-style games. It has full anime cutscenes and manga-style panels to tell the story, all presented in full colour and a modern style. With Kyoko and Misako as the main characters, that also caters to anyone who enjoys sexy and beautiful anime girls; especially ones that kick butt. Gamers that like to play locally with a friend can also have fun playing River City Girls with its ability for local co-op play. The second player can drop in and out easily, too, so it’s great for when a friend is around and you’re looking for something to pick up and play for a bit together!

What to Expect

River-City-Girls-KV-560x315 River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review
River City Girls is an action fighting game where you control a tough heroine through six different stages of a dangerous city to save her boyfriend. You can expect a classic beat ‘em up kind of feel, but with new modern twists along the way. The main gameplay is done in an old school pixel style, with cutscenes done in a modern anime style. You can get power-ups and new items, earn XP to level up your heroines, embark on side quests, shop in in-game stores, and interact with plenty of interesting NPCs along the way on your quest for revenge.

While playing River City Girls, you can enjoy an extensive number of voiceovers for the characters and a fun synth-pop soundtrack with some big names in that scene including NateWantsToBattle and Chipzel. It’s a great fusion of old school and new school gaming for both old and new fans wanting to try out an exciting and fun arcade game at home. Expect a good balance of violence, laughs, and sexy - and that’s River City Girls.


River-City-Girls-KV-560x315 River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review
River City Girls is set in the hard-hitting, dangerous setting of River City. It’s the latest part of the Kunio-kun ongoing story. This time, though, it’s up to the girls to save the day instead of the guys! In River City Girls, the legendary heroes Kuni and Riki have been kidnapped. This time, they won’t be able to punch their own way out of the tight situation. So it’s up to their hard-hitting girlfriends Kyoko and Misako to save their skins - and get their revenge along the way. The game starts in detention in Misako’s school, which the girls have to fight their way out of, and continues across six different stages of River City.

Playing as either of these two girls (or both through local co-op), you have to fight your way across the tough town of River City to rescue your boyfriends. The story is told through manga panels and anime cutscenes, which unfold between the different stages of the city or that you punch and kick your way across, or during side quests and conversations. Kuni and Riki will be relying on you to come to their rescue - and kick as many butts as possible along the way in retaliation - so it’s up to you to survive and help them!


River-City-Girls-KV-560x315 River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review
River City Girls is a side-scrolling action game that is nostalgic and fresh at the same time. The graphics for the main game are all done in an old-school 16-bit style reminiscent of old arcade-style games. Meanwhile, the narrative unfolds through beautiful manga panels and anime cutscenes between and during the levels, giving River City Girls an undeniably modern feel. The main focus of the gameplay is fighting your way through levels by kicking and punching enemies, all while picking up power-up items and unleashing powerful combo moves. You can also pick up weapons occasionally to power up your attacks, block incoming moves, and recruit enemies to fight for you later. Your health bar is displayed at the top, along with your friend’s if are playing together. Friends can drop in or out as they want to. During boss battles, the boss’ health bar is also displayed at the bottom to help you keep track of how the battle is going.

Besides the fight scenes, River City Girls also features side quests and shops. It’s more than just fighting enemy after enemy with no end and no story; there are plot lines to complete, stuff to collect, and ways to power yourself up to be even stronger. There’s a lot of items and abilities to choose from to level up your character in the way you want to, and to get ready to face the next hoard of enemies coming your way. River City Girls boasts six large urban environments to fight across, and each one has its own enemies, shops, and side quests as you try to reach your trapped boyfriends. You can check out your progress on the map by opening up your character’s mobile phone, which will display which room you are in out of how many rooms on each level, including which rooms you have visited and which you haven’t so far.

River-City-Girls-KV-560x315 River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review
River City Girls fully supports trophies on the PlayStation 4, so you can share and compare your progress with friends that are also playing the same game. It also allows you to save your progress and continue the game another time, and choose your difficulty level when starting between “normal” and “hard” settings. You can also toggle whether or not friendly fire is on if you’re going to be playing with a friend for an added challenge. All cutscenes and dialogue are able to be easily skipped if you want to just focus on the battles or are trying a battle again after losing.
River-City-Girls-KV-560x315 River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

River City Girls was successful in making a beat ‘em up game that many gamers can enjoy playing. It's approachable by new and old fans of the Kunio-kun series, with nods and cameos to the previous games for old fans to enjoy while still making perfect sense to new fans so they are not left confused. It has things to unlock, chances to level up and become more powerful, choices for how to power up your character at dojos like an RPG, things to collect, doors to unlock, and even Easter Eggs to find. River City Girls has a simple concept and basic combat system that can be enjoyed for a short time, but the gameplay can be prolonged by gamers that want to play the game for a long time to come.
River-City-Girls-KV-560x315 River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review

Honey's Pros:

  • River City Girls has a great balance of the old and new when it comes to animation, with crystal clear and brightly coloured pixel art along with fully animated cutscenes and engaging manga panels.
  • Nearly the entire game has been voice acted, including characters talking in the background while you are engaged in combat.
  • The storyline itself is fun and light-hearted, and many of the NPCs you encounter are eccentric and funny in their own unique ways.
  • Kyoko and Misako are distinctly different character tropes, with Kyoko as the cute, fun girl and Misako as the stronger, more powerful type. You can choose which you prefer to play as.

  • Recruiting enemy characters to fight for you is a really great feature, and can help you out in a tight spot later especially when you’re playing in single-player mode.

  • The soundtrack was really fun and upbeat, as well as professional, keeping the action going and keeping the player motivated to keep fighting.

  • A second player can easily drop in or out at any time.

Honey's Cons:

  • Some of the voice acting was not very convincing or sounded very fake, especially the pronunciation of many Japanese names.
  • You cannot use recruited enemies in boss battles, which would have been a nice feature for single-player gamers to have on their side when it gets difficult.
  • Enemy types can be exploited when you learn their AI attack patterns, sometimes making combat too easy or monotonous when you fight the same enemy over and over again.
  • There is no easy way to stop your progress other than dying and hitting “quit.” As long as you are still alive, it's hard to stop playing the game when you need a break.

Honey's Final Verdict:

River City Girls is a game that will be loved by fans of old-school beat ‘em up games, fighting games, and anime girls. While it’s biggest fans may be the cult followers of the Kunio-kun series, River City Girls can be enjoyed by even a newcomer. It has enough nostalgic features to make older gamers and fans of the older style happy while complementing those 16-bit graphics with full-colour anime scenes, a modern synth-pop soundtrack, and an overall clean finish in the game to keep younger gamers happy as well. If you just want to beat a bunch of dudes up in awesome ways, River City Girls can give you that. If you want to play as two super cute anime girls, River City Girls can give you that, too. And if you want an action game you can button smash, learn combos for, and actually have some story too, well. You guessed it. River City Girls can deliver.

Have you played River City Girls yet? What did you think of it? Would you like to try it out yourself now? Or do you think this game isn’t what you’re looking for? Are there any other upcoming games you would like to see a similar review for? Be sure to drop us a comment before you navigate away!

River-City-Girls-KV-560x315 River City Girls - PlayStation 4 Review


Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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