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River City Girls tears up Japan's streets on September 5th

Maybe "grounded" isn't the right word. Airborne, perhaps?

There’s another River City Ransom sequel in the works, and this time it’s by Shantae and Double Dragon Neon studio WayForward. River City Girls is a one or two player (local) brawler that flips the script a bit on the series. This time, delinquent high-school lasses Kyoko and Misako are beating seven shades out of the entire town to rescue their lads, who have been captured by the biggest, meanest gang of all; the cops. Below, a lyrical teaser trailer giving us a brief peek at some beautifully animated pixelated pugilism.

If you’ve never played a River City game before, they’re about 80% brawler, 20% RPG, and slightly non-linear. There’s an experience-based levelling system, and shops that sell a variety of permanent stat boosts, new moves and consumables, bought with the coins you punch out of your foes. WayForward say that River City Girls is no different. Interestingly, the game is an official part of the Kunio-kun series (the Japanese name for the games), with the lead duo trying to rescue Kunio and Riki, the original two teen tearaways from the 1989 original.

The trailer has me hopeful – the animation looks great, hits look to have some real impact and energy, and the series’ sense of humour appears intact. My only worry is that WayForward might have suffered some brain-drain since their last brawler, the wildly underrated and genuinely funny Double Dragon Neon. A good chunk of the studio’s talent broke off to form Yacht Club and make Shovel Knight, so I hope they’ve still got enough folks aboard to understand what makes a good brawler. Despite simple appearances, this is a very hard genre to get right.

River City Girls launches on September 5th, and will cost $30, though no store pages are up yet. The project is being overseen by Japanese rights-holders Arc System Works. As an aside, Conatus Creative’s River City Ransom: Underground (a game much improved by patches) is cheap in the Steam summer sale, down to £3.74/€4.99/$4.99.

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Dominic Tarason


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