River City Girls

WayForward's new brawler looks River City Handsome

WayForward's announcement of River City Girls was one I met with some trepidation. For one thing, WayForward's announcement of anything to do with girls leads me to expect the worst. These are the folks who gave the characters in Shantae and the Pirate's Curse 3D autostereoscopic chests, for christ's sake. And that's without even mentioning the skeeviness of so many of their other games. On top of that - and I freely accept the slings and arrows that will no doubt be sent my way for saying this - I don't like River City Ransom very much. So this game was looking like a perfect storm of Stuff That Is Not For Me.

Then, a few days ago, a trailer dropped, and it assuaged some of my fears. The game looks good. It's immediately striking (pun intended), with detailed pixel art that's a little outside the norm for WayForward and not what I tend to expect from them. Their 2D games often had a European aesthetic to them, thanks to Henk Nieborg's astonishing spritework, but River City Girls doesn't. It looks avowedly indie, nothing like the original Kunio-Kun games that this is spun-off from.

It looks to hew pretty closely to last gen's terrific (and sadly stranded in licensed-game-limbo) Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, which itself was very River City Ransom. It's looking like it's got that disarming precision to its gameplay, where you've got to really think about your moves lest you leave yourself open to counterattack. WayForward has form with this sort of game, what with their excellent and horrendously underrated Double Dragon Neon. If Girls can even come close to the standards of that slice of fried gold, we'll be laughing.

Speaking of Double Dragon, that little reference to the series in the copyright info at the end of the trailer didn't get past me. I swear, if Skullmageddon turns up, I'm going to mark out.

The game releases on basically every system this September 5th, so there's still time for WayForward to ruin everything by setting the second level in a bath-house or something.