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24 Mar 2023

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: River Tails: Stronger Together on PC (Steam)

First Impressions by Jon Donnis
I was asked to take a look at the first couple of levels of River Tails: Stronger Together on PC, which is out now in early access. For those that don't know early access is basically an unfinished game that is released onto Steam, with the hope that it can build up a community that will help the developers by giving advice, looking for bugs as well as paying towards the development of the game.

Let's take a look at the blurb.
River Tails: Stronger Together is a 3D co-op adventure platformer with a colourful cartoon aesthetic. Teammates must work together to defeat end-of-level bosses and solve puzzles across a range of natural-world environments.

Play either as Furple, the curious and excitable purple kitten, or Finn, the independent fish with a bit of an attitude problem. You'll embark upstream with these unexpected allies, towards the icy mountain where Furple's family are in mortal danger. Can you save them in time?

Immerse yourself in visually stunning natural-world environments
In River Tails, you'll embark on an epic and visually stunning journey across land and water. Explore the flora of uncharted rainforests, immerse yourself in the magical atmosphere of river caves, cross the treacherous swamp (if you can!). Only then will you get back to the icy mountain. On your way, you'll encounter a wide range of local wildlife - but be sure to work out which are your friends and which are your enemies before it's too late!

Innovative and constantly evolving gameplay
Your journey will be filled with innovative and fun river-themed challenges. The further you travel, the more mechanics and puzzles you'll face. To succeed, working with your partner is absolutely vital. You know that saying about teamwork making the dream work? It's a little cliché, but totally true when playing River Tails.

Nail-biting boss fights
They can be pretty scary, but having mastered the key co-op mechanics earlier in the game you will have all necessary skills to defeat these angry enemies. Just keep calm and work together. Bosses aren't evil, but they do have some anger issues for which they should really seek professional help. They are very protective of their turf and aren't best pleased when a lively kitten and a cool-guy fish get too close.

Play a co-op game in a challenging single-player mode!
River Tails is designed specifically for two players, but we didn't like the idea of a game that can only be played in one way. That's why we added the LoneWolf mode. We have added a special control mode that allows you to play as both characters using one controller. The coordination becomes between one part of your brain and the other!
This single-player mode is a whole new kind of challenge.

As mentioned above, this is primarily a co-op game, meant to be played using a gamepad/controller, unfortunately I do not have a spare person around to help me play games, so I played this using the Lone Wolf mode, so I controlled both characters using one gamepad. Now you might think this would be very hard to do, but luckily most of the obstacles you face in a level can be done one by one, so not necessarily needed for both character sto be moved at once, although as you play you will find yoruself getting better at controlling both characters simultaneously.

Now this game is early access, and I found quite a few bugs, but I am sure these will be ironed out over time with the various patches and updates.

Gameplay is pretty straight forward, get through the level, collect some things and get past the obstacles, all without getting the kitten wet or the fish dry. Sounds simple, but it is not, the biggest problem this game has is the camera angle, the camera is computer controlled, and although it does move around depending on the location of your characters, often you will find that the camera is your biggest enemy in the game. For example I would often jump the kitten into the water because I simply couldn't tell where I was jumping in an accurate enough way. Obviously not as much of a probelm with the fish.

As it is now the game feels very rough, the controls and camera being the things that need the most work, but there is a lot of potential here. The £16.75 price tag is very steep though, but if you want to help the developer, than that is the cost they charge for the pleasure.

The Good
Nice colourful graphics and entertaining characters that will appeal to a younger crowd.

The Bad
Iffy controls made worse by the camera angles.

A game with a lot of potential, but also a long way to go to be the finished article.

Out Now on Early Access at

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