Riverbond (Nintendo Switch) Preview – Casual Co-op Adventures for Everyone

I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for couch co-op multiplayer adventure games. There’s nothing quite like you and your friends or even siblings all sitting on one couch, chowing down on some snacks (doesn’t have to be Doritos), pounding down some drinks (doesn’t have to be Mountain Dew), and enjoying a fun adventure full of good old times. It’s a nice change of pace, especially since most of us are all now accustomed to playing online multiplayer games.

Still, I’m sure if you’re like me, you have a mighty need to play a game offline, and might be looking for a new one on the Nintendo Switch. Well, developer and publisher Cococucumber has the game for you (and for me): Riverbond — a ‘shoot and slash’ dungeon-crawling co-op adventure game that’s coming to Nintendo Switch later this year. After going hands-on with a build of the Switch version at PAX West 2019, it seems as though this adventure fits the “this game is perfect for the Switch” motto to a tee, but it also gave me some 3D Dot Game Heroes vibes, which are good vibes to have.

Riverbond Screenshot 05

Riverbond has players embark on a heroic journey across a destructible cubic world with eight gorgeous voxel areas to explore. The overall objective here is to be a hero by completing missions, battling enemies, opening treasure chests, and smashing things (I’ll explain more about this later.) Before getting started with all of this, I was tasked with selecting a hero skin from a massive selection to choose from; there were game crossover hero skins like Raz from Psychonauts and Juan Aguacate from Guacamelee to silly skins like a strip of bacon and a penguin. Right at the start, I knew right away that playing Riverbond would be a lighthearted and fun adventure.

Once I started dungeon crawling through the world of Riverbond, I noticed something neat about it, everything I hit, whether it was a tree or an enemy, exploded into an eruption of cubes. So for me, I gladly went ahead and slashed, smashed, and blasted all the things in sight, whereas player 2, Vanessa Chia, co-founder and art director at Cococucumber, guided me in the right direction, so we had enough time to experience the demo in its entirety.

Riverbond Screenshot 06

Speaking of multiplayer, just like in other versions of the game, the Switch version will allow you to play with up to three others via local co-op, but you’ll have the option to play solo. With my time with Switch demo, I didn’t encounter any framerate issues even during busy battles, so it was a completely smooth experience. The battles themselves weren’t so challenging, mainly consisting of holding down the attack button — but still, they were fun as I could shoot and slash to my heart’s content. Also, with a slew of melee and ranged weapons to choose from and swap out, I was able to find a slick sword, and a rapid-fire machine gun, that suited my playstyle.

Clearly, from level design to hero skins and even combat, Riverbond grants players a good chunk of freedom to do whatever they’d like and be whoever they’d like — which reminded me so much of 3D Dot Game Heroes. And to put the cherry on top, Riverbond’s beautiful and skillfully-crafted voxel art style looked terrific on the Switch.

Riverbond Screenshot JuanGuacameleeSkin

Riverbond on Switch seems like it’ll bring back nostalgic co-op joy for multiplayer fans to enjoy. While it might be a bit too easy for some players, at least Riverbond will be a game for everyone.

Riverbond is set to release on Nintendo Switch sometime this year. Currently, the game is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC-via Steam.

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Brad Crespo

Editor-in-Chief - On a quest to play as many new games as possible while trying to finish an endless backlog.