Gameplay and Final Thoughts
Starting off with the action, the fighting grows in entertainment as you learn more skills and abilities. There are fights where the screen is filled with fighters on both sides, with sometimes around 12 to 16 fighters on the screen at one time. So you’re more than encouraged to try out your special moves to see how efficiently you can sweep the screen. Magic attacks are great for crowd control but take a couple of extra frames to pull off. Physical special attacks, both armed and unarmed, are satisfying and plenty of fun.
The enemies aren’t always pushovers however, and will sometimes interrupt your fancier (or cheesier) attacks. If you’re not careful, you can easily be overwhelmed and knocked out. I did like the introduction to different races of mystical characters and creatures like goblins, ogres and even dragons. The dragons were the most unique as fans of the River City / Kunio series don’t usually see our stubby little heroes going up against such large sprites.
Fighting in River City: Knights of Justice as a whole is satisfying for a pick-up-and-play Nintendo 3DS title. It has a nice pace to it for a beat-em-up. It’s a simple recipe of fighting to get money, using money to get better skills, and using those skills to get more money and more skills. You’re also tempted to keep playing to just see what new allies you can meet and what unique skills they have. Having the CPU control your allies in fights while you go off against waves of enemies adds to the overall excitement in each fight.
There are some fights where you have a team of three or four to go up against one or two boss characters. Those fights can sometimes be underwhelming as the advantage is too far in the players favor, leaving the player to steamroll their enemies with little challenge. If you like over-killing your enemies, then hey, no big deal. Then again, you can always decline characters’ requests for joining your party. The game has only one difficulty setting, so it’s up to you if you want to run with a stacked squad or go solo.
As a short $15 digital title, River City: Knights of Justice gives you what you are looking for. You get an enjoyable beat-em-up that will occupy you for a couple of hours. The banter and story is indeed amusing, with sometimes even the game itself making references to these characters being from a “different world”, aka River City Ransom. For $15, Beat-em-up fans that aren’t familiar with anything River City or Kunio will enjoy the game for what it is, a cheap yet solid brawler for the Nintendo 3DS.
Meanwhile, fans of the series get an interesting deviation from the series’ root with this medieval twist. If anything it acts as a nice little stop gap to hold fans over until the next large River City game release comes later this year in the form of River City: Rival Showdown.
River City: Knights of Justice for the Nintendo 3DS is available now as a downloadable digital purchase from the Nintendo Shop.
† Review copy of River City: Knights of Justice provided by Natsume Inc PR.