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Video Game / Riverbond

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Riverbond is a Retraux Action-Adventure Dungeon Crawler with 3D voxel graphics, four-player co-op support and an irreverent approach to its setting. It was developed by Cococucumber and released on June 9th, 2019 for Xbox One, PS4 and for PC through Steam, with a Nintendo Switch version following on December 10th, 2019.

The game is very much straightforward; pressing play immediately allows you to choose which of the eight short worlds (nine after it was updated for a Switch release) you intend to tackle, with no intro cutscenes or any other hint of an overarching story. The combat is equally simplified, with a notable lack of RPG Elements of any kind: only the weapon you currently wield makes a difference to the proceedings.


Tropes present in this game:

  • An Axe to Grind: Some of the man-sized frog enemies wield axes.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Various skins for your character are essentially the game's main reward. There is even a King's Garden mode that exists solely for admiring all of your unlocked skins.
  • Blob Monster: Green Slimes are a basic enemy that'll often be fought en-masse.
  • Books That Bite: One of the levels is a library, where you mainly fight floating books.
  • Crystal Landscape: Crystalwatch, the ninth world that was added to the game in time for its Switch release.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Checkpoints are frequent, and nothing meaningful is lost upon death.
  • Deflector Shields: The Knight is protected by a purple glowing shield that makes him completely invulnerable. You need to disable it by activating the lava goblets around the room and switching them all from red to blue before you can damage him. Moreover, he'll regularly reset the goblets and reactivate the shield, which also coincides with the arrival of a large wave of enemies.
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  • Dream Land: One of the levels is a world of nightmares.
  • Drop the Hammer: You can fight with dual hammers.
  • Dual Wielding: Some of the weapons, like hammers or red "up" arrows, come in pairs.
  • Everything Breaks: An advantage of voxel graphics is that pretty much every element of the world is breakable. The enemies and bosses will also fall apart into cubes upon being defeated.
  • Excuse Plot: There are some NPCs with flavor text lines or who briefly explain your next objective, but none of this really matters.
  • Flunky Boss: Every single boss starts the battle with up to dozen of their coterie around them, and will summon more enemies throughout.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: The boss of the pirate birds, Captain Barbacus, dual-wields a cast iron skillet and a metal spatula with holes.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Koke the Crab, who is a large hermit crab who'll get flipped over on his back if he receives enough damage. Weirdly, he has a whole pagoda on his back, but it doesn't seem to do anything, and doesn't appear to be the least bit damaged whenever he is flipped onto his back.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Pumpiron Pengo is a penguin boss who relies on his punching skills and only "wields" boxing gloves.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: The protagonist's starting weapon is a sword.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Chests containing new weapons or skins are scattered throughout each world.
  • Joke Weapon/Lethal Joke Weapon: A lot of the weapons are silly things like giant lollipops or ice creams, slap hands, or even red up arrows or pistols that fire snakes. These are often just as effective as the proper weapons.
  • King Mook: Puffy the Lurker and Romeo Ur-Ribit are simply larger versions of the frogs and angler fish that populate their levels, though they do get a couple of unique abilities as well. The other bosses, though, may be in charge of the enemies there, but are often of a different species (i.e. the pirates are birds, but Captain Barbacus is a giant fish that walks on its tail fin, while Pumpiron Pengo commands polar bears), or are even less related (the boss of the undead is Column XVII, which is literally a mechanical pillar with energy guns and buzzsaws.)
  • Large and in Charge: Subverted with Rabbitus Maximus, who is actually the same size as the other large rabbits he commands, but who compensates for that by riding a mech. However, every other boss towers over underlings all on their own.
  • Lighter and Softer: The game is a much more comedic take on a typical dungeon crawler.
  • Scoring Points: You get points for doing pretty much anything, from collecting treasure, destroying enemies and fulfilling level objectives to simply talking to NPCs.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: One of the worlds has rabbit knights with polearms and shields.
  • Shout-Out: The character skins include cameos from the other indie games like Shovel Knight.
  • Spin Attack: Romeo Ur-Ribit boss can do such an attack with the wooden pallet on his back. Pumpiron Pengo can also do a spin, which he telegraphs by punching his gloves together for a second.
  • Super Spit: Puffy the Lurker can spit out a series of five explosive projectiles. The undead insects in one world spit out bones.


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