River Tails: Stronger Together is a 3-D cooperative adventure platformer created by Kid Onion Studios and published by Gravity Game Arise Co., Ltd. It originally started as a Kickstarter project back in November 2021 but has since launched for early access on Steam as of March 16th this year. You can grab it for £16.75 on the Steam Store.
Cat out of the bag, fish out of water.
It’s not every day you get to have a great couch co-op experience, and this was one I was hoping would scratch that it. What caught my eye was how on earth they’ll make a fish platform in this game. The art style is eye-catching, and I’m always looking to expand my game variety with more platformers. My brother and I will either have a lot of fun or end up not speaking after playing River Tails.
Play as the curious feline Furple and the goldfish Finn with an attitude, as both work together to try and save Furple’s family of kittens high up in a mountain. Players will traverse mountains and ancient ruins to reach the icy summit and defeat various enemies throughout their adventure. There are two modes, co-op and lone-wolf, that players can pick, all this does is let the players choose if they wish to use a single controller or two.
Platforming is the core gameplay in River Tails. Players will have a coloured circle to show them where they’ll land after jumping. Furple will help Finn by scaring away piranha and opening blockades throughout their journey. Finn helps by lifting logs to help Furple reach new areas by pulling on vines nearby. Both are restricted to their respective terrain and will die if one or the other jumps into the opposite habitat. Both will need to work together to reach the end goal that will have beavers waiting for you. Found throughout most levels are little messages left by the beavers that mention helpful tips for the players, like how to defeat specific enemies like piranha who wear helmets and won’t be scared by Furple.
Defeat piranhas by jumping on colourful mushrooms that spit out poisonous gas. Radishes can be found and picked up from dead enemies but serve no purpose yet for the players. Birds are collected as the player explores each level in River Tails. They each have a funny name and design. The pause menu will show players how many birds are on the current level.
After reaching a certain point in River Tails, a raft will appear, and players will use it to visit the Beaver Resort. Found in the resort are large gems that can be found and rolled into crevices nearby. They will then need both players to stand on two platforms to activate, leading to a time trial mission. Time trials make Finn appear in a box similar to the directional arrows on a controller, and Furple will be doing all the platforming. Finn will have to pull yellow cords to make stones appear so that Furple can cross. With enough teamwork, players should be able to finish the trial in record time.
In the resort, the players will be in a protective ball. That allows them to enter land and water. An empty shack in the beaver resort that is under construction will serve as a place to purchase cosmetics. Several areas are also under construction right now and are not accessible by the players for now.
The bosses and enemies you will encounter
There were only two chapters to play, we didn’t fight many enemies, but they made levels challenging. Frogs protect lily pads that Furple can jump on and will try to take over one Finn has made available for Furple. Green frogs will sit on lily pads. They will fall off when Finn attacks below. Red frogs need both players to remove them, Furple will hit them with an orb found nearby, and Finn will attack from below and knock them off. Piranha won’t attack Finn if Furple is close by.
Bosses are very challenging and took us both multiple tries to beat. The Piranha King boss required one player to lure several minions to a marked spot and then be stunned by the other player. Once stunned, the one playing as Finn will pull a lever to use a hammer that launches the smaller piranha at the king. Players will have to repeat this cycle, each time getting harder until all the boss’s lives are gone.
Graphics & Audio
The art style is beautiful and full of colour and does a great job of appealing to the younger audience. Characters are both cute and simplistic without looking boring. The environments have great detail, especially the ruins that look inspired by Aztec temples. The soundtrack was great and reminiscent of old-school Crash Bandicoot levels. Different music played to imply who was speaking at the time, as there were no dialogue voices, with Furple having a melody that gave the feeling of confusion and curiosity.
My brother and I finished the two chapters available in just under 4 hours. We went back to collect the birds we missed on other levels. Players can play again to try the other character and see how they play and the challenges they will face. River Tails can take a lot of time, depending on your communication skills.
Me and my brother had a load of fun with River Tails. We couldn’t stop laughing. Bosses did get tedious at times, mainly the Frog King with aiming the orbs at him. I found the story with Finn odd for the beginning as it didn’t give a good story, but hopefully, later chapters will sort that out. The controls were great, but I really don’t recommend the lone-wolf mode. Finn seems to have more challenges than Furple, to the point it was causing conflict as one player is left doing nothing while the other does all the work.
I look forward to seeing what these two heroes face in future chapters.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.