Rive Xbox One Preview

Rive is the second shooter I played at PAX that gave off a familiar vibe. But Two Tribes’ side-scroller is more SHMUP than twin-stick shooter — the right stick aims but doesn’t fire your primary weapon — and it reminds me of Star Fox 64, of all things. Studio co-founder Collin van Ginkel explained during XBLA Fans’ demo time with his game that it’s not exactly the comparison he had in mind, but that it’s one he may just start making.

The reason for the comparison is that the Rive demo sees the players’ ship transform from a space-faring craft to a land-traversal vehicle to a submersible. Anyone who’s ever played Nintendo’s arcade-y and fur-filled space shooter will remember this trio took the form of the Arwing ship, the Landmaster tank and the Blue Marine submersible in Star Fox 64. In Rive, however, you don’t get three different vehicles. You get one vehicle that performs three different tasks.

The demo starts off with the player piloting a small ship that looks almost like a drill as you blast asteroids and missiles to pieces. After taking down what amounts to a simplistic version of the base from Contra, you head inside and your ship falls to the floor. Suddenly you’re playing an action platformer. Just a few moments later you’re suddenly plunging underwater. Bereft of the ability to shoot, your only choice here is slowly float downwards while steering out of the way of mines.

Around the same time, you pick up the ability to hack enemy computers and robots. This lets you activate switches to open the way forward, force enemy healing bots to switch allegiances and hitch a ride on enemy transporters.

The demo comes to a close after just about 10 minutes or so, concluding with a boss fight in which you’re tasked with blasting a glowing red weak spot as the boss locks on before charging at you.

The final game is expected to hit Xbox One sometime and other platforms simultaneously later this year and will last considerably longer than 10 minutes. Two Tribes is promising a five-hour game with multiple missions, weapons and hacking abilities.