In River City Girls, players get to choose which heroine they want to use when fighting through the game. Rather than this being a cosmetic difference kind of thing, each one can feel slightly different. They have different moves they can learn and can balance one another out well. Which is helpful, as even though this is a beat’em up, it is one where you have to be thoughtful, watch bosses attacks, and actually block attacks and avoid button mashing. While both characters can be pretty great, Kyoko might be a good choice for someone playing alone to start with.
It is easy to launch into combos with either River City Girls heroine. When the game kicks off, characters have some basic standard and heavy attacks. (Though, you do have to reach level two to unlock the very helpful Ground Stomp when near a downed foe.) Misako can feel like the heavier hitter of the two, while Kyoko is about quick combos. It seemed like it was effortless to unleash a flurry of hits by tapping the square button frequently, getting together enough hits to knock someone down so they could be ground stomped into submission. With Kyoko, you also get some River City staple moves. If you have enough money when you visit the dojo, you can go ahead and get yourself iconic moves like the spinning Acro Circus for $225 (inflation clearly hit this River City Ransom $26.95 move hard) or Dragon Feet for $150.
One thing I did notice is that, because of this combo ability, Kyoko could sometimes be easier to use when playing River City Girls alone. Someone might notice this when coming up to the first boss, Misuzu. By the time you reach her, you should have Kyoko up to at least level four. This means she will have learned the Volleyball Save, a move you pull off by pressing the heavier triangle attack button while running. Misuzu, in all three of her phrases, is a boss that can be temporarily stunned with an effective combo before she gets back up again and rallies with an AOE attack. This means dashing in with Kyoko for a Volleyball Save, then quickly button mashing her standard square attack for a Heel Kick or Swap Kick combo, means you can probably get in two solid combo strings before having to run away again. This isn’t to say Misako isn’t as effective against Misuzu along. Rather, it just seemed like Kyoko was a good character to use to rush in and take advantage of the gaps between Misuzu’s attacks.
There’s another reason Kyoko can be a good character for solo River City Girls players. Both she and Misako each start with one accessory. (Don’t forget to equip it in their phones! They don’t start the game with them equipped.) Kyoko’s is a Virtual Pet. Normally, enemies you recruit have three hearts. If the Virtual Pet is equipped, they get an extra heart. Considering it is possible to occasionally refill your current recruit’s heart while fighting, having that extra heart can help.
Also, while it doesn’t have anything to do with how good she can be when playing alone, people might appreciate the personality that went into Kyoko’s moveset. She has attacks that suggest she is a volleyball player, and it is fun to see how this plays out in the game and works in a fight. For example, one of her early attacks she’ll learn without visiting a dojo is the aforementioned Volleyball Save. This has her diving to the ground, as though she was trying to bump a volleyball at the last second, hitting anyone in her way in the process. Her Volleyball Set has her performing an upward attack, if you invest $90 into it. Considering most of her moves are assorted kicks, having some notable ones attached to an activity is fun.
Both of the River City Girls heroines are great characters who can be effective fighters. People who take the time to see how their movesets work and find out which attacks and combos work well for them can do well. But, if someone is going to play around with the game for a while and happens to just be getting started, it might be wise to try using Kyoko first. Her easy in creating combos and initial equipment can be quite helpful.
River City Girls is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.