PAX West 2016: Riverbond Preview – Bastion and Castle Crashers Inspired Indie a Winner

Riverbond Hands-On Preview

When so many indie games take on the voxel motif, developers need to do something to set their games apart from the dozens of similar looking titles. Even at the PAX Rising booth this year, two similar voxel-based games had to compete for distinction. One of these titles was Riverbond, an action adventure game with a very destructible environment. The game has only very recently been announced and is slated to launch in 2017, but the demo at PAX West showed a functional engine and the basic concept of a short level we might find in the full release. While the full game will feature both solo and co-op modes, the demo only showed off the co-op mode. The demo also seemed to be devoid of any story elements.

We started in some sort of co-op lobby where you can feel out your attacks and play around with the destructible environment. After learning basic, strong, and ranged attacks we moved into the actual demo level. I was told since we had three players the number of enemies had been scaled up. Combat was a bit hectic with the three people, especially when the explosive barrels came into play.


Much of the scenery was quickly destroyed after a few big brawls, which is something I found quite satisfying; broken barrels and overturned shrubs littered landscape as if a tornado had just blown through. It gave a real sense that a raucous battle had just taken place and the fact you were still standing invoked a feeling of accomplishment. This became more apparent with the boss battle that signaled the end of the demo. The final arena was decorated with columns and lanterns which ended up as large cubical chunks of rubble and debris.


It will be interesting to follow the development of Riverbond, especially when more details of the story emerge. All that is revealed for now is that players will explore an enchanted river to uncover the mysteries of a crumbling world. Some images released seem to indicate the inclusion of NPC villages as well as collectibles. It’s too soon to tell if these elements will make it into the final cut, but we’ll be waiting for more announcements as time goes on.