River City Girls is a 2019 beat ’em up video game developed by WayForward, and published by Arc System Works. A spin-off in the Kunio-kun franchise, the game stars Misako and Kyoko (originally appearing in Nintendo World Cup and Kunio-tachi no Banka respectively) who fight their way through enemies and obstacles to rescue their kidnapped boyfriends, series protagonists Kunio and Riki. The game was released for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows in September 2019, and for Amazon Luna in October 2020. A PlayStation 5 version and a sequel, River City Girls 2, are in development.
River City Girls is a beat ’em up brawler. The player can choose between Kyoko or Misako, who play similarly but have unique moves and animations. Two players can play a local cooperative mode with both. Waves of enemies and occasional bosses are out to oppose the chosen character(s). The player progresses through six areas in a linear manner similar to Shodai Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun and Shin Nekketsu Kōha: Kunio-tachi no Banka. Like River City Ransom, the player is free to return to previous areas, but they must complete certain battles and objectives to go to the new locations in their current area. In many areas where combat is initiated the first time, chains and a lock will surround the edges of the screen. At this point, the player will be unable to leave the area until all enemies are defeated. There are six bosses in the game; to be able to advance to the next area, the player must defeat the boss of the current area.
Defeated enemies drop money for the player to collect, just as in River City Ransom. Money can be spent at various shops to purchase items, food, and gear to increase stats. Money can also be used to purchase new fighting moves from the Dojo to complement the starting basic set. Abilities are all simple to perform, being a direction + a button; complexity for advanced players lies in chaining the simple moves together into long combos. Characters also gain experience points and level-ups from defeating enemies, as in River City Ransom: Underground. Completion of quests grant experience and money rewards to both characters, ensuring that the one that the player is not using in a single player game does not fall behind in levels or money. As bosses are defeated in the game, enemies become stronger. Upon defeating the final enemy in an area, they might surrender. The player can choose to either defeat the enemy as normal, or to recruit them. Recruited enemies can be summoned to assist the player, although only one recruit is kept at a time. The player can pick up various objects during the game and use them as improvised weapons, but they will break after being used multiple times.
If the player loses all their stamina bar and is defeated (or both characters defeated in multiplayer), the player must restart the current room and lose a portion of their cash on hand, but their health is fully restored. In multiplayer, if only one character is knocked out, it is possible for the other player to revive them by standing over their fallen body and repeatedly kicking their departing soul back into it. An angel leaving the character’s body acts as a timer so that the other player can perform the revival as fast as possible.
Once introduced, Kunio-kun character Godai will offer players numerous side quests. There are also various NPCs that the player can interact with.