If there’s one title from 2019 that came out of nowhere, kicked down the front door, and immediately captured the attention of the video game community, it’s WayForward’s upcoming brawler River City Girls. With a reveal trailer dropped like a technicolour nuke, this new entry in the long-running Kunio-kun series won over an army of supporters, thanks in no small part to its attractive pixel art, retro-inspired soundtrack, and, of course, the magnetism of its fearless stars, Kyoko and Misako.
With the pedigree of both WayForward and Arc System Works at the helm, the title is expected by many to be a winner. But is there still a place for the simple brawler in modern gaming? At a time when many titles blend genres to create deep, layered adventure experiences, can the old-school simplicity of the Kunio-kun franchise still score a knockout?
I sat down with River City Girls writer/director Adam Tierney to look at our schoolgirl sluggers, the legacy carried on their pixelated shoulders, and the trick to keeping brawlers engaging in the modern era.