Pretty Girls Rivers
Hot on the heels of Pretty Girls Breakout! Zoo Corporation has released the latest addition to the franchise with Pretty Girls Rivers. This time the gameplay is based on the Shisen-Sho, the Japanese tile-based game traditionally played with Mahjong tiles. The game’s goal is to find and eliminate pairs of identical Mahjong tiles and clear the board before time runs out. As is common with this series, success rewards players with a new costume for one of the girls in the game.
Pretty Girls Rivers stars six different girls, ranging from a demon to an idol, and they all have cute, sexy, or cool outfits that players can unlock. After choosing a girl, players have to beat four rounds to complete their stage, but only the final round rewards them with the new outfit. Most girls have two outfits to unlock, thus two stages each, but some, like Ren, only have one while others, like Risa, have four.
Although the game uses Mahjong tiles, these are all placed side by side and not on top of each other. However, the catch is that players can only match pairs if the number of bends when connecting them with a line is two or less. Get it right, and the matching pair is removed from the board and some time added to your meter. Get it wrong, and you lose your combo as well as some time from the meter. The round is also lost if the time meter runs out before the board is cleared or you don’t have any more valid matches left. While not exactly difficult, it does make for a more fast-paced experience compared to traditional Mahjong tile-matching games. Players who prefer a little more leniency will appreciate the “Easy” mode, though, which removes the timer and also adds a hint function.
In total, it took us less than three hours to complete all the levels and get 100% of the achievements in the game. However, Pretty Girls Rivers does have some replay value as the layout of the tiles changes each time you play. In addition, the game features leaderboards based on your score and time for each stage. Another staple of the Pretty Girls series is the dressing room, where players can check out the new outfits that they have unlocked. This feature has been improved for Pretty Girls Rivers, and in addition to choosing the background, girls, outfits, and expressions, players can now also place multiple girls in a diorama. There’s no interaction here beyond the size and placement of the girls, but fans are sure to appreciate the upgrade.
Visually, Pretty Girls Rivers sticks to the tried and tested formula for the series. The girls are as kawai as ever, and their outfits run the gamut from traditional to exotic. The Mahjong tiles look like the regular variety that most people will have seen before, but Zoo Corporation has added their pink mascot logo to some of the tiles. Some of the tiles can look very similar, especially with the time limit relentlessly counting down, but that is part of the challenge. The interface is uncluttered, but the addition of the girls on the left of the screen and some visual effects when pairs are matched keep the game from looking too static. The girls don’t have any animations beyond changing their facial expressions, but they are all voiced in Japanese. Sound effects are also crisp, and the energetic soundtrack is a good match for the gameplay. As with most games in the series, Pretty Girls Rivers can be played with either a mouse or a controller.
All in all, Pretty Girls Rivers is another short and sweet addition to this entertaining and affordable series. With only six girls and a handful of levels, the game doesn’t overstay its welcome, and the levels are brief enough to fit in a few rounds whenever you need a quick break. It is not groundbreaking in any way, but Pretty Girls Rivers is fun, and that’s all that matters.
- OS: Windows 8.1/10/11
- Processor: 2Ghz
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: DirectX Compatible video card with Pixel Shader 3.0 and Vertex Shader 3.0 support
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 1 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectX-compatible sound