Know what series I miss? R-Type. Since its introduction in the late ’80s, Irem has continued to pump out quality sequels in this series, supposedly wrapping up with R-Type Final on the PlayStation 2 years ago. But since then, it’s continued to live on to some extent, thanks to the awesome remake of R-Type Dimensions and the in-production sequel of R-Type Final 2.
In the meantime, however, Headup Games and the devs at Com8com1 have created a spiritual successor that fans should love, even though it’s not entirely the same experience. Rigid Force Redux channels that fun, manic R-Type energy, but into a game that players of all ages and skillsets can enjoy. It’ll definitely hold you over as you wait for the next great shmup to arrive – and its $17.99 price point makes it more affordable than most.
Time To Save the Galaxy, Again
Two years after the game’s initial debut on Steam (as Rigid Force Alpha), the game has arrived in its final form on consoles and is better than ever. It’s got the typical storyline, as you venture out into a galaxy filled with trouble, tasked with saving it. But the way it tells this story is actually quite good, with stylish sequences and voice acting that lend some character to the overall package. You can skip past them if you wish, but the dev really went a good route here.
It’s obviously the shooting that matters here tho; and Redux delivers it in spades. It’s a lot of fun to play, with a design akin to the newer R-Type games, featuring 3D visuals paired with 2D gameplay. It’s a formula that really works, especially when it comes to the intense boss encounters against all sorts of freakish aliens.
You’ll want to take in the tutorial if you can because the control system is rather neat once you learn what all it can do. This includes utilizing a firing system to its maximum intent, using some for shielding, and shifting your bullets where they’re needed the most. It’s R-Type-ish, but with its own creative approach.
In addition, you can also suck up energy gems to activate a special supercharged blast that can help you during the aforementioned boss fights. You can also use a Radiant Silvergun-style energy sword in case some enemies get a little too close. You’ll have to keep everything properly balanced, but it’s a real surprise how well it all comes together.
A Great Presentation, But the Length’s a Little Short
Com8com1 nails what makes a good presentation with Redux. The 3D visuals look dazzling on both the Xbox One X and the Nintendo Switch, even in portable form; and the explosive action doesn’t let up that often. What’s more, the power-ups are colorful and really pack a punch; and some of the later boss battles show great creativity.
All the visuals are nicely backed by a great soundtrack, performed by the team at Dreamtime. They really know how to put together a terrific set of “shmup tunes,” as it were, and you can hear the results throughout. Coupled with the great voice acting and effects, it’s a classic shooter experience.
Alas, the ride comes to a close all too soon, as Redux runs a little short on levels. There’s only six in all, which means you can pretty much beat this game in one sitting. All that’s left is trying to tackle it at a faster pace, as well as taking on extra modes like Boss Rush. But I would’ve liked this adventure to continue a little bit longer. Maybe that’s something we could ask for in a potential sequel.
It’s Just Our Type
If you’re a “shmup” fan or, better yet, someone who’s been aching to get some side-scrolling shoot-em-up action going along the lines of R-Type Dimensions, then you’ll love what Rigid Force Redux brings your way. It’s exciting to play, with innovative gameplay that tips its hat to the past and a presentation that can’t be beaten. It’s also got surprisingly big production value, despite being a second-tier title to the classic R-Type series. The ride ends all too soon, and there’s very little in replay value outside of bonus modes, but we suppose that’s just a reflection of shooters from the past. Don’t forget. With games like these, it’s more about the journey rather than the destination. And this is a great journey.
Rigid Force Redux packs a punch as a full-on tribute to R-Type, complete with innovative gameplay and presentation.