03rd Aug2020

‘Rigid Force Redux’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

Yet another shmup on the Nintendo Switch – which is quickly becoming a regular home to the genre – Rigid Force Redux follows the familiar shmup set-up: in this case you’re a pilot in an intergalactic war against humanity and you must take down infected aliens and dreadful machines, confronting the enemy threat and blasting your way through six lavishly designed stages and face multiple gigantic end bosses.

In a change from the typical shmup, Rigid Force Redux sees players supported by Psye, a onboard AI that talks you through the situations and stages, and give you vital information as/ and when its needed. Which is all well and good but when you’re playing the same, difficult, level over and over Psye “helpful” information can get grating and oftentimes made me wish this part of the game was optional (what I wouldn’t give for a Psye off-button!). In ANOTHER change from the typical shmup gameplay, Rigid Force Redux also features multiple endings; and the best ending only comes after facing the challenges in the higher difficulty levels!

There are actually various ways to play Rigid Force Redux: story mode, arcade mode and boss rush mode. The story mode is your typical shmup mode, only with the added aspect of the aforementioned multiple endings and having Psye talk you through the story. Which, unfortunately for me, felt too tedious… this is a shmup, I honestly want to get right into the action! Thank god then for the arcade mode, which allows you to play thorugh the games various stages, only with special sets of gameplay rules…

In arcade mode, collecting Energy Orbs will increase the multiplier level – meaning all points will be multiplied after shooting down the foes. However orbs need to be constantly collected otherwise the multiplier levels will drop again. Which means not only are you dodging the landscape and enemy fire but you’re also chaising down orbs – collecting as many of them as possible to boost your score. You can also collect astronauts floating helplessly in space (trickier than you’d think!), and destory orb bombs – little capsules filled with a whole lot of energy orbs just waiting to be released… by shooting them more than you do enemies!

Boss rush mode is all about setting the personal record in the time-based adventure. Jump into action and find the best tactic against all bosses to destroy them all – where every second literally counts. In between battles, there will be opportunities to upgrade or change your ships loadout by playing short bonus stages and collect enough energy orbs for the next fight. If no upgrades are needed, then get into action with boost portals to complete this stage faster – after all, the timer will be ticking away mercilessly! After a successful run the players’ best time will be sent to the global leaderboards. Which, as usual, will frustrate you when you realise you’re not as good at the game as you thought you were!

Graphically Rigid Force Redux looks great. The game is a 2.5D shooter clearly inspired by all that is R-Type – with a very similar look to your ship AND level and feeling very much like the same kind of frantic gameplay as the 1987 classic. And that’s a problem. You can’t help but keep thinking of Irem’s legendary shoot ’em-up and the comparisons don’t do Rigid Force Redux any favours; yes this game is good but it’s not R-Type good. Thankfully though the developers com8com1 seem to be taking gamers comments on board and are tweaking aspects of the game over time… after all Rigid Force Redux is, at least in my opinion, leaps and bounds from the first iteration of the game Rigid Force Alpha, the 2018 PC-only release.

Not as manic or difficult as your typical bullet-hell Japanese shooters, Rigid Force Redux is a great entry-level shmup for genre novices or younger gamers looking for something fun to pick up and play. Rigid Force Redux is available on the Nintendo eShop now.


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