Raiden IV X MIKADO Remix – Nintendo Switch Review

Overview – developed by MOSS and published by UFO Interactive/PQube Limited, Raiden IV x MIKADO Remix is an enhanced and updated version of the classic bullet hell shooter. This version includes a special remixed soundtrack and a vertical Tate mode, creating a special experience for Nintendo Switch. This version is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch system, with a link to the game at the bottom of this review.

Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank PQube for providing the copy of Raiden IV x MIKADO Remix that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.

Now with the introduction out of the way, let’s get into the review. There is little in terms of plot for this title, so I will be moving directly into the gameplay section. For the sake of brevity, I will be referring to this title as Raiden IV Remix during the review.

Gameplay – Raiden IV Remix is a vertical, bullet hell shooter that takes place over several stages, battling enemies that will attack the players with a relentless hail of bullets. The game is split into different modes, each featuring unique features that separate them from the others, alongside special play styles that tailor the experience to the player.

The game modes in Raiden IV Remix are as follows;

  • Arcade – play through the original game in either original or light, with light only having five stages in a single loop. However, original mode is tougher and features two loops of the game with a sixth, final stage appearing at the end of the second. In this mode there is a score multiplier system called “Flash Shot”, giving a higher multiplier depending on how quickly the enemies are defeated.
  • Additional Mode – this gameplay mode is functionally identical to the original mode in Arcade, with two gameplay loops, the multiplier system and stage layouts. However, in this mode there are two extra stages, bumping the total number of stages from 11 to 15. The increase in the number of stages expands the gameplay loop, challenging the player further than arcade.
  • Overkill Mode – play through the same stages as Additional Mode, with two special missions that occur during each of the two loops. The score system is also different with this mode, with a new mechanic dubbed the “Overkill Meter” players can score bonuses on large enemies by dealing extra damage after defeating them. To make up for the removal of the Flash Shot multiplier, rings are awarded for defeating enemies quickly.
  • Score Attack – take on stages from the different game modes, with the different difficulty modes and features available as they are unlocked during play. This mode is best used for practicing the stages to refine the player skills.
  • Ranking Mode – play a single credit run of each mode, submitting the score against the best players in the world and compete for worldwide fame.
  • Boss Rush – battle against the bosses of the game that have been previously defeated, fighting them in single battles to set a high score. The difficulty can be set like other game modes, letting players practice just like the Score Attack mode.

During stages in all of the standard game modes players can collect power-ups from defeating enemies, with each one collected boosting the strength of each weapon. The weapons vary depending on the ship chosen on the main menu, separated into main, sub and bomb weapons, each with their own distinct icon. The sub-weapons have a powered up state that deals increased damage, available when the player holds off firing for a moment.

The battles can be intense with bullets covering the screen, making it difficult to dodge at times making the bomb weapon very powerful. When in danger, a bomb can be deployed that wipes out all incoming projectiles on screen. However, great care must be taken when fighting enemies and bosses, since being downed by an enemy will cause power-ups to be lost. When the player does get taken down, they will drop some items that can help them get back into the fight and replenish their bombs.

At the end of a standard stage bosses will appear, fighting the player in multi-stage battles. Each boss has their own unique attack pattern, making each battle a unique challenge during the course of the two game loop. When the boss has been defeated, bonuses will be provided based on performance and remaining lives/bombs. The highest score will be added to the top of the screen, with the most recent score when getting a game over being added to the leaderboard.

Speaking of getting a game over, there is a limited amount of credits for each of the standardized game modes, meaning that it is possible to fail. Fortunately, each attempt does provide additional credits based on the progress made (there may be a way to gain infinite credits but I was unable to find it during my time playing). This cycle of replaying the game is one of Raiden IV Remix’s greatest strengths and weaknesses, becoming either a war of attrition to beat it or a challenge to improve.

The last thing I want to discuss about the game is the play styles that are available to change the experience. First is the Solo 1P and Solo 2P, where a single player takes on the challenge of Raiden IV Remix in the player one or two position. The choice of which position the player chooses has no impact on the game, with a change to the color of the ship used and the HUD on screen.

The second play style is Dual, which is just a Co-op feature where two players can work together. In this mode, players can strengthen attacks by lining up behind their partner and attacking in tandem, with different weapons providing different results. There is a competitive element to the co-op play, with a winner and loser for each cleared stage depending on who has the better percentage when bonuses are totaled up.

Finally we have the Double play style, a very special challenge mode that lets a single player play both sides simultaneously on single controller. This is a very tough feature that can punish an inexperienced player, since there is a lot of co-ordination that is required to play double. However, there is a way around this by playing with twin Joy-Cons, letting two people play with a single Con to have fun in a challenging way.

Now with the gameplay covered, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.

Controls – the controls for this release are simple but effective, with reactive inputs that don’t appear to have any lag. The button layout for shots and bombs are fully customizable with all buttons on the controller being able to be assigned. The best way to play is with an arcade stick, but it is very comfortable with the pro controller and Joy-Cons, either as a pair or a single Con.

Difficulty – there is a plethora of difficulty options for Raiden IV Remix, letting players choose an option that is appropriate for their skill level. The different difficulty options change the way that the game functions, ranging from increasing the speed of enemy fire to allowing shots to be destroyed by the player. This ability to tailor the game to fit different skill levels is a fantastic inclusion, making for one of the most accessible bullet hell shooters in recent times.

Presentation – graphically, this release is as close to the arcade original as possible with 3D sprites over rendered backgrounds. The look of the game is very polished with no issues regarding lag or frame rate, alongside the ability to play the game in Tate mode with a vertical orientation. The sound for this release features not only the original soundtrack from the arcade version, but there is a brand new arranged soundtrack. The new soundtrack is fantastic and an exclusive feature to the Switch release.

Final Thoughts – I am not the best at bullet hell shooters, but I had a fantastic time playing Raiden IV Remix. The challenge was rewarding by making me want to keep going, pushing me harder to getting closer to the beating the game on several difficulty levels. The experience is fantastic and I can happily recommend it to everyone, ranging from newbies to the bullet hell genre to diehard fans. The only issue I can find is that the punishing nature of the game may put some players off.

In the end, I give Raiden IV x MIKADO Remix a final score of 4.5/5. This is an excellent version of Raiden IV, with a gameplay loop that promotes practice to improve and then allows players to test their skills with online leaderboards. This is a great addition to the SHMUP library of the Nintendo Switch. If you want to check it out for yourself, a link to the game will be below.

Link to NA Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

Link to EU Nintendo Switch version (HERE)

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