Rigid Force Redux
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Keeping up with my horizontal shmups, introducing Rigid Force Redux by Headup Games. Fans of the horizontal shmup genre may see some influence from the likes of R-Type and Gradius. With that in mind, one must memorise levels and enemy placement to improve, then master the boss fights to advance. This previously released PC game was redeveloped for Switch with added 60FPS by com8com1. It fits well on Switch and that’s what I will be reviewing it on. LET’S BEGIN.
On the main menu the first option that sticks out is trophies. Nintendo Switch owners can find some joy in having those pop-up notifications of motivation now and then which has been great. Beyond that we have the main mission, arcade mode, and boss rush. Main mission takes on the normal game which includes the story and dialogue. I would suggest starting on normal mode unless you don’t fancy yourself a shmup player in a decent sense, otherwise you will make mistakes based on how the game runs on easy mode. Arcade mode seems to be a practice mode but I’m not sure why it shows a gauge with the score multiplier. Boss rush is interesting because it’s based on score and time. So you start in this tube where weapons and special drops can be snagged but you can choose to skip that and hop in a speed boost to get through this area quicker. It becomes a choice of balance to obtain pick-ups or speed ahead and fight without. I’m interested to see scores in this mode from the shmup community.
My first playthrough was completed in easy mode and what stuck out in hindsight was the story and the music. The story is never on my mind or my shmup friends either when playing this genre, but I found myself reading the dialogue and being okay with it. That’s saying a lot since I typically force skip it in most games. Enjoy the story for yourself but we need to get from point A to point B and destroy folks along the way. It’s forgettable but a good read for the first run nonetheless. Music is a fast-paced, pulsating, hyped-up head nod, to say the least. The energy fits the game well and certainly increases the satisfaction of gameplay. I’ve been enjoying the game in handheld mode with the volume UP.
Rigid Force Redux has a 2.5D graphic style with smooth textures and wonderful colours. Ship speed is slightly slower than my liking but movement is buttery and there is a button for slower movement which absorbs green energy for the special attack. The gun orb on the ship is an ode to R-Type and can absorb some enemy fire which works nicely in boss battles. I don’t think it absorbs all types of shots but that can be for you to figure out. Easy mode was laid back and fun then got choppy towards the level four boss. Normal mode is a whole different ball game that introduces more difficult enemies and dangerously interactive terrain. Every level completed will unlock another level in arcade mode. More progress, more motivation, more unlocked. I can’t tell if it was because of the latest Switch firmware update or the game but my battery drained QUICK even on standby, oh my goodness.
Each gun option has the ability to collapse and focus shot, then spread out and shoot wide. This is mirrored in the opposite direction using the L and R triggers. Swapping guns to the opposite side or shooting from both directions is needed when enemies flood the screen. It makes you feel like a pro when you successfully clear an area unscathed. Yellow pickup is a sort of bullet shot that once fully powered up that can decimate loads of enemies with the full gun spread engaged. The green gun pickup is very useful for tubes and closed areas since it can ricochet off walls and continue on. My favoured gun is the blue laser that has a more rapid shot and looks awesome once fully powered up with a spread shot. Shots feel satisfying and mastering areas without taking a hit feels very good. Missiles being shot in addition to whatever gun is used helps boatloads. ZR is an absorption button used to collect green dust left from destroying enemies or the environment which will fill a special meter. This can be used anytime but I prefer boss stages, so I collect and fill it up and simply wait. Keep absorbing to boost your score.
Limited continues shouldn’t be a deterrent as they will increase in time. From the main menu the game can be started from stages already completed, but this will prove to be difficult. Rigid Force Redux does this to encourage the player to start from the beginning and improve, which I agree with fully. Learn the levels and enemy entrances and stack power-ups to keep trails of baddies at bay. It feels good to continuously improve and increase the difficulty setting. This is part of the shmup appeal that is so very satisfying. I found myself naturally improving in areas that were previously frustrating so that game has done a great job in that sense.
Each boss takes on a different look and fighting tactic keeping each engagement fresh. Waves of attacks will cycle and minions will be unleashed throughout. The first large spherical boss doesn’t do much in the way of excitement but it’s only the start and each sequential boss looks and fights increasingly better, or in a more entertaining way. Mid-boss ‘core plasmoid’ is not the best example of this but it leads to a massive green ‘behemoth’ with a huge presence. NOW we’re talking! The gun core comes in handy at this point and while it may not be the most difficult enemy, it looks great. Another boss appears to be a mutated form of the previous boss but with added tentacles and new attacks. Other bosses must be found for yourself, so buy this game!
For once a shmup with a decent story to read through, in addition to fun and replayable gameplay. Shots are satisfying which is a massive requirement for a successful shmup to have. Music is great, there are high scores, other modes to play, and overall its a good game that I can recommend.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: PC, Xbox, Nintendo
Release Date: 05/06/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Shooter, Action
Publisher: Headup Games
Download link: eShop