Shoot & Dodge
Blasting its way on to the Switch eShop is RXN-Raijin. Developed by GULTI, this title in the beloved schmup genre enters in a quite crowded market space and has a lot of other titles to contend with when it comes to parting you from your cash.
The schmup genre (or shoot em up for those not in the know) is a genre that has been around for nearly as long as video games have been. The premise is simple: you shoot and you dodge and then you fight a boss. You also tend to die a fair few times along the way. Whilst most will see you pilot an aircraft some also see you running and gunning like the famous Metal Slug and Contra. RXN-Raijin is the former and sees you take control of one of three mechs to take the fight to the bad guys.
This selection of three different mechs is quite the double edged sword. On the one hand each mech features totally different set of weaponry from the others, making each one play totally different and giving a great breath of fresh air when compared to the last one. Each ship has three basic weapons that correspond to a certain colour that can be used to exploit enemy weaknesses and as you fire a weapon they will also power up for a brief period of time. Each ship also has a special attack that eats away a bar of your heath, but unleashes a devastating attack that will clear away all enemies on screen. It all sounds like great stuff and honestly this part of the game is, but a feature added into the game throws a total spanner in the works and real grinds everything to a halt… A level-up system.
I’ve always been quite partial to a bit of leveling up in my games. However, I think anyone who plays RXN-Raijin will agree that the system is totally out of place. Leveling up takes a while and will force you to repeat earlier mind numbing stages to get other ships up to the same level as the one you’ve been using. Then there really isn’t much of a bonus to leveling up a mech besides having good enough stats to take on later levels, there are no upgrades of any sorts to acquire and sadly some of the bosses are clearly tailored to be fought by specific mechs which essentially force you to level up another craft or prepare for a very long and drawn out boss fight. It seems like a glaring design flaw in the title and one that really does hinder the flow of the game.
Apart from who you play as, who you play against is a major part of any decent schmup and throughout the entirety of this pretty lengthy journey you’ll take on a vast array of different enemies. Starting off with the most basic of cannon fodder till you progress onwards to bullet spewing hordes of terror that will force you to find a gap between the smallest of spaces to try and cling to survival. Nothing the game throws at you reinvents the wheel in terms on mechanics and the designs of the enemies aren’t stellar, but they do their job and make for excellent target practice.
Moving on the from the grunts are the screen filling bosses and these weren’t anything too spectacular. As I mentioned before, some do seem tailor made for certain mechs which made some encounters a real chore to overcome, but despite having a seriously prolonged battle they never seemed too threatening. At least not until later on in the game.
One thing for certain is that RXN-Raijin does offer quite the massive adventure. Standing in at 50 levels there certainly is a lot for you to sink your teeth in once you take into account racking up higher scores on previous levels. However, it does feel like the developers could have cut the the level amount in half and double the length of each level as some seem to end before they’ve even begun. It just feels incredibly odd, I never did time some of the shorter ones, but we are talking some levels taking less than two minutes. The game does offer branching paths, but I must admit that is being generous with the term.
Apart from the main adventure, RXN-Raijin has nothing else to offer. The game has Japanese text as default which I found to be quite odd, but it’s easy enough to set to English. Then it has no English dub and features a Japanese cast. The story is? I do not know. It plays out in text boxes during the levels so it is impossible to read as you have to dodge through a sea of lasers, but that then leads me on to my final point and that is once the screen begins to get cluttered you can expect some consistent slowdown in the framerate. It’s a shame that it is present, but it is there and baffling that it was never dealt with before release.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for RXN-Raijin was provided by Kayac.