Monday 10 May 2021

R-Type Final 2 Review (Nintendo Switch)

It’s been a long time since the last new R-Type game. We should know because we reviewed it way on the PS2 and gave it a respectable 8/10. The thought of a sequel to the original R-Type Final certainly got us and many a shooter fan excited and now it’s here via a successful kick starter campaign and it’s certainly not taking any prisoners.

For those new to the series the R-Type games are side scrolling shooters where you single handedly take on the Bydo Empire. The key gimmick of the series is the ‘Force’ unit which players attach to their ship. It acts as both a barrier and a projectile battering ram, while also be able to fire on enemies. The strategic use of the unit is key to making progress through the game and intelligent use of it can make short work of otherwise insurmountable enemies.

The other thing that the original R-Type Final was known for was the legion of unlockable ships. This idea returns in the sequel with an ever present selection of units which are unlocked by completing levels and using resources. These become more and more diverse as you make your way through the game and are remarkably different which gives players plenty to play around with in order to find the perfect one for them.

The other key thing here is this certainly feels like an R-Type game. The opening is a thrilling return that sets the scene for players blasting off to fight the enemy and the levels remain maze-like constricting nightmares where players are more likely to crash into objects or waves of enemies than be overwhelmed by a swarm of bullet hell fire. In this respect at least it does all the right things.

However, it’s far from a perfect game. The environments themselves don’t look quite right and often have a roughness to them. This paired with fairly busy background graphics mean enemies and bullets can become lost in the environment which led to many a death which we simply didn’t see coming. These types of games are certainly not the place you want to be downed in a way that seemed unfair or unavoidable and it adds a level of frustration that could easily have been avoided. It also means we have to raise the issue of accessibility again with the colour palette not friendly for colour blind players at all. The fact that restarting after death seems to take a small lifetime doesn’t help either. At least there are checkpoints and all the continues you could ever want – but don’t expect to be getting all your hard earned firepower back all at once.

The slow restarts and visual issues wouldn’t perhaps be so noticeable if the game wasn’t so absolutely, crushingly, hard. This is one of the toughest games we’ve played in a long time and it took us a significant while to even get off the first level. Once we did adapt and start making progress though the levels are never less than thrilling in a sort of ‘OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO DIE’ kind of way. It’s also worth noting that the difficulty level chosen effects the game massively with the first level moving from having to off a small alien creature to taking on series icon Dobkeratops in its full glory as you up the intensity.

Unfortunately, the branching structure of the original game which had players experiencing different versions of each level based on how they did in the previous one seems to not be implemented here. The game is also meant to have adaptive difficulty but we didn’t see much of a change during our time with it apart from the game throwing us extra continues.

Overall, R-Type Final 2 certainly isn’t a perfect game but then none of the R-type series really is. When it clicks the levels are thrilling, claustrophobic and intense and you’ll find yourself really drawn into it. But then you’ll die and it’ll take forever to reload the checkpoint and the frustration may well start to set in. It’s certainly one that fans of the series will love but it’s a somewhat harder sell to newcomers who aren’t invested in the same nostalgic way. The first R-Type Final seemed pretty much complete but this feels somewhat bitty and disjointed in places which is a real shame. That said it’s great to have the series back – but if someone could remaster the first of the two games that would be great.

Overall 7/10


  1. The game does have branching levels, stage 6 and 7 change depending on which colored capsule you grab near the end of stage 5.