Monday 26 June 2023

Raiden III x MIKADO MANIAX Review (Switch)

The Raiden franchise is experiencing a sort of reverse revival at the minute. Raiden V was the first release followed by IV and now III has appeared (with the arcade original also hiding on the Eshop). No doubt Raiden 2 and some of its spin off games are also on the horizon. In our view the more Raiden games we get the better as it’s an often overlooked series that hasn’t ever really had a bad game.

In terms of mode there’s nothing particularly spectacular here but you get the normal arcade mode, score attack mode and once completed a boss rush mode. You can also change a few cosmetic things such as wallpaper for the side of the screen and various life and bomb options. There’s the ability to flip the screen as well if you want to play in TATE mode. Topping off the features are of course online and local leader boards.

The game itself plays fairly similarly to the other Raiden games in that it relies on more standard blasting and survival than the many of the modern bullet hell shooters. Maximising your score comes down to chaining kills and not getting hit so it’s a stripped back affair that is quite refreshing in a lot of ways.

You have three main weapons which you can use which are equipped by coloured power ups you pick up within the levels. Each of these can be levelled up to become more and more powerful as well so knowing what you want for a particular level is key to scoring and survival. One of these weapons fires bullets in every direction while the other is a straight powerful laser. The last is the super bendy beam laser the series is famous for. You also have a classic style smart bomb and secondary missiles that fire continually.

There are seven levels in total and while they are tough, Raiden is a fair game at heart. Your ship is a little slow but then you aren’t diving through the sea of bullets that a lot of these sorts of games inflict upon you. Bosses fall much into the same category with them making you manoeuvre carefully but never fully overwhelming you. That said, it’s funny how often you seem to die despite this so it can be deceptive. And we really do wish the ship moved around a bit quicker.

The graphics looks good in both docked and handheld mode and enemy fire is distinctive enough from the backgrounds to be seen clearly. Even being colourblind we didn’t have any issue with things blending into the background. The choice of sound options are all solid and add another element for players to customise. The game does slow down in places but there’s a whole different debate to be had about how slowdown in retro shooters effects the gameplay. Personally, we would like to see it ironed out but there will many happy that the game plays in the way it always has.

Overall, this revival of Raiden III is most welcome and will be essential for fans of the series. We do prefer both Raiden IV and V as they are a bit more polished and distinctive but then that’s to be expected as we are going back through the series in reverse. On its own merit it’s a fun and solid shooter that offers a lot to veterans while also being accessible enough to newcomers and more casual fans who just want to blast away for short bursts every now and then.

Overall 8/10

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