Ah, the simpler times of the late 80s and 90s arcade classics such as Galaga space fighter games have been a staple the rise of the home console bring Shmups (short for Shoot ’em ups) like R-Type home a lot more frantic and fast past entry to the genre compare to its competitors and many sleepless nights for gamers everywhere. As arcades began to fade and hardware developed enough to implement 3D or at least emulate it more, games move to 3d platformer style even early FPS. Of course, while these games got more popular, humble shmups of old saw somewhat a decrease in popularity but this doesn’t mean they faded into history and obscurity, in fact, quite the opposite, they stuck around carving out their own niche on the market. For those looking to have their reaction time and split-second decision making tested in a way, only a Shmup can achieve, Rigid Force Redux from published by Headup Games and developed by com8com1 is one such title. A side-scrolling shmup with a 3D graphics update (well more 2.5D this is a side scroller after all!) from the Shump games of old which is nice to see another nice addition here is the inclusion of a tutorial. While this may not seem like a huge addition, for those looking to get their feet wet in the genre it’s a great addition. Many other titles in the genre, like their roots in the arcade, would rather thrust you straight into the action, forgoing a tutorial so the addition of a tutorial is great and does a good job at teaching you the basic mechanics, as well as some new ones to the classic formula that brings rigid force, brings to the table.
Being a side-scrolling shooter in Rigid Force Redux you’ll be doing just that as you take your new top of the line ship The Rigid Force and you shipboard A.I PSYE to various planets and locations to eradicate alien threats, collecting weapon power-ups and doing your best to avoid terrain and projectiles as you blast your way through.
Even so with only 6 missions and a boss stage at the end of each mission each being different and adding some variety, each, however, offers little in there own sadly. It’s also very short which doesn’t really give it anytime to be expanded upon but ultimately your here to shoot things which while it lasts is a blast.
Thankfully, in terms of gameplay, Rigid Force is solid. As a shmup it has all the things you would come to expect, you can move left and right, up and down to avoid enemies and incoming fire, you can use your standard Cannon by pressing B.
This can of course be upgraded with pickups to a green bouncy shot that ricochets off hard surfaces , a yellow multi directional cone, or a blue straight line rapid fire cannon. They are pretty standard affair in shmups but you can also pick up some more explosive payloads such as bombs and missiles that fire as you let off your cannon, you also get the option of a screen wipe type attack by holding down the X button – this will wipeout more or less anything in your arc of attack including projectiles. This is great for bosses dealing massive damage and larger enemy’s or when you need to avoid damage from a bunch of projectiles this has to be charged though which is done by destroying enemy’s and collecting green orbs they drop.
You can pull these towards you too with the right trigger, although this does slow your ship down so should be cautiously as this does leave you vulnerable to attack. The most notable feature Rigid force brings to the table though is the ability collect upgrade modules up too 4 which form up in front of your ship, these add additional firing points from your ship even allowing you to move them to different points of your ship allowing you to fire from the front and also behind for example this really comes in handy particularly as Rigid Force often throws enemies at you from behind too.
Luckily if you are unfortunately hit you have a shield that allows you take up to three dings before having you restart the level with a classic arcade “continue?” You can do this four times in total per run.
The music is also great here if you’re a fan of synthwave music provided by DREAMTIME and featuring Michael Crait, its fast past and intense and goes hand in hand with the rapid combat on offer and helps to keep you engaged in the action. On the other hand, one bug did keep taking me out of the action occasionally when picking up a power-up a large black pixelated box or boxes would appear around the addition turrets, on my ship this ended up being severely irritating as it blocked my ability to see projectiles or enemies too close to my ship often resulting in a hit, which is a game all around avoiding Incoming damage while dishing out your own is a big issue and hopefully it is patched soon.
Rigid Force Redux is a fun and competent solid shmup with some nice and subtle changes to the formula and great soundtrack to boot, unfortunately, for the most part, it plays it safe not shaking up the formula too much from story to gameplay and for some this may be considered a pro or a con. It also does suffer from lack of content and longevity in total having six campaign stages, and arcade mode and boss rush mode great if going for high scores are your thing! Of course, the previously mentioned bug too is a fairly big problem in this sort of game too.