Thanks to UFO Interactive for the review code
Title: Raiden IV X MIKADO Remix
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 05/06/2021
In this enhanced port of Raiden IV OVERKILL, you take control of the raiden ship as you set out into space to defeat an enemy army! Not much plot to the game, per the norm from the series.
Raiden IV continues the trend set by MOSS for Raiden III, which took the vertical shooting series into a 2.5D perspective. Of the three Moss games, Raiden IV looked the best when it originally came out, and Mikado Remix is no exception: the 3D models may look a bit jaggy and old, but they get the job done and the presentation is still handled pretty damn well, with cool stage and enemy designs and visually satisfying powerups.
Even better, unlike the port of Raiden V, this port of IV includes the option to rotate the entire game sideways, meaning that you can play it in vertical mode for a sharper, cleaner view. Playing portably in this fashion via the flip grip, and it’s an excellent looking shooter!
On the music front, the soundtrack is excellent, in the multiple forms included in the game! You have the OST for the original arcade mode, which is energetic and packed with punch, the OST for Overkill mode, which isn’t really as strong, but still decent, and the new remixes from MIKADO, which take both of those OSTs and ramp them up to 11! Lots of talented musicians give great remixes to both soundtracks, and help boost Overkill’s OST to memorable status. Definitively a great addition to this version for sure.
Raiden IV follows in the footsteps of the franchise, and plays as a vertical shooter where the main goal is to defeat the boss at the end of each stage. Per the norm, you have a simple control scheme, with only shot and bomb buttons, three playable characters with different weapons granted by the powerups (The Raiden IV ship, the Raiden I ship, and a Fairy that uses some interesting weaponry), leading to a very easy to grasp setup. Based off Raiden IV Overkill, which added some extra content including the titular mode, this version of Raiden IV offers quite a bit of modes for shooting fans to enjoy.
You have Arcade mode, the original assortment of five stages where the scoring system is chain-based, meaning if you rack up a bunch of enemy kills in a row, your multiplier increases, adding a basic, yet fun way of boosting your score. There’s also Additional mode, which adds two new stages on top of the arcade mode structure, Overkill Mode, where the focus changes from chaining enemies to raising their overkill meter before they fully explode in order to get bigger point bonuses, a Score Attack mode that forces you on default settings with the Overkill mode, and finally, a Boss Rush mode where you take on the end bosses of each stage one after another.
Each mode offers their own benefits and leaderboards, and all allow for a range of difficulty, starting from a mode where the enemies literally cannot shoot you (thus meaning you can only die from collisions), to an Ultimate setting where it’s bullet hell with all sorts of grazing to master. This range of difficulty, along with the ability to start at any stage you reach, leads to a surprising amount of accessibility for a shooter, making this a fun game you can play any way you want, basically.
This even extends to the multiplayer features, since while you have the expected local co-op, there’s this weird mode called Double, where one player controls both ships at once with the same controller, leading to a pretty chaotic experience. Alternatively, you could even use this as a means to have two people huddle up around one controller, for a new way to play the mode. It’s an interesting option to say the least, and is yet another fun way to chase scores.
In fact, this game is very scorechaser focused, which is really good for replay value, despite the unfortunate absence of the achievements from the PS3/PC versions of the game, which offered additional challenges. Each mode has plenty of means to rack up those points, and the score attack mode is a perfect way to test your skills with the rest of the world. Along with that, you have local leaderboards for every single mode and difficulty, leading to tons upon tons of means to best your scores in any possible combination. You even have an awesome replay feature, which allows you to watch your entire run up to the moment you game overed, allowing you to look back on old runs or take notes on your mistakes to improve upon them.
In conclusion, RAIDEN IV is a great shooter, and ported in a near-perfect fashion here on Switch. Including all the content from Overkill sans achievements, and benefitting from the addition of a vertical mode and awesome remixes, this is the ultimate port of the game by far, even if the lack of achievements do sting quite a bit, being the single missing piece to an otherwise perfect puzzle of a port. The level design is enjoyable, Score Attack is a bliss to play, and the sheer amount of customizable options makes this a shooter anyone can get into, and easily is the best of the MOSS Raiden games.
With how accessible this entry is, the amount of fun scorechasing modes to enjoy, and online leaderboards and stage selects to mess with, Raiden IV X Mikado Remix is absolutely a shmup worth picking up for $30, and is a must-own for that price. Even if you own Overkill on another platform, I argue that this is still a must-buy for the vertical mode support alone, since it helps make the game so much better here on Switch.
I give RAIDEN IV X MIKADO REMIX an 8 out of 10.