Irem's classic alien-blasting shoot 'em up has been around for over 30 years and now, Switch owners can finally enjoy the first couple R-Type games in one convenient package. Do you have what it takes to stop the evil Bydo Empire?
I absolutely love the R-Type series and have been playing it for almost as long as it's existed. R-Type Dimensions contains the first 2 games in the franchise and it's been entertaining shmup fans since 2009 when it debuted on Xbox 360. So, in a way, this collection is sort of retro on its own. Anyway, what makes the compilation special is that you can switch between 2D and 3D visuals on the fly with the tap of a button. This allows you to play through the games in their classic iterations as well as a modern interpretation. Even as a retro fanatic, I must say that you really can't go wrong with either style. Some other cool features include achievements, online leaderboards, and the ability to play with a friend in local co-op multiplayer. It really is a solid compilation and a must-have for any shmup fan.
If you're unfamiliar with the franchise, allow me to explain what's awesome about R-Type and R-Type II. Debuting in 1987 and 1989, respectively, R-Type originally released just a couple of years after Konami's genre-defining Gradius. Whereas Gradius had an innovative power-up meter, R-Type introduced genre fans to a whole new layer of strategy with its Force unit mechanic. Basically, you can collect, detach, and attach an invincible orb to your ship that grants you more firepower when attached and allows you to attack difficult to reach enemies when detached. This element made R-Type stand out in the oversaturated genre and its awesome music, stage designs, boss fights, and power-ups remain incredibly enjoyable even today. Having both original games in one collection is just fantastic.
Considering I still own R-Type Dimensions on Xbox 360, I booted it up and compared it to R-Type Dimensions EX on Switch. Aside from the portability and unique rumble functionality of the Switch, the only differences that I found were a couple of additions to Infinite Mode. Before I get to that, I should mention that you can either play in Infinite Mode or Classic Mode. The former is an easier variation for genre newbies while the latter provides a classic level of challenge. Anyway, the differences are that you can now slow down or speed up time and you can also instantly equip your ship with maximum firepower by the tap of a button. Unfortunately, the ability to do so simply feels like cheating and with no variation that disables this feature, there's really no middle ground between the easy-as-pie Infinite Mode and the super-challenging Classic Mode. Needless to say, I wish there was a Classic Infinite Mode as well.
Aside from the few additions in this Switch version, there really isn't any reason to purchase R-Type Dimensions EX if you already own the original on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 (which is backward compatible with Xbox One). Of course, if you don't own those systems or want to play on-the-go then this release is definitely worth picking up. Also, the slow-motion and fast-forward functionality is admittedly pretty cool and using it to speed through easy portions or carefully weave through congested screens can be quite exciting.
R-Type Dimensions has been around for almost a decade and this EX edition doesn't really add anything substantial to the compilation. That being said, these are still two of the best shoot 'em ups ever made.
- + Contains 2 defining shmups in one comprehensive package
- + Swapping between 2D and 3D is awesome
- + A few cool Switch additions
- - Not enough has been added since the original R-Type Dimensions release
- - The included version of Infinite Mode feels like cheating more than ever