RXN -Raijin- Review

Developed by GULTI Co., Ltd.
Published by KAYAC
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch


RXN -Raijin- is a new take on the vertical scrolling shoot-’em’-up genre from Japanese developer Gulti. Gulti’s history includes co-developing the cult shooter Mamoru-kun Curse and developing 0 Day Attack on Earth. While it generally does not stray far from genre conventions, RXN contains a few interesting departures from the norm. With a satisfying arsenal of weapons and a few tricks up its sleeve, RXN provides an amusing take on the genre for the Nintendo Switch.

RXN -Raijin-RXN is a space journey in which a crew of pilots venture to combat foreign threats. These threats include the Ulka, an ethereal race seemingly capable of materializing out of nowhere. The pilots’ conflict intensifies as they attempt to pursue an enigmatic personality that taunts the crew and detests mankind. As the crew journeys to new abstract areas, they learn more about the strange surrounding phenomena. Despite its similarity to other shoot-’em-up narratives, RXN’s plot provides enough diversions to drive the action in an amusing way.

RXN -Raijin-RXN handles similarly to many other vertically scrolling shoot-’em’-ups. The player picks a stage and a character before venturing into a familiar flow of shooting enemies and dodging incoming firepower. With eight-way movement and automatic rapid-fire when holding down any weapon button, the controls are quite simple. Survival hinges upon reading enemy bullet patterns and weaving through lanes and gaps accordingly. These patterns can consist of spiraling configurations that fill the screen, but the density is reasonable and readable if a bit sporadic. Much like many contemporary shoot-’em-up titles, the hitbox is actually only the small glowing center of the ship, which helps players maneuver through incoming fire. However, the ship has one movement speed, and carefully flying through tight spaces can feel somewhat awkward at times.

RXN -Raijin-A few other mechanics diversify players’ arsenal. Each of the three playable ships possesses three unique weapons that can be used at any time. These weapons include standard spread shots and missile barrages, but they also include triple swords and other vibrant attacks. As players constantly inflict damage, they build a chain that increases shot size. This firepower gradually diminishes if players do not shoot anything. The game’s take on the established screen-clearing bomb mechanic is also a little different. The “kakusei” button causes the player’s ship to transform into a humanoid robot that unleashes spectacular lasers and momentarily slows enemies down. Doing so sacrifices a third of the player’s overall health meter, but the payoff is often worth it.

RXN -Raijin-While much of the audiovisual experience is decently constructed, it can also feel basic and sparse. The backdrops consist of looping architectural elements that appear futuristic and otherworldly. While the dynamic angles and strange imagery can occasionally be interesting, the landscapes are generally plain. Furthermore, the stage tunes are upbeat and synth-driven, but they consist of short loops that can repeat a bit too often. The most striking audio element is how each stage has constant crew chatter. These lines are fully voiced in Japanese, and the delivery is often energetic and lively. Unfortunately, reading the game’s subtitles can feel a little strange in the heat of battle. Players would normally focus on their ship rather than reading text in the upper right corner of the screen. While the character design is standard fare, the illustrations are fairly well crafted. The characters’ expressions provide dynamism throughout each stage. The mech design is also compellingly detailed despite feeling a bit ordinary. A nice graphical touch is how a four-icon overlay matches the weapon layout on the controller’s face buttons. Using a weapon will cause its corresponding icon to light up, which is an interesting effect.

Despite its simplicity, RXN’s play experience can sometimes feel inconsistent. While the game includes fifty stages, many are quite short and feel as if they could have been sections of a longer level. Furthermore, these stages also include branching paths, but sometimes these paths can feel similar. Nonetheless, the game provides a bit of replay value as it tracks each stage’s high score. Each stage also allows players to acquire six different collectible items in order to level up each character, but the benefits can seem ambiguous. These collectibles’ sheer vibrancy can lead to rather chaotic circumstances especially since the screen can be full of bullets as well. Another unexpected element is how the game deploys considerable slowdown as bullets fill the screen. While the game is generally smooth enough to be playable, these dips can feel a little surprising given the twitch-focused nature of the genre.


RXN -Raijin-


RXN -Raijin-’s take on the shoot-’em-up genre feels familiar, but a handful of its ideas still lead to an amusing experience. The weapon diversity and voiced dialogue are fairly compelling, and the use of transforming ships meshes well with the action. However, the overall experience can feel a bit sparse with its short stages and repeating audiovisual elements. Regardless, the game does provide a fair amount of replayability, and it expands the Switch’s growing library of shoot-’em’-up titles.