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Review: Raiden IV x Mikado Remix – Another Astoundingly Good Shmup For Switch

Mix it up.

Back in the late eighties when 2D shooting games were a dominant form rather than a somewhat niche genre, a particular kind of shmup became very popular indeed. While the likes of Capcom’s 1942 certainly set the groundwork, the success of Toaplan’s separate 1987 arcade releases Twin Cobra and Flying Shark made hard-nosed, unembellished military shooting games very popular indeed. In the following two years came the likes of Twin Eagle, Meta Fox, Fighting Hawk, and Toaplan’s own Fire Shark and Twin Hawk.

By 1990, a Tokyo-based studio named Seibu Kaihatsu put a well-needed spin on what had become something of a shooting game trope. Rather than adding another straight-down-the-middle military shooter to the pile – and resisting any titular references to hawks, eagles, sharks or twins – the studio seasoned Toaplan’s recipe with sci-fi. Raiden had arrived, and while set in a distant future, it inherited much of the DNA from Twin Cobra and its ilk. It was mechanically straightforward, had a knack for encouraging dramatic play styles, and carried a hard-boiled tone that was captivating and intimidating in equal measure. Over thirty years on, Raiden is still with us, and a few spin-off games aside, it has never lost that play feel. Which brings us to Raiden IV x Mikado Remix, the latest release in the series.

Before tucking into the detail, if the title sounds familiar, this is hardly the first time Raiden IV has been released. The 2007 arcade original was quickly followed up by a very respectful Xbox 360 port the following year. Then, in 2014, came Raiden IV Overkill, initially for PS3 and soon thereafter PC, introducing a new scoring model that significantly shifted the flow and feel of Raiden IV – namely the Overkill system.

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