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Rigid Force Alpha

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 14 - 2018

Old school shooty with a new school look.

Revisiting the past is rarely a good idea, especially when it comes to video games. That game that you played ten, twenty, or even thirty years ago will not feel as much fun now as it did then. Sadly, that’s pretty much a fact. Yet many developers will spend their time chasing the feeling that older games provided in their latest project. For some games it may work, but for most it won’t.

rfa1 (Copy)

And so we come to com8com1 Software, developers of Rigid Force Alpha. This is your classic side-scrolling shoot ’em up with a modern coat of paint. Channelling the spirit of games such as R-Type and Gradius V, Rigid Force Alpha brings all of those frustrations, and the thrills, of the shmup to modern gamers, and it bucks the trend by working marvellously.

Taking control of the most awesome Rigid Force Alpha ship, the player will answer a distress call and then grind their way through six levels of alien menace in an old school style. This will mean moving along, at speed, and shooting pretty much anything that moves, all while avoiding being shot themselves. The gameplay here is pure retro, meaning that things can go wrong very quickly and leave the player having to start again from scratch.

There are different difficulty levels available, which can take the sting out of the games’ unrelenting onslaught. Players have three lives with which to approach the game, and then some credits to continue once all of the lives are gone. The number of credits vary depending on the difficulty chosen, and once all of the credits are gone, the player will have to start the game again from the very beginning, harnessing the feeling of playing games such as this at the arcade.

No matter the difficulty level, it is quite brutal. The levels are all pre-designed, so players will be able to learn from their mistakes and know what is coming for subsequent playthroughs. It may only be six levels, but they include the likes of bosses to make things more interesting. Depending on the skill of the player, and the chosen difficulty level, the story can be completed in less than a couple of hours, which may not seem like much, but damn it is exhilarating.

rfa2 (Copy)

And besides, the game doesn’t stop there, as each level completed will unlock that level in the arcade mode. In arcade mode, it is the same gameplay, but all about the score with multipliers and bonuses enticing the player to run through the level time and again to improve their score. It doesn’t stop there though, as finishing the story will also unlock a boss rush mode, challenging the player to work through all of the games bosses in the ultimate boss fight. There is a nice chunk of replayability here, further extending the excellent gameplay.

It is the gameplay where Rigid Force Alpha really shines. As is often the case, it is simple to understand, but difficult to master. The player will shoot forward with their little ship, avoiding incoming fire along the way. Movement is quick and responsive, allowing the player to move away from hazards. Energy can be collected to power charged attacks. Some enemies will drop power ups that change the main weapon, and drones can be collected that hover alongside the main ship. These can be moved around to fire in different directions, or provide some level of protection for the main ship. There is also a secondary weapon that further builds the players arsenal.

In keeping with the old school rules, losing a life will mean losing any upgrades that the player has collected to that point. This can be devastating, especially when trying to take on a boss with the basic level of weaponry. But then the thrill of getting through a level without losing a life, or any upgrades, is all the sweeter when it does happen.

So far, the game has been very much as you would expect from a retro title. However, where things come kicking and screaming into the modern world, is in the visuals and sound. While the action may only move in the two dimensions, glorious 3D models bring the action to life. Combine this with stunning, highly polished environments and the result is a very good looking game that doesn’t feel out of place on a modern PC. Now, I am old enough to admit that I have no idea what synthwave is, but the electronic soundtrack certainly suits the upbeat, often frantic, nature of the game.

rfa3 (Copy)

Rigid Force Alpha is not only a call back to gaming of old, but also a reminder of just how much fun the shoot ’em up can be. It’s fast, it’s frantic, it’s often frustrating, but oh so satisfying when things work out. I would say that it is a little pricey, and the main story is quite short, but the extra modes will keep score chasers coming back for more. Rigid Force Alpha is a very good looking modern take on an older game style that would perfectly suit fans of the genre, or those looking for simple fun.





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