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Review: R Type - One Tough Space Puppy

Review: R Type - One Tough Space Puppy

September 3, 2010


photo 1Get ready for a blast from the past, as EA brings the arcade hit R Type to the iPhone. R Type is an extremely challenging side scrolling shooter that took the hearts, and quarters of gamers back in its day. You can now enjoy this classic anywhere you are, and you don’t need to jam coins down a slot to do so. This is essentially the same game R Typers know and love. The aliens still travel in hordes, and are as still as ruthless as ever. The object of the game is to battle against aliens that come at you from all angles, while you pick up power ups and upgrades to inflict more damage. photo 1R Type is notorious for its high difficulty level, and the iPhone version holds nothing back. One thing that differentiates this port from the arcade version is controls. Coming from its arcade roots, touch controls are a big deviation from the overall experience. Will it retain the same fun factor as the original, or will the lack of physical buttons add a layer of unnecessary difficulty and frustration?


photo 3R-Type offers 3 control types which include: Touch, Tilt & Touch, and Coin-Op. Here is a rundown on how each option works: Touch allows you use your thumb anywhere on the screen to maneuver the ship. Tilt & Touch gives you the choice of the accelerometer, or your thumb to maneuver. Coin-Op adds virtual buttons to use, where the directional-pad is used to move your ship. In no way is this remix title, so R-Type looks and sounds just like the original arcade hit. There are still 8 merciless levels to zap through, with two difficulty settings, Normal, and Insane; both difficulty settings offer quite a challenge. Auto fire can be toggled as well, so if you’re a beginner, I recommend you leave it on.


The Good photo 5I was surprised to see how good this game still looks to this day. With character and level design, R Type is as visually appealing as it is addictive. Each level is unique in its own way, and offers a variety of cool looking aliens, and horrendous bosses. It doesn’t take long for R Type to show you what its packing. From the start you are thrown in before an endless army of space monsters, which multiply in no time. You have to be careful to not hit any walls or land too low, as that can add to your demise as well. You’re likely not going to breeze through this game no matter how skilled you are. With a treacherous AI, the aliens fly at you in alternate patterns, which can be only be mastered with persistence. It’s easy to see how this game ate so many quarters in its day. R-Type is not just another 80s space shooter. It utilizes a unique power up system absent from its competition. It was common for these games to have backup drones hovering around you and assisting with enemies, but R Type took it a bit further. R-Type allows you to dock the drone to either the front or the back of your ship, and serve as a buffer from attacks. It also helps you defend from rear attacks. You can also eject the drone off your ship and have it destroy anything in its path, which comes in extremely handy in this game. The Bad photoscoreAs I mentioned in the intro, the controls are what sets it apart from the original. While fairly manageable, the touch controls would often get in the way of the action. My thumb would block the field of view, and I would often miss shots coming at my ship. I hoped to alleviate this issue by using Tilt & Touch. I would use the tilt function when there was heavy action on the screen. Unfortunately, I found myself having to revert my thumb back on the screen since the accelerometer controls just didn’t seem responsive enough. Make sure you properly calibrate the sensor to your comfort from the Control Options before using. Back in the day, R Type was enjoyed on physical buttons. Seeing that there was a visual controls option, I thought I’d give it a try. To my dismay, the directional pad just plain felt stiff. I couldn’t get to the desired altitude fast enough and often found my finger sliding off the virtual D- Pad. I recommend Tilt & Touch controls. At least it will give you the option to switch from tilt to touch on the fly if need be


R Type is one of the greatest side scrolling shooters of all time. The iPhone version, despite its touch control constraints, is no exception. If you’re in the mood for some retro button mashing with loads of challenges and action, then look no further. R Type on the iPhone is as tough as its always been. Although frustrating at times, that's what makes it so special. This bad boy is definitely worth it!

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