Anime Review Shooter

Raiden IV x Mikado Remix – Review

Few shoot-em-ups carry as much recognition and heft as Raiden. Gracing both Arcades and home consoles, Raiden’s mix of high challenge, slapping music, and iconic red and green sprite is known the world over. Unfortunately, Raiden has fallen on some hard times recently with Raiden V being a particularly poor entry in the venerable series. But how does Raiden IV x Mikado Remix hold up?

Raiden IV x Mikado Remix - Wide Beam

It’s 2007 All Over Again

Well, Raiden IV has been released, and re-released over the years, with each iteration adding to the already established Raiden formula. The impressively named Raiden IV x Mikado Remix takes all of these releases, blends them into one complete package, and then adds a few gubbins to round it all out. It almost goes without saying, but this version of Raiden IV is the best Raiden IV (and possibly Raiden as a whole) has ever been. 

Like every Raiden before it, Raiden IV x Mikado Remix is a vertical shooter. This means a long play area that is a tad claustrophobic if you spend too much time looking at the sides. The base game is played over a handful of stages, with each stage requiring you to dodge enemy projectiles and unleash all manner of mayhem. What makes Raiden unique is its ardent refusal to become a bullet hell, whilst maintaining a staggeringly high bullet density – especially on higher difficulties.

Instead of navigating complex labyrinths of reflex-testing, brain-bending bullet patterns, Raiden relies on aimed shots. If you stay still for even a second, you are going to find dozens of fast-moving bullets hurtling directly towards you. This gives Raiden a very energetic feel. There is less of a focus on fine movements and dominating space, and more about moving around the playspace and taking out enemies quickly. I found myself being glued to the bottom of the screen more often than not – desperately avoiding being cornered.

Be A Pain In The Arse(nal)

To help you out, Raiden IV has a few weapons you can nab, which change how you play the game. Your standard shot, the Vulcan, is a wide-spread machine gun that peppers the enemy with individually weak bullets. The Ion Laser has a narrow damage zone but deals incredible damage. Finally, the Proton Laser latches onto enemies and swirls around in a chaotic barrage of purple toothpaste. Each weapon has its uses and learning what scenarios favor what weapon is pretty darn important. Each weapon can also be powered up, greatly increasing its damage and altering its properties.

To help out your piddly little fighter, Raiden IV also comes with sub-weapons. These are also rockets of some description, although each one operates slightly differently. Missiles are just dumb shots that go in a straight line for high damage, Radar Missiles have light tracking and deal respectable damage, whilst the Homing Missile will hit something, no matter where it is, for low damage. Again, each one is useful in its own right, and combing the right sub-weapon with the right main weapon can really help you through sticky situations. Homing missiles, for example, cover all of the Ion Laser’s weaknesses.

The final piece of the Raiden IV weapon puzzle is the humble bomb. Bombs more or less wipe a screen of popcorn enemies and erase all bullets from play. This is your panic button. If you find yourself being overwhelmed, or if a boss is getting a bit feisty with its pattern, drop a bomb and take a breather. You start with three bombs, and Raiden is more than happy to keep you topped over the course of a stage. You can’t spam them, but there are more than enough in your stockpile to keep you feeling safe.

Oodles and Oodles Of Things

All of these little things combine to make an extremely satisfying shoot-em-up. Enemies come into view at high speeds, they unleash their loads, and you gun them down without hesitation. It’s fast, frantic, and frickin’ fantastic. Each stage throws in new challenges, whether that be new enemies, mid-bosses, or even challenges. You may start your life flying over fields and seas, but by the end, you’re raiding ancient temples and blasting into space.

Arcade is your standard mode, and it comes in two variants – Light and Original. Light is a shorter affair and slightly easier, whilst original is balls to the wall hard. Outside of this, you have Overkill Mode, which completely overhauls the scoring system and adds in a couple of bonus levels for good measure. The Additional Mode is just Arcade, but with Overkill’s bonus levels. We aren’t done yet though, Score Attack lets you play any stage, in any mode, and practice. 

But wait, there’s more. Each mode – even Light and Original Arcade – can have its difficulty tweaked. This allows players to dabble in the hardest possible version of Raiden IV’s easiest mode, or the easiest variant of its hardest – and anything in between. This is accessibility done right, but don’t mistake that for an easy game. Raiden IV x Mikado Remix is hard as nails, even with that dial turned right down, and it will take you a few attempts to see the end.

Raiden IV x Mikado Remix - Blue Laser

Multiplayer Mayhem

What if I told you there’s even more? Raiden IV x Mikado Remix has two-player local co-op, allowing you to jump in with a mate and play together. The game also has a mode that allows you to play any mode in single-player but controlling two ships at once. Just going to say this now, this mode can melt brains – the perfect challenge for the thrill-seekers out there. Finally, it has three ships to mess around with, with each ship having slightly different handling, spreads, and all that good stuff. The Fairy (a “ship”) throws all the rules out the window too, giving you a bunch of new weapons to play with.

Raiden IV is truly jam-packed with content and ways to play. But the Mikado Remix does one extra thing that truly sells the package – it gives you a whole new soundtrack to listen to. Raiden IV always had an amazing set of tunes, and this new soundtrack is just as good – if not better. Regardless of what you listen to, this stuff is going to get your blood pumping. 

Graphics are Raiden IV’s weakest aspect. This is because the game is pretty old now. I mean, this is the same game that was released way back in 2007 with extra bits added on. Thankfully the game runs beautifully in both handheld and docked modes. More importantly than even this, players burned by Raiden V’s messy interface and janky bullet visibility can rest easy knowing Raiden IV x Mikado Remix suffers from neither of these things. The game is incredibly clean, and visibility is rarely, if ever, an issue.

Raiden IV x Mikado Remix - Spiral


Raiden IV x Mikado Remix is a return to form for the flailing Raiden series. Age be damned, Raiden IV’s core gameplay still holds up – the additional content on offer here is just the cherry on an already scrumptious cake. Fans of the genre should jump on this release, and newcomers can gently slide into the game thanks to its myriad of accessibility options. 


Platforms: Nintendo Switch

If you would like to see more Shooters, you may be interested in our review of Cotton Reboot.

Many thanks go to PQube for a Nintendo Switch review code for this title.

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