It was over five years ago that I first reviewed Raiden V for my channel and now here I am going in reverse and taking a look at Raiden IV.

For those unfamiliar with this series, Raiden is a vertical scrolling shoot ‘em up full of the genre staples like bullets flying everywhere, flashy attacks going off, and some absolutely stellar music. This release in particular does really well on the music front. The whole “MIKADO Remix” part of the title comes from the fact that the entire soundtrack has been newly remixed by Mikado Game Center and they did a great job there. The base soundtrack is already some good stuff – and you’re still able to swap between the two music styles – but the new music is some really energizing stuff, matching the chaotic gameplay to a T.

As for other new additions, there’s now online leaderboards, but that’s pretty much it. This is practically an identical release to the previous version Raiden IV: OverKill. The difference now being the branding and the addition of the new music, so if you already own that version, you’re probably better off just not bothering with this one, but if you’re a first time player like myself, then maybe give it a look.

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Because yes, the gameplay is just as fun as ever. For being as short as it is (arcade mode takes roughly an hour to clear), the enemy variety is solid and offers up a ton of different bullet patterns to learn. The bosses exemplify this and come with all the usual multiple stages and absolutely ridiculous ship designs. The graphics in general really brought me back to the arcade era, earlier than even when the first version of this game released back in 2007. They kinda nailed that aesthetic and also did a good job making the bullets visible from the background, a problem I had in Raiden V that I didn’t really notice myself having here.

The level variety is pretty good, the movement and shooting is snappy and responsive, and really, it’s just a polished shoot ‘em up all around. The mechanics mesh well with each other and it didn’t feel overly slow or repetitive like a lot of others in this genre end up being. The series has been around since 1990, so you could say that it has had some time to develop all of this and Raiden IV is an excellent example of that progression.

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It’s also way more accessible and customizable than I thought it was going to be. There are a bunch of difficulty options to choose from and you can even tackle the different modes with a second player or even control that second ship yourself simultaneously with the first if you want to go at it solo but still have the advantage of two ships. There are three ships to choose from, including the fairy which was previously only available via DLC (this game packages all of the DLC together into one).

You can even swap the screen to vertical and play that way. It took a bit of tinkering, but I managed to do so on my vertical monitor and had a lot of fun playing through it that way remotely with another player over Parsec. Otherwise, the game runs just as well horizontally and it actually works just fine at 4k. Granted, the assets are obviously not up to that scale, but at least it wasn’t painfully stretched to accommodate for that resolution.

Content-wise, there are a bunch of modes to choose from outside of just the usual OverKill mode. You can also take on Additional Mode, Score Attack, Arcade, and even save replays and other data from each of these for future viewing. They’re all the same gameplay-wise, but each offers up a new slight twist to the formula to make the game more appealing for repeat players.

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So yes, I would recommend Raiden IV x MIKADO Remix. The gameplay is fast and fun, the graphics and music are a good combo, and all the game modes and bonus features are nice to have as well. The only caveat here being that it is quite literally the same game as the previous OverKill version, so if you already own that, there’s really not much reason to get this one other than the new music and leaderboards. Otherwise, a pretty solid pickup for shoot ‘em up fans.

Quote: Raiden IV x MIKADO Remix is fast and fun, has some good graphics/music, and all the game modes and bonus features are nice too. Worth a look for those that haven’t already played the OverKill version.

Raiden IV x MIKADO Remix retails for $30 USD on Steam. It is also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Switch.

I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.