Review – R-Type Dimensions EX

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve might noticed that I’m a big fan of shoot ’em ups. There’s just something about that genre that clicks with me: the simplicity, the designs, the stupid amount of bullets onscreen, the test of reflexes that the genre provides to players. R-Type is one of the main names of the genre, one which hasn’t seen a new release in ages. The last time an R-Type game saw the light of day, Michael Jackson was still alive, the only thing called The Last of Us was probably some album by a random emo band, and the world was undergoing a massive economic recession. The same game released nearly a decade ago, R-Type Dimensions EX, has finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch, but I have to admit that it feels right at home in this system.


H. R. Giger sends his regards.

R-Type Dimensions EX is a compilation of the first two R-Type arcade games with revamped visuals and a brand new soundtrack. This collection reminded me of another great retro revival title I played on the Switch a while back, Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. You can alternate between old-school and remastered looks with the press of a button, as the core gameplay remains largely unchanged. You shoot everything in sight until the game tells you to stop, all while avoiding dying by getting shot or by touching pretty much anything that isn’t a powerup.

When it comes to how the game got remastered, the soundtrack is easily the highlight. The original R-Type soundtracks were good, but they weren’t very upbeat. Maybe that was due to the limitations of soundchips from 30 years ago, but those tunes lacked percussion and an “oomph” factor. The remastered tunes feel a lot more energetic, motivating, and above anything else, epic. Same can’t be said about the graphics. Don’t get me wrong, they are decent and the framerate is always rock-solid, but this is where R-Type Dimensions EX shows its age. It looks like an Xbox Live Arcade title from the late 2000’s… because it was originally an Xbox Live Arcade title from the late 2000’s. It’s not going to age nowhere near as gracefully as Wonder Boy‘s remastered visuals.


You can always revert back to classic graphics. They look great on handheld mode.

The R-Type games were infamous for their difficulty. You had very limited lives and the most pathetic shields a spacecraft has ever been equipped with. Those were far from the most newcomer-friendly shooters, but the developers had a great idea to allow newcomers to enjoy these games while giving experienced players a new way to compete against each other: Infinite Mode. As the name implies, Infinite Mode gives you unlimited lives. It doesn’t matter how terrible you are at shoot ’em ups; you will be able to reach the end of both games included in this collection. The new catch in this mode is how the leaderboards are set up, as the game counts how many lives you used to reach the end of each title. I have to admit, that was a genius move. Kudos to Tozai for coming up with this great idea.


I died a lot in this level. I didn’t care.

R-Type Dimensions EX is a perfect fit for the Switch due to its fast-paced gameplay and arcade nature. The developers have managed to come up with a brand new way for both newcomers and veterans to enjoy those insanely difficult games without the need of throwing the handheld across the room in frustration. In a console filled to the brim with excellent shoot ’em up titles, R-Type Dimensions EX stands out as one of the best offerings so far.


Graphics: 7.0

The polygonal visuals are good for the most part, even if they clearly look like a last-gen outing. The framerate is rock-solid.

Gameplay: 8.5

The button placement is a bit weird, but the overall gameplay and responsiveness is top notch. Alternating between original and remastered visuals can be done with one simple button press.

Sound: 9.0

The original soundtrack was already pretty good on its own, but it lacked more energy. The new remastered soundtrack is a lot more upbeat and even more exciting.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Those two games are still mind-boggling hard and borderline unfair, but the Infinite mode allows for anyone to enjoy all levels and bosses, regardless of their skill.

Final Verdict: 8.0

R-Type Dimensions EX is available now on PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Reviewed on Switch.
A copy of R-Type Dimensions EX was provided by the publisher.