AngerForce: Reloaded (Switch eShop) Review
The Switch is in no danger of running out of arcade action games, and there are some strong shoot ‘em ups to occupy your time with. AngerForce: Reloaded is the latest to enter the fray, and does well of capturing that top-down, bullet-hell experience full of challenge and action. But what sets it apart from all the others?
AngerForce: Reloaded is a vertical arcade shooter featuring multiple characters with varying abilities and stories, while maintaining traditional bullet-hell style action. The game features 9 different levels in total, with each level finishing with boss battles with multiple stages (depending on the set difficulty). It also incorporates a separate points system outside of the typical hi-score archetype, where points are redeemed for upgrades that carry over and stack when replaying the campaign.
In fact, completing AngerForce: Reloaded relies on the player replaying (grinding) campaign missions to level up and equip the player with enough power-ups to get through the hardest difficulty. The game’s campaign is split up into three difficulties, each increasing in the amount of levels: Noob has 3 levels and rewards you with fewer points; Normal has 5 levels, gives more points and adds an ‘enraged mode’ to boss battles; and Veteran has 7 levels, with faster and denser sprays of enemy bullets. The higher difficulties also award more points, however the cost of respawning upon death is consecutively higher for each session.
At first, I was enamored with the experience. The controls are super tight and the campaign seemed pretty challenging. However, in order to be able to progress through Veteran mode, I soon realised I would have to replay and grind through the Noob and Normal modes over and over to farm points and pay for upgrades. I’m sure true veterans of shoot ‘em ups could probably blast through the campaign without too much trouble, but anyone else will likely need to invest in power ups by repeatedly grinding those earlier modes. A lot.
That said, there are some opportunities to vary up the experiences with different characters. There are four in total: Samhill, a male character with slash and fireball special attacks; Asimo the robot, with a laser gun and chain lightning special attacks; Shin the raccoon, armed with a leaf shield and can summon an ancient guardian; and Echo, a female character with high attack but low HP, as well as a shotgun and mines for special attacks. Each character has their own set of power-ups, but a majority of them carry over no matter you play as. As well as individual abilities, each character has their own story within the game’s campaign, though they’re quite thin and not particularly interesting or relevant to the gameplay.
AngerForce: Reloaded’s controls are pretty easy to work out. There’s a main attack that can be fired indefinitely, a charge-up ability to regain energy units (which are used to fire special attacks), and a bomb attack to unleash huge damage. The shoulder buttons are used to fire special attacks, and the triggers allow you to move faster or slower to suit your needs. I didn’t find myself have any particular issues with the controls, and the overall feel seemed super tight and responsive.
Apart from the campaign, there’s also an arcade mode to jump in and get as far as possible, though dying is an immediate game over (as opposed to buying back into the campaign), along with a local co-op mode. The extra modes feature all the same stages from the main campaign.
As with all vertical shooters, playing in handheld/tabletop mode with the screen oriented vertically is really the way to go. AngerForce: Reloaded is the game that convinced me to order a Flip Grip – the downside being it’ll take 2-6 weeks to arrive, and by that time I’m unsure I’ll still be playing this. But if you have one, or a means to flip the screen’s orientation, you’ll want to take advantage of it here. Playing on a TV at the horizontal angle is perfectly fine given the larger perspective, but on a smaller screen it felt a little too small for my liking. Not necessarily a criticism of the game, but something to consider if you’re looking to get into shoot ‘em ups on the go.
I had a blast with AngerForce: Reloaded… until I realised that to finish the game I’ll need to spend a lot of my time grind missions over and over to get anywhere. I felt like 5-20 minute play sessions at a time were enough to rack up points, buy a power-up or two and then tap out for a while. Which is perfect for playing on the go – provided you can make the most of that vertical perspective.
- Feels tight
- Good sense of challenge
- Best enjoyed in short bursts
- Requires a lot of grinding
- Respawning costs spike significantly in higher difficulties
- Handheld mode is okay, but best experienced with system oriented vertically