Title: Risk System
Developer: Newt Industries
Release Date: July 14, 2021
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: Newt Industries
I’m always up for a shmup that takes chances, and with a name like Risk System, I knew I was getting into something unique. There’s nothing conventional about this game as it tends to make its own rules within the genre, but the most important thing I can point out in this intro is that it adds to the growing list of quality ported shmups on Switch.
Risk System is not your typical arcade shmup. In fact, it doesn’t really challenge you with limited credits or intricate loadouts. Instead, we are treated to a narrative opening introducing us to Alys, who is tasked with saving the world after it’s learned she is immune to invading parasite control. It’s a good thing she happens to also be a great pilot because the several boss encounters happen to be her old comrades, and you know what, the story doesn’t really make sense, but it’s still pretty cool.
It’s rather over-the-top, and the brief chemistry shared between Alys and the operator before and after missions are made better thanks to their animated avatars. The presentation and pixel work in the character designs allows them to each have their own personality, again, even if the meetings are brief.
Risk System manages to be a great Switch game, even if it wasn’t initially developed for it. This being because the stages are all so short. It makes for a quick attempt to get through some bullet hell action and make your way to the boss. Unfortunately, the stages are so short that the only checkpoint offered is right before the boss battle, but this is never really an issue.
While the themes of the overall stages change, I couldn’t help but notice the limited enemy patterns and enemy designs during levels. They come in waves, but they are mostly the same. This means that after a few playthroughs, it’s easy to memorize the patterns.
The gimmick about Risk System is how there isn’t a traditional shoot button. Instead, your ship will automatically fire if an enemy is in front of you, allowing you to focus on maneuvering. This was a great design choice because your bullet power only improves if you’re close to an enemy bullet.
I ended up liking this feature, but I wish there were more levels of power. As it stands, you’re either close enough or not, but I think the risk should be limited to how close you’re willing to go rather than forcing the player to be as close to danger as possible if you want the reward.
Getting close to danger also fills up your break gauge, which unleashes a screen-clearing attack. What the game doesn’t teach you fully is that you can briefly avoid damage using it, and it is necessary to master it if you want to clear bosses. As a result, it’s almost unfair your first couple of boss encounters when you’re trying to figure out how to survive an unavoidable attack pattern.
The game offers three hit points that can be refilled during the stage by fallen enemies. It’s a nice gesture but shouldn’t be relied on outside of just focusing on getting as close to bullets as possible. You’ll most likely be stuck on the late-game bosses as you memorize their attacks, but their patterns are all brief, and they don’t offer alternate forms at low health. You’ll mostly be playing for a high score in later runs, but there are little differences here outside of a possible alternate ending.
Risk System is a decent Switch shmup that offers short and sweet stages and unique boss encounters making it perfect for the console hybrid. Still, its boasted risk system could have been better implemented without the need for unfair deaths as you learn its nuances. Regardless, the challenge is addictive, albeit repetitive, and the lack of credits only forces you to jump right back in and try again.
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