Originally released in 1987, R-Type [$1.99] is almost as classic as it gets when it comes to arcade shooters. Since its initial release, the game has seen many sequels, as well as ports to nearly ever platform ranging from the Amiga all the way up to the XBOX 360. Like most arcade games of the era, the game is framed in a vague story with the player piloting the space fighter Arrowhead to defend humanity from aliens. The original R-Type (and competent ports) have been well received by almost everyone, as the gameplay and level design are still considered by many to be among the best the genre has to offer.

If you've never played R-Type before, you might be in for a surprise as the game's notorious level of difficulty has landed it in lists such as IGN's Top 10 Toughest Games to Beat. The levels are crafted in such a way that you likely won't have much luck playing the game in a reactionary manner, and instead, will need to beat them through trial and error, learning the levels as you go. R-Type plays like what we now know as a typical shooter. You need to kill everything that moves, avoid bullets and enemies, fight massive bosses, all while collecting a wide array of power-ups on the way.

As far as the port is concerned, from a technical standpoint it's great. To make things easier on new players there's an unlimited mode with never-ending lives, as well as the standard normal difficulty and an unlockable insane difficulty. Three control options are included, touch controls which work like most other shooters where you drag your finger around the screen to move the ship along with tilt controls and even a virtual D-Pad. The virtual D-Pad is actually surprisingly cool too, as it changes the perspective of the game to look more like an arcade cabinet so your fingers don't cover any of the action. Auto-fire can be enabled or disabled, and you can move the on-screen buttons to the right or left side in the options.

The developers really did everything they could do to bring a faithful port of R-Type to the App Store, but I'm really torn on how I feel with it. R-Type reminds me of last year's Earthworm Jim port in that it's hard to imagine a better port of the game, but the control constraints of the platform almost feel like it's holding it back. Using your finger often obstructs the screen. Tilting feels off because your ship just moves at one speed regardless of how much you tilt. The virtual D-pad is good, but only as good as a virtual D-pad can be.

If you have fond memories of the original (or any of the ports), you'll likely love having the game on your phone and will be able to make whichever control option you prefer work well enough to get through the game. Also, at $1.99 it likely is the cheapest way to play the game, since it would cost at least that in quarters at the arcade to make it through the first levels. If this review is the first time you've heard of R-Type, you might find yourself frustrated with the way things used to be with brutally difficult arcade shooters designed to extract every quarter from your pocket. In that case, you might be better off checking out some of the other more forgiving shooters that feature modern day conveniences such as far more checkpoints and far fewer game over screens.

TouchArcade Rating

  • PahnCrd

    I like r-type and all, but man, we could really use some big budget games built from the ground up for iOS in addition to re-releases. I'm kind of getting tired of seeing re-releases, remakes and casual games and a platform that is supposed to be more powerful than the gaming handhelds.

    • arn

      I think the issue is with average price of $0.99 or so, it's hard to justify big-budget ground-up games.

      • Blinky McWeird

        Low prices are NOT a barrier to making money. In fact, almost every study that's ever been done shows that selling games dirt-cheap on the App Store makes you MORE money than selling them at higher prices.

        http://wosblog.podgamer.com/2010/07/05/on-app-store-pricing/

        Besides, if you want big-budget handheld games, why did you buy an iPhone instead of a PSP?

      • PahnCrd

        @blinky

        I have a PSP, but the 3gs, iPhone 4 and iPad are significantly more powerful and have modern graphical features missing in the PSP.

        More importantly though, I always have my iPhone on me and the PSP and DS are bulky in comparison.

      • arn

        @blinky – While it may be true that "selling games dirt-cheap on the App Store makes you MORE money than selling them at higher prices", that still doesn't mean "selling games dirt-cheap will make you enough to justify a big budget ground-up title."

        I think that "cheaper makes more money than higher prices" is a reflection more of the fact that original higher priced stuff tends to make very little on the app store.

        arn

    • Alex.B

      What and sell it for a dollar?

      • PahnCrd

        So is that the excuse from now on?

  • PahnCrd

    I like r-type and all, but man, we could really use some big budget games built from the ground up for iOS in addition to re-releases. I'm kind of getting tired of seeing re-releases, remakes and casual games and a platform that is supposed to be more powerful than the gaming handhelds.

    • arn

      I think the issue is with average price of $0.99 or so, it's hard to justify big-budget ground-up games.

      • Blinky McWeird

        Low prices are NOT a barrier to making money. In fact, almost every study that's ever been done shows that selling games dirt-cheap on the App Store makes you MORE money than selling them at higher prices.

        http://wosblog.podgamer.com/2010/07/05/on-app-store-pricing/

        Besides, if you want big-budget handheld games, why did you buy an iPhone instead of a PSP?

      • PahnCrd

        @blinky

        I have a PSP, but the 3gs, iPhone 4 and iPad are significantly more powerful and have modern graphical features missing in the PSP.

        More importantly though, I always have my iPhone on me and the PSP and DS are bulky in comparison.

      • arn

        @blinky – While it may be true that "selling games dirt-cheap on the App Store makes you MORE money than selling them at higher prices", that still doesn't mean "selling games dirt-cheap will make you enough to justify a big budget ground-up title."

        I think that "cheaper makes more money than higher prices" is a reflection more of the fact that original higher priced stuff tends to make very little on the app store.

        arn

    • Alex.B

      What and sell it for a dollar?

      • PahnCrd

        So is that the excuse from now on?

  • araczynski

    the unlimited mode is making my finger itch to click that 'buy' icon...

    • ravenvii

      Obey that itch. It's awesome and worth $2! I mean, hell, that's half of the price of the iced cappuccino I bought this morning!

  • araczynski

    the unlimited mode is making my finger itch to click that 'buy' icon...

    • ravenvii

      Obey that itch. It's awesome and worth $2! I mean, hell, that's half of the price of the iced cappuccino I bought this morning!

  • ecco6t9

    Must buy now.

  • ecco6t9

    Must buy now.

  • DanGrimes92

    Instant buy for me, 2 bucks for this legendary game is nothing, especially since the port looks great.

  • DanGrimes92

    Instant buy for me, 2 bucks for this legendary game is nothing, especially since the port looks great.

  • Epox

    There are checkpoints in the game Eli Hodapp. I am assuming you did not get far enough to reach the checkpoint?

    • Läggav

      +1, hehe.

  • Epox

    There are checkpoints in the game Eli Hodapp. I am assuming you did not get far enough to reach the checkpoint?

    • Läggav

      +1, hehe.

  • http://www.utopiangames.co.uk Darren

    One of my favourite all time games!!! Yippeeee.

    Darren.

  • http://www.utopiangames.co.uk Darren

    One of my favourite all time games!!! Yippeeee.

    Darren.

  • Shibuya_109

    Is this 60fps on an iPhone 4?

    • Corbier

      Yeah, it run smoothly on iPhone 3GS+ devices, on an iPhone3G it run but there is some lag from time to time, but still very enjoyable !

      • george

        Lag on a 1 gig processor tablet, erm im out.

  • Shibuya_109

    Is this 60fps on an iPhone 4?

    • Corbier

      Yeah, it run smoothly on iPhone 3GS+ devices, on an iPhone3G it run but there is some lag from time to time, but still very enjoyable !

      • george

        Lag on a 1 gig processor tablet, erm im out.

  • DanGrimes92

    At least it don't lag as s*** like DoDonPachi on my 3GS....

  • DanGrimes92

    At least it don't lag as s*** like DoDonPachi on my 3GS....

  • Christian

    The touch problems are pretty much resolved if you play it on an iPad. Shame it isn't a universal app.

  • Christian

    The touch problems are pretty much resolved if you play it on an iPad. Shame it isn't a universal app.

  • Zonko

    Okay so I downloaded this one, and I have to say, I'm not impressed. Nothing to do with the quality of R-Type, but this port. The frame rate tops out at half of the original coin-op, even on an iPhone 4, and it can't even maintain a solid 30fps either.

    The touch controls seem kind of funky too, they just don't behave in a normal way. Strangely sluggish at times and spluttery.

    Unimpressed.

    • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

      Yeah I agree, the controls just aren't very good. They're OK for the early levels, but by level 6 where you need absolute precision and fast response they just aren't up to the task. Then of course there's the issue of your thumb covering the bottom left of the screen where any number of enemies or bullets could be hidden.

      Dare I say it, I think the difficulty needs to be dropped. Either slow down the bullets or let the player retain their power-ups or add a health bar or don't send the player right back to the start/mid-way point every time the ship clips a corner or a bullet. I know it's a bit of a cop out, but there's no way anyone could play this game on a bus or in a car, one bump in the road and you're likely to swipe the R9 into a wall or enemy. Hopefully the developers will release a patch.

      • verat

        I think you would have the same bounce-fail effect playing the R-Type coin-op in a moving bus or truck.

  • Zonko

    Okay so I downloaded this one, and I have to say, I'm not impressed. Nothing to do with the quality of R-Type, but this port. The frame rate tops out at half of the original coin-op, even on an iPhone 4, and it can't even maintain a solid 30fps either.

    The touch controls seem kind of funky too, they just don't behave in a normal way. Strangely sluggish at times and spluttery.

    Unimpressed.

    • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

      Yeah I agree, the controls just aren't very good. They're OK for the early levels, but by level 6 where you need absolute precision and fast response they just aren't up to the task. Then of course there's the issue of your thumb covering the bottom left of the screen where any number of enemies or bullets could be hidden.

      Dare I say it, I think the difficulty needs to be dropped. Either slow down the bullets or let the player retain their power-ups or add a health bar or don't send the player right back to the start/mid-way point every time the ship clips a corner or a bullet. I know it's a bit of a cop out, but there's no way anyone could play this game on a bus or in a car, one bump in the road and you're likely to swipe the R9 into a wall or enemy. Hopefully the developers will release a patch.

      • verat

        I think you would have the same bounce-fail effect playing the R-Type coin-op in a moving bus or truck.

  • Dr. Wily

    Why haven't we seen official external control pad support yet? Didn't Apple open up the dock connector to enable such devices?

  • Dr. Wily

    Why haven't we seen official external control pad support yet? Didn't Apple open up the dock connector to enable such devices?

  • Xeliorones

    The article quoted the sells of a sale for few days to sells during month... Quite ridiculous.

    A pad gives more precision than a relative touch control? On iphone perhaps on iPad it's ridiculous to argue that.

    For apple promoting an external pad for a touch platform, it's a total non sense. Buy you a psp or a playstation if you want play with a pad.

    • Sookie

      Uh what?

  • Xeliorones

    The article quoted the sells of a sale for few days to sells during month... Quite ridiculous.

    A pad gives more precision than a relative touch control? On iphone perhaps on iPad it's ridiculous to argue that.

    For apple promoting an external pad for a touch platform, it's a total non sense. Buy you a psp or a playstation if you want play with a pad.

    • Sookie

      Uh what?

  • Sookie

    Bought it and enjoyed it, but found some problems when you're at the right of the screen and u're using touch controls. Can't move the ship because it thinks you're trying to use the buttons instead.

  • Sookie

    Bought it and enjoyed it, but found some problems when you're at the right of the screen and u're using touch controls. Can't move the ship because it thinks you're trying to use the buttons instead.

  • Jack

    too difficult. could not defeat even the first boss. no fun.

    soundtrack is very nice though.

    • Blinky McWeird

      Dude, you must *suck*. You can kill the first boss before it's even finished appearing onscreen, and nothing in level 1 should be giving you much trouble before then. Try playing in Touch mode but with the controls reversed, ie movement on the right-hand side and buttons on the left.

    • Sookie

      Wow dude maybe you should stick to tic-tac-toe.

  • Jack

    too difficult. could not defeat even the first boss. no fun.

    soundtrack is very nice though.

    • Blinky McWeird

      Dude, you must *suck*. You can kill the first boss before it's even finished appearing onscreen, and nothing in level 1 should be giving you much trouble before then. Try playing in Touch mode but with the controls reversed, ie movement on the right-hand side and buttons on the left.

    • Sookie

      Wow dude maybe you should stick to tic-tac-toe.

  • http://www.generationstarwars.com/ John Hood

    Loved this on the PC Engine... Chock full of win.

  • http://www.generationstarwars.com/ John Hood

    Loved this on the PC Engine... Chock full of win.

  • BruteOutlawz

    Really good, controls work well but needs a update so were able to use the right side of the screen to control the ship. DotEmu done a really good job

  • BruteOutlawz

    Really good, controls work well but needs a update so were able to use the right side of the screen to control the ship. DotEmu done a really good job