Video Game RefleX (PC) (2013)

RefleX (Steam) (2014)*
*RefleX (Desura) (2013)
*RefleX (PC) (Japan) (2008)


Relevant Links:
RefleX (PC) (MeteCritic.com)
RefleX (shmup.wikia.com)
RefleX (Steam Store Page)

Introduction:
RefleX is the second shooter in The Tale of ALLTYNEX trilogy.

20150429:
Today I played RefleX for the first time. Unfortunately, I didn't remember until writing this blog entry that it is part of a trilogy. From a story point of view, I should played ALLTYNEX Second before I played RefleX.


Setup:
The maximum available resolution is 1280 x 960. At this resolution, fullscreen mode caused the game to become oversized, and so I reduced it to 1024 x 768. I also temporarily changed my laptop's resolution to 1024 x 768. I also found that tabbing out of the game while it is in fullscreen mode will cause it to crash.

There are a finite number of key choices, but the default works for me: [Z] Shot [X] Shield [Enter] Pause.


Remark:
You can press enter to skip the intro.

Gameplay:
At first I tried to shoot and dodge bullets, but some enemy bullets are homing and annoying to try to dodge. As such, I started making use of the shield. In fact, it's a deflection shield and will reflect the bullets back at the enemies.

Eventually it became clear that using the shield is essential to doing well. Unfortunately, deciding when to fire and when to shield (because only one can happen at a time) was difficult for me to figure out.


After getting more into the game, I learned that the shield will reflect blue bullets and absorb red bullets. As far as I can tell, purple bullets are also just absorbed.

Remark:
In order to move in all directions while shielding, I had to release the shot button before pressing the shield button. I guess my laptop's keyboard registers the arrow keys separately from the letter keys. If I hold down both Z and X, then I can only move left and right.

I adapted to this restriction by letting go of the shot button when I wanted to move, but held it down if I just wanted a short in-place shield. In future runs I'll try playing with a gamepad or Razer keyboard.*


*[20150523] I tried playing with these today, see update below.

Remark:
Shielding does not protect against contact damage.

Thoughts:
Pros:
+The shield reflection is a neat mechanic.
+The number of continues increases with each play (as far as I can tell). So in general, you will be able to progress further in the game, even though you won't be able to record a high score.


Cons:
-The game has no tutorial.
-The shield reflection is not as intuitive and fun as the polarity of Ikaruga.
-The game lags in between levels. This is a bit unfortunate as it ruins the feel of the game.
-It sometimes lags in the middle of the stage, but not so often.
-There is no separate leaderboard for playing the game with continues. The only way to get on the local leaderboards is to play without a continue.

Recommendation:
While shmups are not my favorite video game genre, I do enjoy them and RefleX is an enjoyable shmup.


20150523:
On 20150429, I ran into an input problem with my laptop keyboard. As a result, today I set out to play the game with a gamepad and Razer keyboard (one after the other) and recorded the corresponding experiences.

Setup:
Playing on my desktop, I set the resolution to 1280 x 960. Thinking about rotating my monitor, I noticed that RefleX lacked vertical monitor support.

Razer keyboard:
This keyboard did not suffer the key blocking which occurred with my laptop keyboard.


Gamepad:
At first I liked the gamepad more than the (Razer) keyboard, but in the end I thought perhaps they were about the same. I should also note that I started out using the analog stick, but then found the D-pad to be more responsive.

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