RefRain -prism memories-
Gameplay 9
Graphics 7
Sound 9

RefRain is a great shooter that strays a little from the usual formula to offer an action packed experience that is based more on skill than luck. Mastering the use of the M.E.F.A2 and Concept Reactor attacks are immensely satisfying and also allows you to play more aggressively. Players used to power-ups and weapon upgrades will find that RefRain has a bit of a learning curve, but this also provides it with more longevity and replay value. Overall, if you are a fan of the genre, then RefRain certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Gameplay: Challenging, but very rewarding when mastered.

Graphics: The designs are a little bland compared to other shooters, but the game is very colorful.

Sound: Features a very fitting electronic soundtrack

Summary 8.3 Outstanding
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

RefRain -prism memories-

Developer: RebRank | Publisher: Degica | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Action / Indie / Shooter | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Dive deep into the M.R.S. computer network, defeat the five Central Keepers, and help the three heroines of RefRain -prism memories- unlock their memories of the past. Thanks to Degica we’ve been seeing more classic shooters from CAVE Interactive appear on Steam, but they haven’t overlooked smaller developers either. This is very heartening to see as bullet hell shooters are already a very niche genre and tracking down the more obscure titles can be almost impossible outside of Japan.

Initially RefRain -prism memories- looks just like a typical bullet hell shooter, but there is more to this game than simply dodging projectiles. The game actually encourages more offensive play thanks to its different attack modes, instead of always being on the defense.

RefRain is a vertically scrolling shooter, giving you a top down view of the action from the cockpit of one of three different fighters. Initially, you only have access to the “Must Viper”, piloted by Miria, but both “Blitz Lester” and “Bronx Terror” can be unlocked. While the Must Viper is the most balanced of the three, Blitz Lester excels in close range while Bronx Terror is better suited to picking off enemies from a distance. The three heroines piloting the craft also have their own stories, but these are told via system logs and character message logs, which is accessed from each character’s desktop. The stories aren’t anything earth shattering, but provide enough reasons to complete the game a few times to uncover everything.

Although the game only features five different levels, it offers quite a challenge on any setting apart from the easiest. You are provided with two lives and can take two hits per life, but only have two continues at your disposal. This will be more than enough for veterans, but it might take a few tries before newcomers will feel comfortable enough to tackle the higher skill levels.

Normally bullet hell shooters only require that you hold down the “shoot” button while weaving through intricate bullet patterns to survive. This can also be done in RefRain, but you won’t score as many points and on higher skill levels you will encounter bullet patterns that are virtually impossible to dodge. This is where the “Mood-Emotion-Feeling-Affect” attack and “Concept Reactor” comes in handy. In addition to your main shot, which is great for taking out weaker enemies, the M.E.F.A2 allows you to unleash a more devastating attack. This attack can be charged up to six levels and unleashed as six individual attacks or in rapid succession for even more damage. For example, with a single tap of the M.E.F.A2 button the Must Viper shoots out a powerful laser straight ahead. Two taps and you unleash a barrage of bombs, while at level four you not only shoot out an extremely powerful laser, but it also knocks targets back if it hits. Obviously the M.E.F.A2 attacks is somewhat overkill on normal foes, but essential for the bosses. Since the M.E.F.A2 meter charges up quite quickly by attacking enemies you don’t have to hold back on using it either.

Next up is the “Concept Reactor” which is another attack with a gauge of its own. This one charges up by collecting items dropped by defeated enemies or knocked back bosses, but can only hold three charges. The items range from level one to five, with higher levels yielding more charges, but requiring you to be closer to the target when they are destroyed. Activating the concept reactor turns all incoming projectiles into prisms, which can then be shot and destroyed. This will in turn increase the M.E.F.A2 gauge even faster, so using these two attacks at the right time is the key to mastering the game. It is immensely rewarding to wipe the floor with bosses using a few well timed attacks, but without proper timing you’ll be left high and dry. It also makes the game even more addictive because whenever you fail you know you could have done better with practice.

While this is the first time that RefRain is available on Steam it is still an older title, so the visuals are far from cutting edge. It also uses simple polygons for the enemies and some backgrounds, so it lacks the intricate detail found in some 2D shooters. The game doesn’t support TATE mode either and resolutions are restricted to 4:3 aspect ratio only. However, it makes up for this with some very colorful bullet and laser patterns, which gives the action an almost hypnotic feel. This is further enhanced by the excellent electronic soundtrack that complements the visuals and feel of the game perfectly. The game even features a music player to listen to the tunes and check out the descriptions that reveal just how much thought went into each track.

RefRain doesn’t have the best looking levels or ship designs, but it is an undeniably fun game. It is a pity that it doesn’t feature a multiplayer mode as the action is very addictive and would have been great to experience with a friend. The M.E.F.A2 and Concept Reactor makes it more a game of skill than luck and with three different ships, as well as plenty of achievements, RefRain has a lot of replay value. If you enjoy a good shooter and don’t mind putting in a bit of practice before everything clicks into place you will love RefRain.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10
  • Processor: Pentium 4, 2GHz or later
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce 6600 or better
  • DirectX: Version 8.0
  • Storage: 200 MB available space
  • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10
  • Processor: Core 2 or later (Core 2 Duo E8500 as a guide: 3.0GHz)
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT, NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 or better
  • DirectX: Version 8.0
  • Storage: 200 MB available space

Related posts

Post Apocalyptic Mayhem

Post Apocalyptic Mayhem

Post Apocalyptic Mayhem is pretty bare bones when compared to other racing titles on the market and it has somewhat of a low-budget feel to it, but provided you can get into a decent multi-player match there is lots of fun to be had. The free DLC released for the game has also since been integrated with the base game. Gameplay: Despite the floaty controls and lack of variety there is still fun to be had. Graphics: Nothing spectacular, but the visuals aren't too shabby. Sound: Pretty generic

Fly in the House

Fly in the House

Fly In The House is quite fun at first, especially after the recent patch, but anyone looking for more depth than simply hunting down a fly while destroying everything might be disappointed. The amount of destruction you can get up to is impressive, but the overall visual quality is a bit low. Since there are only three environments on offer the game can also feel a bit restrictive. It’s still fun to play in short bursts though, so grab it if you enjoy mindless arcade games. Gameplay: Once the novelty of breaking everything in sight wears off it can be a bit repetitive. Graphics: The destructible scenery is nice, but the texture quality is rather low. Sound: Limited and annoying music, but decent enough sound effects.

Gomo

Gomo

Gomo is a polished and intriguing adventure through a very surreal landscape, but the low challenge makes it more suitable for younger players or those new to the genre. The game has a lot of humor and is very unpredictable, making it fun to play, but the whole experience is over all too soon. If you don't mind a game that you can complete in one sitting or plan on playing it with your children then you can't go wrong with Gomo. Gameplay: Simple to play, but much too easy for veterans. Graphics: Very simple but quite charming and amusing. Sound: Does the job and never becomes annoying.

NEKOPARA Vol. 2

NEKOPARA Vol. 2

NEKOPARA Vol. 2 once again demonstrates why this series has such a loyal and fanatical following. The artwork by Sayori is as beautiful as always and the animations for the characters continue to impress. The story is still quite lighthearted, but focusses on slightly more serious issues compared to Vol. 1. The Steam version is once again censored, but comes with a lower price point, while the uncensored version cost a bit more, but features plenty of animated H-scenes. Gameplay: It is a kinetic novel, so there are no branching routes or choices to be made. Graphics: Stunning artwork and great animations. Sound: The voice acting is very good and so is the music although most of the tracks will be familiar.

Moebius: Empire Rising

Moebius: Empire Rising

There is no doubt that Moebius: Empire Rising is not going to be a game that everyone will enjoy. The lead character alone will probably rub most people the wrong way and the character models are also far from cutting edge. Despite this it has a very interesting storyline and if you get hooked you will definitely want to see it through to the end. I enjoyed my time with Moebius and would absolutely love to see a sequel that fleshes out the story even more. Gameplay: Easy puzzles make the game accessible to newcomers and it is entertaining despite some flaws. Graphics: Nice backgrounds but the character models and animation let things down a bit. Sound: Good voice acting and an absolutely brilliant soundtrack.

Empathy: Path of Whispers

Empathy: Path of Whispers

Empathy: Path of Whispers might look like a typical walking simulator, but it isn’t afraid to test the boundaries of the genre. The surreal gameworld isn’t just pretty to look at, but also offers players more freedom to explore than similar titles. It is up to players to piece together the fragmented story by finding and listening to the memories of the missing people who once inhabited the lonely landscapes. This means that some players will love the act of tracking down all the memories and connecting the clues while others will find it needlessly repetitive and obtuse. Gameplay: A mixture of exploration, listening to audio memories, solving minor puzzles and unraveling the story. Graphics: The surreal landscapes look great from a distance, but loses some splendor when viewed up close. Sound: The soundtrack is good and the game features a large cast of diverse character voices.

Leave a comment

two × 5 =