Tozai Games, publishers of Spelunker and Lode Runner Legacy, announced Wednesday that it’s bringing R-Type Dimensions to the Nintendo Switch and the Steam digital marketplace. Dimensions is a compilation title, packaging together two of the most brutally challenging arcade shooters of the 1980s, with new features and updated graphics.
Dimensions first appeared on the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network in 2009, combining 1987’s R-Type and its sequel, 1989’s R-Type II. Both games are side-scrolling shoot-’em-ups, developed in Japan by the Irem corporation, which put players in the role of a single spaceship fighting against the armies of the alien Bydo Empire.
R-Type‘s central gimmick is in the use and deployment of an auxiliary unit called a Force, which can be attached to the front or rear of your spacecraft to equip it with a more powerful basic weapon, or deployed on its own as a secondary means of attack. Your Force is also completely invincible, and can be used to deflect incoming enemy fire. Even in the landscape of highly challenging 1980s arcade shoot-’em-ups, such as Gradius, Gyruss, and Fantasy Zone, R-Type was notorious for its difficulty, owing to some truly fiendish level design. It went on to spawn a small franchise that ended with R-Type Final in 2007.
Irem went on to a short career developing games for the PlayStation 2, such as the real-world survival series Zetta Zetsumei Toshi, the first two of which were localized for the North American market as Disaster Report and Raw Danger. However, after the company took losses in the 2011 Touhoku earthquake in Japan, Irem reorganized itself to focus on the more lucrative Japanese pachinko market. Many of its employees moved on to form a new company, Granzella.
Tozai Games, based in Bellevue, Wash., was founded in 1996 by Scott Tsumura and Sheila Boughten. Initially headquartered in Seattle, it was primarily a consulting firm for the first nine years of its existence, before transitioning into a video game developer and publisher in 2007. Tozai currently holds the intellectual property rights to the classic Lode Runner and Spelunker franchises, in addition to R-Type.
The new Tozai Games release of Dimensions features all the levels from R-Type and R-Type II, which can be played using modernized 3D models, or with the original 1980s pixel art, which you can switch between in-game with a single button. You can play alone or with a friend, and if you really want to challenge the limits of that friendship, you can enable Collision Mode, which will destroy your ships if you run into one another.
If you’re not feeling that masochistic, this new Dimensions also features Infinite Mode, where you never run out of extra lives; a level select; and a slow-motion feature, which gives you more time with which to weave through the fields of fire coming your way. The Switch version will also reportedly have a selection of in-game achievements, encouraging players to switch up the ways in which they play.
R-Type Dimensions is scheduled to be released in the winter of 2018.
Update, Thursday morning: Tozai Games has clarified, since its initial announcement, that Dimensions on the Switch will be exclusive to the eShop, with no release on physical media.