Once was the time when there was an air of exclusivity around the 2D shooter, typically the most expensive of genres. Witness the famously sky-high prices of the likes of Radiant Silvergun, or the lengths one had to go to in order to indulge a shooter craving in the days of the Saturn, where the cream of the crop only made its way out of Japan if you were on good terms with a local importer.
It's that Saturn heyday that Rayforce harks back to, a port of the 1993 arcade game that later made its way to SEGA's 32-bit console. And Rayforce is a fine example of a genre in its absolute pomp, all handsome sprites laced with the kind of charm that's unique to this particular era of gaming.
Rayforce's world is one of floating islands occupied by mech forces, your bright red attack ship flying over landscapes whose rough-brushed pixel-work is all perfectly visible. This doesn't boast the more refined look of latter 2D shooters such as Cave's recent mobile ports, but it's all the better for it, developer Taito offering a fine facsimile of the arcade original.