ReBirth isn’t an all new game, more of a remix of past Gradius titles, all presented in a lovely retro style. The first thing that hits you is the charming 16-bit graphics and sound, which are very much like what you would expect from a SNES game, with some sprite scaling and rotation and even some slowdown to help you get through some of the more challenging areas.
The Gradius games are notorious for their difficulty, but thankfully Rebirth isn’t as brutal as the older games and we think it ranks as one of the easiest in the series. That being said, it’s still not a walk in the park. Newcomers will find Rebirth tough, but with a bit of practice, anyone can finish it. Difficulty levels can be set from very easy to very hard, so everyone is likely to find a level that suits them.
Rebirth has two modes of play. The first is the standard game which gives you unlimited credits to finish or practice the stages you have unlocked. The second mode is ‘Score Attack’. Here you are given a single credit to get a far as you can in the game, and when you’re done, you can save your scores to local and Wi-Fi leader boards. The Japanese version we're playing only lists the top 30 scores in each difficulty, so you need to be pretty good to get your name on there.
To help you get though the game, the Vic Viper initially has 3 weapon layouts to choose from, with more that can be unlocked. The weapons are what you would normally expect in a Gradius game. Lasers, Ripple lasers, double shot and multiples among others, with very little new on offer. It’s a good idea to experiment with different weapons if you’re getting stuck on a particular section.
You can use the Wii Remote, Nunchuk, Classic Controller or a Gamecube controller to pilot the Vic Viper, but not with a friend because Rebirth is unfortunately 1-player only.
Gradius veterans may find it a bit on the easy side, and the lack of a widescreen option is disappointing, but the classic Gradius gameplay still shines through. Overall Rebirth is a fine game and it’s shaping up to be another solid entry to the WiiWare line-up.