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RefRain is the second game in RebRank’s “Project Blank [P.N.B]” series, after Samidare. The two do link together in a plot-related way although as games they play very differently from one another. Since RefRain’s release a free downloadable spinoff title, RedRive, has been produced and is available here.
Once the game has been launched everything within it is presented using a fake UI, with each of the three characters having their own distinct “desktop” to launch their “dive” from (as this is one of those shmups where the plot dictates that characters are virtually piloting a craft rather than physically present inside). When playing through the game for the first time characters will find messages and IM-style conversations from various other people on their desktop in tray, these chat logs are where the vast majority of the plot is revealed. There are four possible difficulty levels to choose from, and some small difficulty adjustments in game if the player performs particularly well.
The game itself is a vertical shmup that takes place over five stages. There are no power up, life, bomb pickups or alternative weapons. Each craft has two types of basic shot – a standard shot and a more focussed lock on shot that reduces ship speed; while they are broadly similar across the board shot strength and firing range does differ between characters.
The second shot type is known as the M.E.F.A2 system: these are more powerful shots that can only be used when the large gauge at the bottom of the screen has enough charge. The gauge is capable of holding six charges, and is filled by shooting enemies. Each character has four M.E.F.A2 attacks, and each attack uses up an additional charge of the M.E.F.A2 gauge (so a level 2 attack requires 2 charges, a level 3 attack 3 charges, etc). Level 3 and 4 M.E.F.A2 attacks are capable of “sealing” enemies – including bosses – preventing them from attacking. If bosses are sealed and then damaged quickly enough the player is awarded a bonus for skipping phases of the boss battle.
The final offensive ability available is the Concept Reactor, which is essentially a bullet-cancelling bomb.
Once the game has been completed a “second loop” mode opens up; this appears to be very much the same as the standard loop apart from the suicide bullets that now spray out of defeated enemies.
Much as RebRank did with Samidare, RefRain also has it’s own soundtrack and material collection known as RefRain ~Prism Memories~ Chronicle. These extras were sold separately at a later date but are designed to fit perfectly inside RefRain’s slipcase and complete the set. The RefRain Chronicle items are shown in the final two photos below.
Packaging (including RefRain Chronicle)