The imitation game
We all know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and in the world of gaming, flattery is all around. Red Colony looks to blow a kiss to the classic survival horror vibes of titles such as Resident Evil which is no bad thing. It also seems to want to pay a bit of tribute anime along the way and in doing so, it becomes blurred as to what kind of experience the developers are aiming for us to have. Now gamers are no strangers to a bit of thirst provocation and considering we now live in a world where things like Twitch and Only Fans, or are they the same thing? are deemed as a respectable form of employment, it was only a matter of time before other lines crossed once again. So let’s take a closer look and see what is on offer.
Get your ass to Mars!
Red Colony begins with our protagonist, Maria, getting dolled up for a night on the town with her friend Jill to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of their colony. And when we say town, we mean rocks, as Red Colony is set on the big red planet known as Mars! Before the girls can get their groove on everything goes black and Maria wakes up to find herself locked in a warehouse with a fuzzy head. After a brief tutorial and regaining access to her mobile phone, she receives a call from Jill who informs her that a zombie outbreak has occurred.
What follows is a reasonably well put together side-scrolling, survival horror, puzzler mash-up as we set out to find and rescue our friends and discover the root of this outbreak and put a stop to the terror that is plaguing the Martian colonists. All the elements you’d expect are in place, methodically paced gameplay, dark creepy locations to explore, scarce supplies of ammo and healing items, jump scares and boobs. Yes, it may seem a bit seedy to bring this particular item up but it would be impossible to honestly review this title without doing so. There is a fair amount of jiggle on display here which is emphasised even more if you take damage and Maria’s clothes start to tear off.
Now the fine bearded folk at TBG are not prudes by any stretch and appreciate and encourage game developers to stick to their guns with their own creativity and art direction to add variety and options to the gaming market, but it’s safe to say there are some out there who may find this anime mix of resident Hentai a bit on the nose for their liking. But putting that to one side, the overall atmosphere on display here is surprisingly good, from the blood-soaked walls to ambient music with shrieking string sections to accompany the buttock clenching jump scares. The general sound effects also work nicely to help build tension while exploring.
No kiss kiss, No bang bang
Though the game encourages you to avoid confrontation where possible it is inevitable that you will get into a tussle with one of the mortally challenged members of the colony. Weapons are unfortunately illegal in the Red Colony but as luck would have it, you are able to scavenge supplies that you can use to craft weapons in a handy 3D printer. But don’t think you’ll be armed to the teeth, managing the resources and using ammo sparingly will be the order of the day if you wish to survive and if you do run out of ammo, you will always have your trusty pocket knife to jab at enemies until they give up the ghost.
Though animations are basic and a bit jerky, they get the job done but gamers not accustomed to the older style of survival horror may struggle to acclimatise to the slower, clunkier gameplay.
Red Colony also does a fair job with the puzzles, though nothing too taxing on the brain they break up the pace and ensure you always have a clear objective to work towards, even if it’s something as simple as reading notes to discover who has the code to a lockbox and where that person might be found. Sadly Red Colony isn’t a particularly long game and although things move along at a good pace it feels a bit crammed together giving a bit of a messy feeling to the overall experience.
Visually the style is heavily anime based but the locations do have a solid amount of detail and look great whether playing in docked or handheld mode. Loading times are pretty short and overall performance is good albeit purposefully clunky to suit the style it is emulating, as mentioned earlier, this may put some players off.
Red Colony is a game that had the potential to be a good throwback experience but sadly loses itself with gameplay that feels like it was rushed out the door due to the short length. We wouldn’t have minded having an extra hour or so thrown in to help flesh the plot out a bit more. We wouldn’t say this is a must-buy, but die-hard horror and anime fans will get some enjoyment for the tantalising price of £6.29/$6.99.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Nintendo
Release Date: 18/01/2021
No. of Players: 1
Category: Survival Horror, Action, Puzzle
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop