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Paint the Town Red VR Review: A Blocky Bloodbath

Updated: Mar 28




Played on:  Meta Quest 3

Also on: PSVR2, Steam VR

Price: $19.99


Ah, random violence. The classic video game go-to. There’s nothing like some good unprecedented chaos that’s just so cathartic. Show me someone who’s played Grand Theft Auto, Skyrim, or Red Dead Redemption without going on a murderous rampage, and I’ll show you a gamer who hasn’t truly lived. While most of us enjoy playing for the engaging stories, world-building, and character connection, we could all benefit from some Goat Simulator-esque craziness. And if that’s what you’re looking for, Paint the Town Red VR has exactly what you need.


Originally released back in 2015, Paint the Town Red is a first-person combat game. Is there a deep, engaging story? Nope. Meaningful, thought-provoking characters? Nah. The ability to hack random NPCs to pieces using only a pool cue? Now we’re talking! The sole purpose of Paint the Town Red is to drop you into different settings in which you cause as much chaos as possible. And now it’s in jaw-dropping, eye-popping, head-smashing VR!





The concept behind Paint the Town Red VR is pretty simple - get out there and FIGHT! Depending on the scenario and level you choose, you’ll end up in a disco, a bar, and even a prison. Once the chaos starts, your goal is to try to survive as long as possible while taking out your enemies using an array of weapons. Basically you can pick up and attack with anything that isn’t bolted down - and even then you can attack with a flurry of punches and kicks. It’s hilarious taking down someone by throwing a chair at them, then watching it take half of their face off. Yes, I know how disturbing that sounds, but a) it’s a video game, and b) the Minecraft-adjacent graphic style makes the violence less realistic and more cartoony. 


Once you get through the tutorial (and I highly suggest starting with that), you have several different game modes to choose from. The first, ”Scenarios”, puts you into the above-mentioned scenarios where violence is the name of the game. You need to last as long as you can while killing as many people as possible. But watch your back - you only have a certain amount of health. Once you get hit enough times, it’s game over. Things start off slowly without many enemies, but eventually it will be a full-on melee. NPCs will attack other NPCs, but most will be gunning for you. You’ll need to run around the location, finding all sorts of weapons to defend yourself with. And with full movement support it just makes swinging a baseball bat into someone’s cubic cranium that much more effective. There’s also different modifiers you can apply, so yes - guns can be added.


As you pile on the pain, your special move bar will start to fill up. Once full, you’ll be able to unleash attacks that would make John Wick jealous. You can send a shockwave to blast anyone in your vicinity, unleash a flurry of one-punch-kill attacks, or even unleash your inner Zeus with a smite move that sends an energy beam from the heavens that destroys anything it touches.These are done in slow motion, too, so it adds a nice, visceral aesthetic to the attack. 





Where Scenarios mode features sandbox gameplay, the next option, Arena, is more of a survival mode. Essentially you’re placed in a big open space, and are tasked with taking on wave after wave of enemies. Think of it like a big gladiator battle. And yes, there is a gladiator stage in this mode too.


The last game mode, and the most robust, is called Beneath. This mode acts more of a roguelike, where you will explore different areas, taking on monstrous enemies. As you play through Beneath, you’ll take on enemies, bosses, and like any good roguelike, earn upgrades for the different classes of characters you can play as. Every time you die, you come back a bit stronger, so your next run can be a little easier.  There’s a good variety of game modes here so that it keeps that replay value going - which is good because Paint the Town Red VR isn’t much by way of deep gameplay. It’s meant to be an arcade-style game and that’s exactly what we get. 

 

Controls work well enough for a VR game. The head tracking is on point, and the one-to-one hand tracking makes battling a breeze. I have a tendency to get nauseous during some intense VR games, and unfortunately I did get that same feeling while playing Paint the Town Red VR. Fortunately, there are movement options that help alleviate that feeling, including the much-appreciated snap-turn and teleport-move options. So there’s a lot that you can configure to meet your needs. 





Final Grade: B


I enjoyed my time with Paint the Town Red VR. It offers silly, hilarious gameplay. I caught myself cracking up a few times, and often wanting to give it another go once I died. The game does give you quite the workout, too - all that swinging and dodging can leave you quite winded - so take breaks when needed! The game did sometimes skip some frames here and there, and I did have that motion sickness problem, but I know my issues won’t be everyone's’ issues. Plus, if you can’t handle the VR, you can still get the standard game on any recent game console or PC. Also, it is an arcade-style game, so don’t go in expecting anything deep. But if you’re looking to let out some stress after a long day of work, or just want to engage in that classic random video game violence, you can’t go wrong with Paint the Town Red VR. 


Review code provided by publisher.

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