Release: January 18th, 2021
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC
Red Colony certainly takes inspiration from B-Rated horror movies. And much like most B-Rated movies, this game is a mixed bag. Some of it works while other parts of the game are cringe worthy.
You play the part of Maria, a boss at a research lab that has let loose a virus that has turned people into zombies. You set out on a wild goose chase to find your husband and daughter, exploring the different buildings to find where they might be (and sometimes set off the trail by your jezebel nanny).
The game is part old school adventure and part action. There are times when you are looking for clues to open a safe or get a key to open the next door. Other times you are fending off zombies. The idea is a novel one, and there are glimmers of something good here, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.
One of the more positive aspects is the art. The art style is very anime and is done really well. The game certainly gives a Japanese horror feel. And the atmosphere that the character interacts with is dark and sets the stage for these gruesome events that have transpired. Unfortunately, the movement and actions are janky and feel awkward. Moving around feels stiff and when you attack a zombie with your knife (there are other weapons, but we’ll get to that in a minute) you have to time your attack just perfect to strike the zombies, it’s just clunky.
As you explore the game you will come across puzzles to solve. Most of the puzzles are quite simple and consist of no more than four inputs. For instance, there may be a four digit code that you need to find to open a safe. Another time, you need to click on four different pictures in order to open a door. The clues are fairly easily found throughout the level, as the levels aren’t complicated. You get a feeling that this game wants to be a Metroidvania, it’s just that the levels and puzzles lack any depth.
Inside the safes that you unlock are materials you can use to craft items at kiosks placed in the level. You might find materials to make bullets for the handgun you found, for example. But you don’t get many bullets from the materials, and thus, you find yourself just relying on your knife for most of the game. Better get good at timing your attacks right with that knife.
Red Colony also takes inspiration from games Resident Evil with its saves; as you explore the levels you’ll come across jump drives that you’ll use at the kiosks to save your progress. Apparently, the jump drives are from the 90s and have very little space on them and will be used up when you save which means you need to search for another jump drive before you can save again.
The B-Rated movie influence can also be felt in the story and dialog. You learn quite early in the game that Maria is a workaholic and because of this neglects her family. Her nanny fills the shoes of certain needs and most of the game dialog is Maria yelling at the nanny using a few choice words. Even in a zombie apocalypse there is room for drama apparently. Oh no, we’re all going to die, but how dare you sleep with my husband!
Almost all the characters are obsessed with sex in this game. As you progress through it you can’t help but think why some of these characters are dressed in skimpy outfits. You’ll also come across journal logs where the person’s last thoughts were about how they were going to get laid. Priorities I guess? Even the zombies want in on the action. As Maria gets attacked by the zombies, her clothes get more and more ripped, leaving little to the imagination.
Final Grade: C
Red Colony certainly isn’t the worst game. It has some aspects going for it, the art is beautiful and the underlying framework of an adventure/action game is certainly interesting. It just lacks the polish to push it over the edge. The B-Rated qualities of the dialog can certainly be overlooked, it may not be for everyone, but the clunky gameplay and lack of any depth in the puzzles make this a hard sell.