Release: July 15th, 2021
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Well, that was certainly...different.
I can honestly say I never played a game quite like Red Colony 2. It's tough to explain what kind of game it is. So the best way I can describe what kind of game this is, is to compare it to one of my favorite shows of all-time: The Last Drive-In (or as my fellow old people remember it, Joe Bob Briggs' Drive-In Theatre). This show is currently on streaming platform Shudder, and features Joe Bob Briggs, a cowboy living in an old-fashioned trailer. Every week, Joe Bob would introduce the viewers to some of the most campy and cheesy B-Horror movies that ever had the privilege to grace the shelves at our local Blockbuster Video. But despite how terrible these movies were, they were presented with such fascinating behind-the-scenes info and respect, that you had no choice but to enjoy the show. Seriously, watch Sorority House Massacre 2 – you'll thank me later.
So that's what I would compare Red Colony 2 to: it's the video game equivalent of a direct-to-video B-Horror movie. It's even got Joe Bob's “3 B's” - Blood, Breasts, and Beasts – an essential component to these types of entertainment. Red Colony 2 is exactly what a cheesy horror movie should be – it's nonsensical, offensive, and broken. But just like any good direct-to-video horror movie, it has moments where it shines.
Red Colony 2 is – you guessed it – a sequel to the first Red Colony game. Now, I never played the first one, but based on my research, you don't really have to either. The game takes place in the same universe, but in a different city than the first Red Colony. Before I explain the plot, I want you all to know that 1) this is some NSFW stuff, and 2) it's one of the most interesting video game plots I've ever witnessed. OK, here we go. You play as Nicole, a sex worker in the slums of Blue Colony. Through some diary entries, you learn that she was blackmailed by the government to release a virus upon the city, and has to try to find her kidnapped daughter among the chaos.
The game is essentially a side-scrolling, anime version of Resident Evil and Dino Crisis. And that comment couldn't be more on-the-nose. Red Colony 2 is without a doubt a love-letter to those two games. Characters share the same names from those universes, the weapons are similar, there's even red, green, and blue herbs in the background. The homages to those classic survival horror titles are peppered throughout the game, and as a fan, brought a smirk to my face. Gameplay is similar, too: you'll be traveling around the different areas of the city, searching for keys, passwords, and combinations in order to gain access to new areas – all while solving the mystery behind your missing daughter.
The backtracking and puzzle solving are broken up by the occasional zombie encounter. There's a few ways to go around dealing with them: you can kill them with the game's various weapons, or try to sneak past them if it's dark or there's a table you can crawl under. They don't offer much of a scare, though – but that's where the raptors come in. Yes, you heard me. Not only are you dealing with zombies, but you'll also come across the occasional Velociraptor. These tough guys can take you out in one hit, so it's best to run when you see one.
Since Red Colony 2 is a horror game, it's going to have some jump scares. And I'm happy to admit that it got me a few times. There's some really creepy atmospheric music that plays, and things happen in the background that catch you off-guard and can really startle you. There was even a point where a jump scare happened during the “walking up the stairs” loading screen that TOTALLY got me off-guard. I felt senses of dread, fear, and especially panic during the dino chase scenes, so kudos to the one-man team on creating that effective atmosphere.
The puzzles don't really require much thinking – passwords are usually somewhere in the background in the same area you are at, or close by. They are strategically placed though; so keep an eagle eye out for suspicious windmills or pills hanging on the wall. Some of the other puzzles can be easily solved with just some trial and error; I was lost at one point in the game and got lucky by correctly guessing the lock code in a briefcase that I needed. There's also two endings: a basic ending and a secret one – and they're both completely bonkers.
Unfortunately, much like a cheesy horror movie, Red Colony 2 has a a few issues. Characters are static and emotionless, and only have basic moving limbs. The jiggle physics are on point, though. There's glitches, the dialog can be completely out there and ludicrous (even for a tongue-in-cheek Resident Evil clone). The sexual content really takes center stage, too. Aside from the obvious aspect of Nicole being a sex worker, you'll be talking with other women in compromising poses, with equally-enormous boobs. The constant, in-your-face sexual references can be a turn-off for some, but if you go in to the game with an understanding that it's all self-referential humor, you should be OK with it. Hell, two of the characters even have a conversation on implants vs natural. There's also a clinic that you go to that plays a really funny commercial that I won't spoil here.
Final Score: B-
Red Colony 2 isn't going to be on many must-play lists. But that's OK, it doesn't have to. It's a game with an absurd story, offensive characters, and sleazy dialogue that will make you feel as dirty as the city you're exploring. The gameplay is basic, the animation is crude, and it's short experience (only about 4-5 hours long). But, like many cheesy horror movies, it has a certain appeal if you know what you're signing up for. There's puzzles, exploring, and horror elements-aplenty. There's a solid atmosphere that can ramp up the tension and some good jump scares. Odds are you won't play it again after you make your way through it, but like any good campy horror movie, you'll walk away with an interesting experience that's certainly...different.