Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: Red Game Without A Great Name


In the space of low-budget Switch games there aren’t too many choices. Enter the appropriately named Red Game Without a Great Name and its pretty slick appearance. Sharing aesthetics with the similarly-named Green Game Timeswapper but not its problematic wandering controls it has a relatively simple mechanic that will challenge you across 60 increasingly-complex levels.


The first thing you’ll notice about the game is that it has a very distinctive, and pretty polished, look. With relatively simple but detailed black foreground elements on a varied red background everything is crisp, clean, and brimming with style. Since the mechanical bird you’ll control is pretty well in constant motion, as is the camera that will force you to keep yourself moving, you won’t get much of an opportunity to take it all in but don’t worry, in many sections you’ll die enough times to the varying traps in the game that you’ll get to know them well with their simple and yet distinctive details quite well.

One thing to be very aware of is that this game is strictly a touchscreen affair, and given that the only control you have is to swipe the bird from one spot to another on the screen it is the only control that would make sense. This does mean that you won’t be able to play it in docked mode, but at least the sacrifice makes sense given the style of the game. While this relatively basic control scheme would seem to make things easy the game does an excellent job of little by little introducing new elements to continue to complicate things. Aside from the various traps that will kill you on contact there are also elements that will cause you to change direction as well so you’ll need to be on top of things at all times if you want to stay alive. As each new element is generally given a quick but instructive bit of on-screen text when it first appears followed by a small space where you’ll somewhat safely be able to see their effects the game also does a good job of helping you stay on top of things for the most part.


In general terms aside from noting how challenging the game can get at times, and in the moment some things can feel a bit unfair, for the price it’s hard to have many actual complaints. There are spaces you’ll need to work in quickly and precisely to avoid death but usually it is only when you’re determined to collect all 3 cogs on every level that you’ll more likely hit a wall in places. In relation to trying to collect all 3 cogs the cruelty can come from the fact that touching them isn’t enough, to collect them you’ll need to grab them and finish the level without dying. This gets particularly treacherous when you’re trying to nab all 3 in one go. While that can make for a steep challenge at times it is also 100% up to you whether you tackle it though.

All said for the price of admission Red Game Without a Great Name has more to offer than its lacking title would imply. With the likely frustration factor as you get further in it seems mostly suited to playing in shorter bursts and the levels are generally very quick to either complete or fail at before it takes you right back into the action again. If you enjoy some challenge and undoubtedly some aggravation in your gaming it’s not a bad budget title to check out.

Score: 7

Pros:
  • A great sense of visual style
  • Simple and responsive control
  • The game is only as challenging as you choose to make it as the 3 cogs per level are ultimately optional
  • A budget-friendly price

Cons:
  • Some spaces get pretty tight and can be aggravating given the near-constant movement of the bird and the camera, time is not on your side
  • If you’re insistent on getting all 3 cogs on every level be ready for some serious aggravation in places
  • Only playable in handheld mode with touchscreen controls
  • The style of gameplay may not be engaging for everyone


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