Review – Redd: The Lost Temple

There’s one thing you need to ensure as a game developer; when the player of your game loses, they have to feel like it was their fault that they lost.

Redd: The Lost Temple gets this completely wrong and it’s a shame because aside from that, it’s a great game.

There’s one blindingly obvious comparison to make when describing Redd. Imagine one of the dungeons from a 16-bit era Zelda game, and that’s pretty much it. You enter a temple searching for an amulet and you must explore it looking for keystones to open new areas, pressing switches and avoiding enemies and pitfalls. It’s Zelda by numbers, in a way.

It’s never quite as much of a puzzle as a Zelda dungeon, though. Redd is more about the journey than solving puzzles, and most of the time you’ll stumble across the correct way to go just by wandering around aimlessly. This isn’t to say that it isn’t an enjoyable way of doing things. Exploring Redd’s temple is just as fun as exploring a dungeon in Zelda, even if you don’t have to think about it so much.

It also differs slightly in that you have no efficient way of defending yourself. You have sticks of dynamite but the three-second countdown makes them mostly ineffective against enemies, and so the focus here is of avoiding enemies. It’s a nice idea and makes the gameplay very tense, but it also brings us back to the introduction of this review.

Redd’s temple is very dark, which means that he has to find torches to light his way. When he has a torch at about 75% of its capacity, he can see four or five feet around himself. It’s not enough, and further to this everything in the game uses the same limited palette. Holes in the floor are the same colour as slippery bits of floor and when viewed in torch light, are almost invisible. Enemies blend into floors and walls and holes and are near invisible for same reason. Well over half the times you’ll die in Redd will be because you just didn’t realise there was a hazard there. It’s apparent why it was designed this way, it does feel “authentic” in a way, but there has to be a point where authenticity is toned down so that the gameplay doesn’t suffer.

It’s a shame that this balance is off because there’s a lot to like about Redd. The dungeon design is wonderful and the fact that Redd only has dynamite to attack with makes for some very clever and creative set-pieces, such as boss fights when you’re sure that boss fights wouldn’t work. An epic final boss means that the end of the game feels satisfying and complete, even though Redd’s story is just beginning. There’s no Raventhorne-esque kick in the teeth, here.

Redd does just about enough to recommend itself. While the “cheap” deaths are incredibly annoying, you never lose too much progress if you save often and there’s plenty of fun to be had in the three-or-so hours that you’ll be exploring the temple with Redd.

Redd: The Lost Temple is available now for 240 Microsoft Points.

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3 Responses to Review – Redd: The Lost Temple

  1. Thanks for the review. I agree with you about the darkness in the game and it being hard to discern the pitfalls from the oil slicks. We are working on changing the color of the oil and upping the ambient light slightly more. Also, we are looking into some sort of “fog” down in the pitfalls.

    We are also looking into how to make the torch light more effective. What difficulty did you play the game on? The difficulty affects the ambient light. If you have any solutions or other opinions about how to make the game more enjoyable we are all ears.

  2. Have an idea on how to make Redd: The Lost Temple better? Help us make Redd: The Lost Temple more fun by filling out our survey. We need your input!

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6MKKPXH

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