Crimsonland is another one of those amazingly fun, top-down survival shooter titles. It has a quest mode serving up 6 chapters across 3 difficulties, and each chapter has around 10 stages. There are also multiple interpretations of Survival mode including one that challenges players to win with no weapons at all as well as another in which each weapon only has one clip and spawns in random places on the map. Players can compete in online leader-boards across all stages of the game.
The enemies display good A.I. that doesn’t always just run towards you and instead sometimes takes thought out paths with strategic elements to them. Players have to grab power-ups (called Perks in the game) fast and have to decide rapidly in the moment which power-ups are most important as you often cant always get to every one of them. Some weapons are powerful but harder to use than others and many only play to a particular play-style meaning you must also choose wisely which weapons you pick up. Strangely, enemies seem to sometimes destroy power-ups before you get a chance to grab them but other times can walk right over them. This means they didn’t try to take a bite of it. One of the many, many perks available allows players to be the immune carrier of a virus that enemies will become infected with if they take a bite of you.
Often times the challenge in each level was very well thought out and relates to not just the mass amount of enemies you face but also the power-ups and weapons given to you with which to strategically defeat them. Crimsonland proves easy to get into but becomes difficult and before you know it enemies are multiplying, popping up invisible, spawning new hives, rapidly running enemies, and even laser blasting enemies that can produce a bullet hell situation causing players to tread carefully.
Players will have to prioritize which enemies give them the most trouble according to their play-style and attempt to take those out first. Some of the most powerful weapons are spread weapons that require good aim since they spread very loosely over long distances. Worse still, the most viscous enemies run fast, and the best weapons often take a long amount of time to reload. For example, the plasma shotgun is one such weapon that I found to be a favorite due to its high damage and ability to take out hordes at once, but those shots had to be aimed well for quickly running enemies and couldn’t be wasted on easy to down enemies since the reload wait was a bit dangerous to toy with.
I’m not sure if this can become a problem or not for some players but enemies can walk off-screen. Killing them off-screen may or may not result in power-ups being dropped where the player can’t reach them. Luckily the game is very balanced overall so this is more of an expert note for those seeking to maximize their skills in the various survival modes offered.
There’s a great amount of weapons in the game that you unlock as you play through quest mode stages. Each time you start most stages though, you have to begin with the pistol again and work your way up based on what pops up. perks are also unlocked as you go and picked up randomly in the same manner. Other stages will be specifically designed for a specific weapon’s use and serve as a training and / or challenge for the player to master that weapon. Of course, this is easily avoided by grabbing something else that falls from enemies, but the game is not always easier to complete that way.
Sometimes enemies spawn from hives, a la Gauntlet style, and of course you’ll have a never ending amount of them until you destroy the hive. 4 player local co op is sweet but the absence of online co op in this day and age is pretty upsetting. It’s difficult to say how much this actually takes away from the title though, since it’s so badass – but a lot of people won’t even give it a chance after hearing this due to the inherent value proposition that’s missing without an online mode. Power-up perks include speed, nuking the screen, freezing enemies, setting off shots in all directions, slow motion, uranium filled bullets, and a ton more. Seriously, there’s tons of perks and a lot of them are very creative. The graphics play a major role in making this game feel very solid. paired with simple controls and reliable hit detection, there’s nothing to really complain about here. Sound design leaves nothing to complain about, and I take that as a huge plus because top-down shooters like this don’t usually have polished sound effects like Crimsonland does.
This is one of the more well polished indie games that obviously has been given a lot of play-testing and thought to its design. tons of fun, easy to jump in as well as come back to and yet still challenges you. It’s an excellent top-down shooter with excellent quality to it and a lot of thought put into it. Particular aspects that stand out include level design, fun factor, and replay value. Once Quest Mode is defeated in all difficulties (which will take you a good chunk of sessions), the endless survival modes are kept fresh by all of the perks and weapons you’ve unlocked. The only real down point of this game is that it doesn’t have online multiplayer, and even though it does have local co-op, that just feels like a slap in the face. But it’s a slap in the face you’ll gladly take once you discover how awesome this game is!
Overall Score: 9.25 / 10
RGN Rating: Gold Game
Developer / Publisher: 10tons
Available On: PS4 | PC
Handheld Version: Vita (Coming Soon in August)
Played On: Sony PlayStation 4
Review Copy Info: Two digital copies of this game were provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.