Definitely one of the more frustrating titles to come out on the PlayStation Vita, Red Game Without a Great Name is something that’s more reminiscent of a mobile app. In fact, that’s exactly what it originally was, a mobile app. iFun4All brings this side-scrolling puzzler to the Vita for $4.99/£3.99, but is it worth this price for all the frustration it’s worth? Let’s find out.
Red Game Without A Great Name: PlayStation Vita [Reviewed], PC
Developer: iFun4all Ltd
Publisher: iFun4all Ltd.
Release Date: 15 December 2015/9 December 2015
Price: £3.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Developer/Publisher]
In the game, you play as a mechanical phoenix in a steampunk world that ventures through dangerous areas in order to deliver messages. The backstory is glossed over at the beginning of the game, showing a man living in a repressed country (presumably London, England in an alternate timeline) as he constructs this messenger bird. The bird has a magical property and that is that it’s able to teleport across the screen; this teleportation ability is pulled off when the player swipes their finger across the touchscreen of the Vita. Unfortunately, that’s all there is to it.
In terms of gameplay mechanics, the player only utilizes the touchscreen in order to play the game. This was disappointing as there are other elements that could have been incorporated into the Red Game in order to make it even more, intricate, such as secret weapons activated by certain buttons or the like. Instead, we only use the touch screen to teleport the simple-designed bird across the map to avoid dangers such as barbed wire, spikes, and other bladed obstacles. The reaction to touch is pretty smooth, as it was originally designed for smartphones in mind, and allows for more accuracy in placing the bird around the area.
Your bird automatically flies in one direction but as you progress through the game there are new obstacles to overcome such as vents that change the direction in which your bird is flying, sometimes making you frantically try to swipe them away from a dangerous object. The auto-scrolling camera also sometimes changes direction, making you look ahead at a different angle quickly in order to keep from letting your bird die from going offscreen. This adds a deeper level of gameplay that will keep players on their toes but becomes very difficult, very fast as more and more elements to the game are introduced such as the speed booster and the power to smash different areas. Not only that but with no checkpoints when you die the Phoenix begins at the start of the game in its cage again; this Red Game is unforgiving.
The design for the game looks great with the theme being red (but not just that colour) and lots of steampunk elements in the environment. The background has dystopian cities littering the background skyline with their buildings and chimney stacks, bringing its own uniqueness to the game while traversing the different areas. One of the most captivating and enthralling things about the game is not only its theme but also the audio that accompanies it. It’s almost a mix of quirky sounds with old-timey trumpets, which kept me happy even though the game grew increasingly frustrating. This is coupled with the beautiful and warm colours of the game, which add a somewhat soothing effect on many levels such as the deep purple ones. Even though it’s called the “red game”, it’s more like different variations of red.
The Trophies are probably going to make players spend a lot of hours grinding away at Red Game. These challenges task the player with completing every level with certain requirements accomplished such as collecting all three gears or finishing a level without dying. There are three gears scattered on each level, with each getting harder to find or collect while the levels come closer to 60. Sometimes you will need to smash down walls in order to find them or teleport into a tough spot with lots of barbed wire or spikes just to get one. This ramps up the difficulty for completionists out there, as they will naturally want to collect them whilst playing and only adds to the amount of frustration that the game will provide.
Red Game Without a Great Name would have probably been something better to have stayed on smartphones as a game, and not something to invest your money into unless it goes on a sale or apart of the PlayStation Plus games of the month. Though the game does offer a load of frustratingly challenging gameplay that would have hardcore gamers reeling, the gameplay mechanics only utilize the screen of the Vita and no other mechanics are involved. Grinding away at the Trophies is something that can offer replayability, but just adds on more frustration as the levels become very difficult later on. The ambience and music in the game are fantastic.