I hope everyone knows that fairy tales, much like faeries, are not sacred. If you are a Peter Pan fan, you know that Tinkerbell is mischievous and intensely jealous. So, when the faery gets into the tale, things go amiss. Incidentally, Red Rage is full of faery – at least as it applies to tossing our image of the sweet, yet bewildered little hero to the wolves. Red Rage is a violent and creatively-simple personal rendition of the classic, yet ridiculous tale, Little Red Riding Hood, but remade for fans of Inkvaders and Zombieville USA. This shy-of-a-dollar game comes from the contrite half of CDE-Humble Gaming, the makers of the excellent time-manager, Anna Montana.
***UPDATE*** Humble are addressing many of the issues which are pointed out in this review and look to submit 1.1 by Friday in hopes of a refresh. I will post updated impressions in this review when I receive the updated version.
If you have played CDE games in the past, you will immediately feel at home with the vector graphics which give games like Archmage Defense a great edge. Unfortunately, outside the excellent and eerie plot scenes, Red isn’t the same sort of smooth that Archmage is. Everyone, including Red moves in jerky, two-step patterns which would benefit from more frames of animation, and game-play is really rough.
Fortunately, Red’s cute, yet horribly sadistic story is a royal tour-de-force, a champion in both artistic design, and plot. It creeps up intermittently between episodes and in cute, bloody cartoonish screens, carves a gash across the events which happened after Little Red Riding Hood’s storybook end. It is well-written, and at points, borders on game-writing genius. Unfortunately, it devolves into derivative cliche – but that simply doesn’t matter as it is already ahead of many slothful peers. Just be ready for blood (buckets of it) as Red Rage slashes a benchmark into the holiday horror fixation. Basically, Red’s got to break out of her ill-house to save granny and to do so, she has to slice and blast her way through a triumvirate of wolves, baddies and bosses.
Rage plays like a typical side-scroller, complete with slow-moving backgrounds and enemies who come from either the left or the right. Your mission is to beat everyone to the right-hand side till the vendor-pigs scroll in and the level ends. Not that the game is hard by any means: you can sit in one spot while wave after wave of enemies die in altruistic lumps at your feet; but it has bugs. Loaded with movement errors such as the now-famous ‘backpedaling’ bug where Red runs faster backwards than forwards, Rage has a nasty habit playing silly. Look out: you cannot shoot whilst moving, certain graphics disappear, and there are a horde of stability issues ranging from crashes to iPod library problems. Humble have lopped off the best parts of the game by releasing it with so many bugs.
Adding to that, Red Rage is repetitive. But whereas Inkvaders reinvented repetitive gameplay with artsy enemies and smooth gaming, Rage simply s-s-stammers. Sure, there are bosses, and yeah, wolves come in two colours, but the fauna is humdrum and I can’t help but shake a prejudicial urge to label all enemies as clones. Fortunately, the weapons are pretty good; whether you like throwing axes, or reaper scythes; limited-amo boom axes, or foot choppers, Red Rage has em’. You can also fill up your life canister, or rage metre; and in an unique twist, Red can level up, but only after paying a hefty fine to a cute little piggy. Weapons and lives, oh my!
Perhaps I should take this opportunity to mention rage mode. Red Rage derives its title from a multitude of inside information I am sure, but the fulcrum of its name is the rage mode. Like Invaders, it is a basic flying mode, but turns little red into the flying devil. She will devastate anything on screen for mere seconds, sending great fireballs from her boots as she hovers on her axe. But, moving Red whilst engaging rage mode is as much a pain as ever. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to see here.
Humble also reckon that you can use your iPod’s library. They are partly right. While you can listen to your library while playing, there are issues: not more than one song will play in a row. Similarly, pause, which is enabled by accessing the menu lasts only the duration of a song. Be ready to get back slashing afterward as facing Red’s death is hard after you have laboured through wave after wave of clones.
I hate to come come down like this on a release-game, but Red Rage deserves to be retired and retooled until it is stable, free of graphical and movement hitches, and fun. My game no longer responds unless I uninstall it and then reinstall. Add to that missing screens, sub-par action, and the ‘back-pedaling’ enemies and you have an app which borders on horrid. Fortunately for Red (and for Humble), the story and weapon selection is good and Openfeint adds an air of purpose to the game. But in the end, I cannot get on by justifying an action game whose best strength is its storyline and price.
|Title:||Red Rage (v1.0)||Developer:||Humble Gaming|
|Price:||$0.99||App Size:||19.9 MB|