As summer comes to a close the XBLIG Summer Uprising must also end. The last game released in the series was Blazing Forge Games’ Redd: The Lost Temple. Redd, the main playable character, is an explorer-for-hire and will find you the goods as long as the price is right. Allie, the friendly and somewhat English voice on the radio, is your hirer and an archeologist. The world is in danger from an unknown physical phenomenon and Redd and Allie are the only ones that can save us. Redd is a high definition, top down adventure/exploration game with 2D graphics reminiscent of an old Zelda game with a giant nod to Indiana Jones.
The game starts with a storybook opening revealing the history of the current events. While background is always good, this screen had me leaning over in my chair squinting to see what the hell it actually said. After you are finished buying a new pair of eyeballs, Redd falls into the temple. What a lovely temple it is: lost and of colors red and black. A sea of red and black. Your first task is to survive a runaway boulder, and once you reach the last room you are able to stand still and figure out what you’re supposed to be doing. In the room are four doors. They all of have a stone with some colorful splooge on it to depict that these doors are important. Allie on the radio tells you that all you have to do is roam the temple and find the four stones and open up those doors. Let’s begin this journey to the center of madness, Brendan Fraser style.
Redd is supposed to be a stylized top-down 2D game; BFG mentions that it’s 1080p. Well then, why is everything so damn hard to see? I mean, I love red and black. You get great things from the colors: a deck of cards, a Minicooper, flags across nations, the True Blood logo, but what I found that I got from Redd was only misery. And this map, Y NO MAGNIFYING GLASS?! The map lays out all three levels that the temple has to explore. The only problem is if there is an indicator on the map you have to kiss your TV to see what it is. Maybe if I wait, Allie will help me. At least while I’m waiting my torch wont burn out on me. It does burn down gradually over time, but you’ll most likely get a refill for it before it goes under 90%. (UPDATE: While waiting for her to speak to me, the ceiling dropped a piece of death on my head.)
In hopes that the storyline would compel me, I eased up on the look of the game and trudged through. Now, I said earlier that there was a giant nod to the Indy series. Unfortunately, it’s a nod to the fourth film; the one where they have to retrieve 50 Cent’s crystal skull from the Commies. Throughout the dungeon is toxic gas and creatures that are similar to Roombas, but instead of cleaning, they kill you. Your weapon of choice is short-fused dynamite, so killing things on the move will take timing, or you can ignore their existence and move on with your life. Ah, moving…
The controls are straight forward; movements for up, back, and side to side are responsive when they want to be. There are rooms where you have to use the oil slicks. These oil slicks look very similar to the goddamn pits that equal death. You know how you can tell the difference? The extra thinning brownish-red pebbles, that’s it. No one actually tells you; not even a silly Keanu line from Redd. While sliding about on the slicks, sometimes you have to cross on a diagonal route to avoid a pit. More often than not, you go through the motions on the controller but the game reads that as: Oh, yes, you come to an untimely demise so you have to start the puzzle all over again. On the normal difficulty you start out with 10 lives. I spent all of those lives and the extra 10 I received after I failed trying to figure that shit out. After another 20 lives and a few rage quits, I realized: I am not having fun.
Further into the rabbit hole I went. The next problem I faced was a room where you had to complete the puzzle before it filled up with toxic gas and you bite the dust. I died once and, having almost figured out the whole thing, upon respawn I ran back in there with determination. Only problem was that my oxygen meter had depleted; the gas wasn’t even triggered yet. I ran to the next room, waited, then tried again with the same results. Great, not only does this game cause emotional torture for me, but there are also bugs. Turn off Xbox.
This game was the last to debut for Indie Summer Uprising, not because it was so amazing that it was fit to end an event with such a delight, but because BFG was still working on the broken things and apparently they still are. They have taken to the forums and created a survey to see how people were loving or hating the game. I filled out that survey. I hope they hear my pain through the screen because I truly think with a little TLC and a patch or two this game could become tolerable. I want to like this game. I enjoy games where I can explore and collect things. This one gets just under my skin, though. I kept playing this title to spite it, thinking I would come out victorious, but alas, Redd won. I lost.
I wish I had published this article before I had seen the ending to Redd. But as my final draft sat open on my computer and my soul witnessed the mess of an ending to the game, I must say, I want to punt angelic things. Redd, I’ll take my Pyrrhic victory and be on my way, thank you and good day.