Redd: The Lost Temple

I have a confession to make: in the fan vote for 2011 Indie Games Summer Uprising, I voted for Redd: The Lost Temple.  I mean, it looked fun.  Really, it did.  From the moment I started Indie Gamer Chick, it seemed like the game I would enjoy the most.  It’s style was reminiscent of the dungeons in Zelda games, plus it had a little dude in an Indiana Jones hat, and who doesn’t love Indy?

“My bad” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

One of my personal rules at Indie Gamer Chick is to at least make a good faith effort to finish a game.  In the case of Redd, it was so god damn boring, tedious, repetitive, poorly designed, frustrating, and slow that I gave up.  Mind you, I gave up after five hours, most of which was spent walking around in circles.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Redd is a top-down adventure game where you play as some explorer dude named Redd.  There’s a story here but the bad design got in the way right off the bat, as the text in the opening narration was too small to read even on a 60 inch television screen from a distance of about five-and-a-half-feet away.  I don’t even put up with games that make me lean forward when that’s entire point of the thing and there’s a peripheral included that monitors your leaningness.   Why the hell should I be forced to lean closer to my screen?  Even better is that Redd includes honest-to-God voice acting in every section BUT this part.  So before the game even begins, I’m in a bad mood because of it.  How peachy.

This was the only boss I actually made it to. And it's a UFO thingie. The fuck?

Once the action begins, things don’t work out much better.  Your primary weapon is dynamite, so to proceed through the game you have to blow up various debris, enemies, and jars with it.  It’s kind of like Bomberman, only suckier.  At the start, you can only store four bombs at a time.  They refill automatically but it’s a slow process that allows you time to take a shower, brush your teeth, or maybe even sneak in a nap.  This is a pretty bizarre design choice, since your ability to explore is limited by your ability to use bombs.  As a result, the action grinds to a complete halt.

Early in the game, a shop opens up that allows you to either carry more bombs or gain the ability to refill your current stock faster.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t really afford anything in it.  Then I found out a fun trick: collect all the coins in the immediate rooms, and then kill myself.  I had about ten lives, and you get free ones all the time.  This proved effective and I settled on the quicker bomb refill.  If I really wanted, I could have grinded it out and bought more stuff, but I was running out of patience and I moved on.  I figured I would later find my way back to it anyway.  Much like every other expectation I had regarding Redd, I was wrong again here.

Exploration in this game just plain fucking sucks.  In most rooms you have a very limited visibility of only a few inches surrounding your character.  This makes falling into pits a common hazard.  Every few feet you run into a new pit.  And if that’s not enough, the ground often crumbles under your feet and you fall to your death.  You know, I’ve never actually played E.T. for the Atari 2600, but I can now sympathize with everyone who did.  Pits here, pits there, pits everywhere.  Almost none of them visible.  Hell, sometimes you encounter rooms full of oil slicks that are practically indistinguishable from pits.  Sometimes the oil slicks send you into pits.  So traumatizing was dealing with the pits in this game that I no longer have a crush on Brad Pitt, or will ever use Pit in Super Smash Bros. Brawl again.  Damn you, Redd!

It doesn’t help that the graphics are so saturated with the color red that it makes the entire experience feel more like playing a long-lost Virtual Boy game.  As a result, every room looks the same.  The map provided isn’t very useful, and thus I ended up running around in circles like I was training for the Olympics.  There’s nothing that points you in the right direction to go.  Sometimes I suspect I was in a section of the game I wasn’t meant to be in.  This one time, I walked past some poison gas.. oh  yea, there’s poison gas, I’ll get to that in a bit.. and into a room.  Because I used a fairy to survive the gas, returning to the previous room was not an option.  I walked into the room on the left and found that it was inaccessible due to the presence of more gas.  Fair enough.  I walked to the room to the right, which was full of oil slicks and pits.  Noticing a barrier that requires a button press, I hit the button and the room immediately filled up with invisible gas, leading to my fairly instantaneous death.  I then respawned in the same room and immediately died again from the gas.  And then again.  By the third spawn I was smart enough to hold down left and exit the room before dying.  On the plus side, I did find a more efficiant gas for use at San Quentin’s death row.  In your face, hydrogen cyanide!

Anyway, as you might have figured out, I was pretty much stuck.  The only options were to detonate some jars and hope like hell one of them would spawn a fairy.  Whenever all available jars were used up, I had to commit suicide.  My stockpile of lives quickly dwindled and I game-overed.  At this point, I respawned at the previous save point I used, which happened to be the room where this mess started in the first place.  Thankfully, I knew not to attempt to use a fairy to go up past the gas and into the trap.  But suddenly I realized that I had respawned, pretty much consequence free, and could continue on this mind-numbingly horrible journey.  It begs the question of why there’s even a life system in the first place?  I guess to prevent moments like the one above, but still, a more stream-lined quest would have been a better choice.

Ah yes, and the poison gas.  Well, it’s everywhere.  It kills you in about a nano-second if you’re exposed to it.  There’s an “air meter” that drains when you touch it, but it drains really fast.  That’s fine, I can get it.  Don’t breath the green air.  Don’t feed your dog chocolate.  Don’t cross the streams.  These are all easy instructions and I’m very much capable of following them.  Except in Redd, where you can’t always tell if your dude is on the same level as the gas.  You’ll try to walk through a door where it looks like maybe, kind of, sort of, the gas is beneath you and you’ll have safe passage.  And it works.  Then, later on, you’ll encounter a similar situation, only this time you’re on the same plane as the gas and you begin to die as soon as you start to move towards the door.  As for my example above, there’s more than one spot where I was able to trap myself in an inescapable situation because of that damn gas.  Yes, perhaps the presence of the gas was meant to alert me that I wasn’t supposed to venture that far yet.  Still, I was able to get past it using a fairy, and if I can be that dumb to get myself stuck, others can be too.  How much fun do you think those people are having?  About as much as I had, I reckon.  Which would be ZERO fun.  I’ve been to funerals that are more entertaining.

No, I didn’t finish Redd.  I put five hours into it and I could not bare another second more.  After two-and-a-half hours, I quit on the default difficulty setting, which happens to be “hard.”  Playing the game on normal, I honestly didn’t notice that much of a difference.  I guess that’s why it’s called a difficulty setting and not a level-of-fun setting.  Having put in the same amount of time on normal, I still couldn’t navigate this God awful game.  Between the samey rooms, red-bleached graphics, slow play mechanics, and absolutely unfair level design, I just gave up.  Brian actually asked me to quit earlier, for my own sanity.  I refused, citing “integrity” among other things.  However, Redd was so bad that I could safely say “fuck integrity” and not feel too bad about.  I guess this technically makes Redd the worst game in the Uprising.  No matter how bad Raventhorne was, at least I finished it.

In five hours of play time, I could honestly not think of one single nice thing to say about any aspect of it’s design.  Redd is like someone took various aspects of games considered “good” and Frankensteined them together in a way that would be considered a crime against nature.  Here is a game that got it’s start as a Minesweeper clone and somewhere along the way became an exploration-based dungeon crawler and somehow managed to be even more coma-inducing than if they had stuck with the Minesweeper crap.  I feel they should get some kind of medal for that.  As a conclusion to the 2011 Indie Games Summer Uprising, I guess it’s a fitting choice.  Redd: The Lost Temple is a game that sure as hell looked good, but looks are as far as you get.  I feel the guys behind this event took a window-shopping approach when choosing which games would be promoted, and I fell into the same trap when I voted for this.  Yes, I did vote for it despite being completely uneducated on how bad it potentially was.  What can I say, I’m the typical American voter.

Redd: The Lost Temple was developed by Blazing Forge Games

240 Microsoft Points said “Well, if you move past the endless pits, horrible graphics, slow game play, and overall shoddiness, it’s not a bad game” in the making of this review. 

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About Indie Gamer Chick
Indie game reviews and editorials.

5 Responses to Redd: The Lost Temple

  1. Dcon6393 says:

    Dang, I can’t rip off your Bay of Pigs quote if it is not here… Anyway it is sad to see that this game is not that good. I tried the trail and said to myself “It can’t be this boring the whole game”. Good thing I did not spend the points from what I have seen here, other sites, and people actually playing the game.

  2. crack says:

    I picked up all the bad parts and doom and destiny. This was on my list. I tried the demo and it was ok but felt meh.

  3. oriontd says:

    I bought this game, played it with two friends (pass the controller on death) on hard mode and beat it in 5 hours. We even got “stuck” in that gas area (you know you could just reload your save file? and the makers actually told me they’ll be fixing that area next release!) and we never “gamed” the system by dieing to reset pots to get more gold. From what I’ve seen, this game exceeds the quality of most other games on the XBLIG, I think you got off on the wrong foot by letting the intro text size bother you (I didn’t have any problem with it?) and carried it on through the game. Your other valid complaint, about pits and oil looking the same, also tricked us several times, but its not too bad (You want to avoid walking on either one, right?) and the makers again told me they’ll be adjusting the colors for that in the next release too. So I hope you give it another try, eventually, because I think it was easily worth $3 and that you would definitely enjoy it, still, since you were interested in it already.

    • Kairi Vice says:

      Honestly, I thought it was just plain boring. The whole text-thing did bug me but saying it put me in a bad mood was done for comedic effect. I always keep an open mind on these things. It just never did anything for me. As always, I won’t turn down a developer requesting a Second Chance with the Chick, but they would basically have to scrap the whole game and start over for it to win me over at this point.

  4. qupe says:

    I don’t understand your comment about things grinding to a halt because you have used up all your dynamite and was waiting around for it to recharge. You must have been X button happy or something. I didn’t find the dynamite thing an issue at all, just made me think about my surroundings more. I can’t think of many times I was required to use the dynamite to progress further, at least up until the “ufo” thing. I quite enjoyed this game, it had me exploring, which is ultimately what the game is, an exploration game. Each to their own I suppose.

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