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Since the release of Castlevania: SotN back in 1997, Metroidvania games have consistently retained popularity in the consumer market. Countless takes on the genre are widely available across each and every platform. And while this is certainly a great thing, it can also make it difficult to find something fresh to play. REDSHOT is one such title that has successfully managed to separate itself amongst its peers.
At its core, REDSHOT is a Metroidvania side scroller, with a focus on bullet time gameplay. It was created by solo developer Brian Lynch over the course of seven years. His hard work has certainly paid off though, as REDSHOT is incredibly well made title from top to bottom.
Our story follows Galactic Defense Force agent Jack Redshot, AKA “Goose.” While making his standard rounds, he receives a distress call about an ongoing invasion on the planet Carcosa. His higher ups task him with investigating the attack, along with safely extracting the royal family back to HQ.
Predictably, Goose is ambushed on his way to the planet, causing him to abruptly crash-land. In true video game fashion, this somehow leaves him with very few resources at his disposal. Now isolated from his allies, he aims to successfully complete his mission against the mysterious enemy forces.
On the surface, REDSHOT seemed pretty cut and dry narratively. However, the further I delved into the game, the more it rewarded me with genuinely captivating moments. The peculiar way in which it unfolded, as well as the unexpected reveals, made for a very satisfying experience. Hopefully nobody else makes the same mistake I did by judging a book, or game, by its cover.
In REDSHOT, you’ll face off against a countless bombardment of enemies. To combat them, you are provided with a vast array of weapons and equipment, all of which serve their own purposes. These range from pistols, shotguns and rocket launchers, all the way up to energy blasters and flamethrowers. They are all absurdly entertaining to use, and most important of all, control extremely well.
The ability to slow down time also provides you with a massive strategic advantage. However, since using bullet time drains your stamina, you still have to have the wherewithal to use it smartly. Letting it tick for too long will leave you exhausted and vulnerable, thus, unable to avoid the enemies’ attacks. With all that said, if you use this mechanic efficiently, it’ll make you feel like a total badass.
The entirety of my playthrough, I never once felt exhausted with any aspect of the combat. In fact, I found it to be so enjoyable, that I had no qualms about replaying it on multiple difficulties. For all intents and purposes, REDSHOT’s gunplay is a well-polished gem, and a collosal breath of fresh air.
Movement and Upgrades
The movement is also tantamount to the gunplay in how smooth and seamless it is to perform. It quickly becomes second nature to make precise jumps, leap off of walls, and slide out the way of incoming attacks. Its implementation meant that I could focus exclusively on the action, instead of worrying about finicky controls. This was especially important during the boss fights, which often had a lot of things in play.
REDSHOT has the advantage of being a non-linear game. Effectively, this means you can traverse the map in any way you want. This is great from a replayability standpoint, as each subsequent playthrough can be tackled in new and unique ways.
You’ll also discover a myriad of useful resources and entities throughout your journey. These could include upgrades that buff your characters potency, exclusive shops that sell new tools, or unique NPC interactions. These are usually hidden in secret areas, which gives you more of an incentive to pay attention to your surroundings. It is also a prime example of well thought out level design, which this game has in spades.
To put it simply, REDSHOT is an utterly beautiful game. The environments up front and striking color pallet, mixed in with its stylistic sprite work, aggrandise the overall aura of the game. Each of the regions also have their own individual appearances. While this is a nice design choice, it is also handy when it comes to navigating around the world.
While I wouldn’t say they are on the same level as the backgrounds and landscapes, the character designs still retain their own charmful approach. Of particular note are the boss designs, with my personal favorite being the Little Shop of Horrors inspired Man-Eating Plant. Its floral patterns and tendrils simply pop out exuberantly on screen. With that said, most of the other NPCs are fairly bog standard, and I’d argue that they are the least impressive part of the game.
Contrary to this is the animation quality, which is equally stellar in its execution. The VFX employ a similar pixel aesthetic, and blends in nicely with the rest of the visual presentation. Goose himself also has a fairly distinctive appearance. The frames for his actions are ridiculously fluid, with his oversized scarf being the most obvious example.
The music in REDSHOT feels vaguely similar to the 90s anime Trigun. That isn’t a knock against it though, if anything, it’s a massive positive. The arrangements span a number of different genres, all of which do an insanely crisp job of capturing the ambient and desolate feeling of the planet. Some of the tracks can get a bit overbearing at times, but overall, the soundtrack is pretty great.
In addition to the OST, the sound effects are recorded and implemented extremely well. The guns, items, abilities and enemies expertly match the onscreen visuals, all while successfully retaining the games overarching thematic.
REDSHOT is a game that genuinely surprised me in the best way possible. The mixture of smooth platforming elements, tied in with seamless bullet time gunplay, made for an overall enthralling experience. The stellar art direction, and equally as impressive OST, capture the isolated mood of the alien plant immaculately. Although the story isn’t massively revolutionary, it is very satisfactory in its own right. Overall, REDSHOT is a heck of a lot of fun, with a unique twist on the Metroidvania genre. If you enjoyed titles like Hollow Knight, Dead Cells or Bloodstained, then I recommend you check this one out.