Remember the old days, when games didn’t grind the action to a halt to show you a half-baked 15-minute cutscene about why the main character needs to Shoot the Bad Guys? Ruckert Broductions hopes to bring you back to those days with Redie (pronounced “re-die”, not “ready”), currently on Kickstarter.
At the time of writing, things aren’t going well for the campaign. It sits at only $350 raised of its $5,614 goal, despite going up on Steam Greenlight. Because of this, the developers released a demo to let people try the game out before pledging. I decided to play the demo and see if the game is worth anything.
I sat down to play Redie with skepticism. It looked like a Hotline Miami clone with none of the style that made Dennaton Games’ shooter so memorable. To be frank, I thought the game looked kinda ugly. But pretty soon after I jumped in, I found myself hooked.
Things start off pretty basic, but later on Redie mixes things up with some really bizarre weapons like a lightning gun and a rifle that shoots ricocheting bullets. If you play well, you’ll end up spinning around hemorrhaging bullets as the environment around you—and everyone in it—tears to pieces. Even if Redie doesn’t have the same level of style as Hotline Miami, it definitely has the same level of gameplay.
Tough but fair
The difficulty, as promised in the campaign, is tough but fair. You’ll die numerous times, but each death teaches you something. The enemies are predictable, so if you pay attention, you can adapt to any situation.
For example, in one of the early levels there is a single guard patrolling the first hallway. If you shoot him, the noise attracts some of the other guards; a second guard pops around the corner and kills you, and a third breaks through a door (right in front of the first guard) to get you. One way to get through this is to use melee against the first guard. Or—my personal favorite method—by opening the door and blasting Guard #2, then spiraling around to kill Guards #1 and #3 with a single, well-placed shot.
As it stands, the game feels almost ready. It needs a small amount of polish before release, and the difficulty curve needs to be tweaked a bit, but beyond that? This game feels good. Like, surprisingly good, considering its ugly visuals and small team.
What’s the Kickstarter problem?
Perhaps that’s why the Kickstarter hasn’t been doing well. After all, the developers are only asking for a measly amount of cash to survive the next few months as they work full-time to finish the game.
Or maybe tight gameplay and well-designed levels aren’t enough. Even if a story is half-baked, a lot of people appreciate having it. That, combined with the aesthetics, almost makes this game feel like something you’d play on Newgrounds in 2005. It’s easy to look at the game and think of it as a cheap knockoff and move on. Even with its solid core, the outer layers aren’t doing much to shake things up or catch anyone’s attention.
Really, that’s the biggest difference between Redie and Hotline Miami. Hotline Miami draws you into its world and judges you for taking part in it. The music, writing, and visuals all help build up this world so that it feels alive as you wreak havoc within it. Redie does away with that presentation in lieu of gameplay, but when Hotline Miami offers both, why should that be enough?
At the very least, I’d encourage you to try the Redie demo for yourself. You might find the core underneath all of those ugly, off-putting layers as satisfying as I did. Whether or not it’s worth your pledge is another story, but you might have some fun. And really, isn’t that what games are about?