Please welcome to Xbox One, the retro, old school, top down shoot’em up gorefest Crimsonland! If you have not played this game on any other platform until now, then you are truly unworthy of calling yourself a gamer!
This is a simple game, and there is beauty in that. All you need to do is survive, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. You will be attacked by giant ants, beetles, zombies and aliens in massive swarms of hundreds at a time and only with your ability to grab the best weapon, choose that awesome perk and touch that powerup will you be able to survive!
You’re offered 2 main types of gameplay; Quest or Survival. The Quest mode pits you against 60 levels of increasing difficulty during which you will unlock the 30 weapons and 55 perks. These perks are turned off by default in the options menu, so before you start, turn them back on, you won’t regret it!
Survival is just as it sounds, fight an increasing amount of enemies in one of five types; Survival, Rush, Blitz, Weapon Picker and Nukefism.
The menu offers very little to adjust, in fact all there is are the sound volumes. The controls can’t be changed, if you select this option the in game Snapped Help will pop up giving you instructions on the game. Difficulty levels can only be unlocked by playing Quest.
Crimsonland offers a huge variety in weapons ranging from the mediocre machine guns, shotguns, miniguns and rocket launchers to gauss rifles, plasma shotguns and ion cannons. Each weapon has a different magazine size and reload time, yet they all have infinite ammunition, so if you’re a happy go lucky spray and prayer, just hold down a trigger, grit your teeth and dive into the frenzy!
If the weapons aren’t enough for you there are the powerups which are dropped by some of the creatures you vanquish. There’s a nice selection here too, fire bullets, a small nuke, freeze your enemies and many more. At some point during the game, these will save your life, but don’t count on them as being your saviour, there will be more enemies right behind you!
Now if you’re still craving more craziness, the Perks option which I mentioned earlier will activate a levelling system which grants you XP per creature you slay, and upon unlocking the next level you will be given a choice of perks which you have unlocked.
Out of the 55 perks you can unlock there are some simple ones such as Fast Loader, yup, quicker reload speed or Regeneration. But there are some nastier ones, such as Infernal Contract which reduces you to 1 point of health for 3 extra perks. The Perks weren’t designed to be used in Quest mode, but it does make it more fun. So if you prefer to play the game as originally designed, leave it off, and use them in Survival.
I would have thought this game would have been given a bit more of a face lift. The backgrounds don’t have much variety and look a little bit dull, until it’s covered in blood! The music is like a taste of synthetic rock and may keep your pulse quickened for a while, does get repetitive after a while. A few different tracks along the way would have helped spruce it up, along with the sound bytes, after a while you feel like you can happily play it on mute. The worst part of dying isn’t having to start that level again, it’s the awful death wail your man makes!
There are some nice features however, you do have a tiny aiming reticle so you’re not aiming blind, the number of rounds is written there, and it displays a little digital countdown when you’re reloading. Your health is a little circle, so all the crucial information is displayed exactly where you need it so there’s no need to flit your eyes around the screen looking for information.
There is no online multiplayer in this game, it was never part of the design and I’m not surprised it hasn’t been added, yet a feature which makes this game one of the best couch games I can think of, is the 4 player co-op which is available in every mode of the game! So with nothing to learn except left stick – move, right stick – aim, either trigger – fire, either bumper – reload, you can grab your mates and create a crimson canvass of carnage on your TV screen within seconds of firing up your Xbox!
This is a game I enjoyed playing the first time around, and I thoroughly enjoyed it this time too! For such a basic concept I got stuck into it making my guy run all over the screen whilst shooting those damn ants over his shoulder. With nowhere to hide it truly does come down to kill or be killed.