I didn’t think that the first Red Colony was a good game by any stretch of the imagination, but there was something about it that kept me entertained. It was weird, it was kinda creepy, and it did have some decent puzzles here and there – it was just a bit broken (and very lewd) too. With that in mind, I had hoped that Red Colony 2 would offer more of the same, albeit with some improvements made following some of the criticisms aimed at the first game. The fact that it has released just six-months on might suggest that players should keep their expectations in check though…
Much like the first game, I don’t think that Red Colony 2 is a good game. At all. Unfortunately, some of the original’s quirks don’t feel as endearing here either, with some sketchy gameplay mechanics and bugs just feeling more annoying than anything.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Red Colony 2 puts players in the role of Nicole, who returning players may know from the first game as being the character that put the Red Colony into disarray. She wasn’t directly introduced, but it was all hinted at with secrets found across the game world. However, it turns out that she isn’t some super spy that has made her way over from the neighbouring Blue Colony, but instead a sex worker that had been blackmailed into it by the government who had kidnapped her daughter. I’d like to say this was a big surprise, but you know what? It feels par for the course in a sequel to Red Colony.
Unfortunately for Nicole, her arrival back at the Blue Colony isn’t exactly harmonious. Not only is her daughter’s safety still not guaranteed, but the virus she let loose into the Red Colony has also run rampant here, with a zombie outbreak causing all sorts of havoc. Oh, and there are dinosaurs roaming around too, so there’s that to deal with.
“The problem is, the story just feels nonsensical; every interaction you share with another character just feels stupid, whilst the way Nicole reacts to everything around her just feels unnatural.”
Red Colony 2’s plot is equally as baffling as the first game, with absurdity galore as Nicole looks to save her daughter. It’s also just as titillating, with plenty of scantily clad women with big breasts roaming around. The problem is, the story just feels nonsensical; every interaction you share with another character just feels stupid, whilst the way Nicole reacts to everything around her just feels unnatural. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the way she reacts to something that occurs late in the game feels completely out of place for her motives across the main story, which just makes the whole narrative fall apart and feel less believable.
The grammar and spelling in the game is all over the place too, with it clear that not a lot of effort went into proof-reading. It’s just a shoddy narrative overall, with nothing particularly charming or fun about it. I actually found the bizarre nature of the story endearing in the first game, but this time around it just fell completely flat.
Gameplay-wise, Red Colony 2 plays out in similar fashion to the first game, with players exploring an array of 2D environments, all whilst solving puzzles and killing enemies in their path. Combat is just like the first game, with the player able to use a selection of guns as well as a melee weapon. The difference here though is that you don’t have a knife to use, but rather find baseball bats in the environment. Each can only be used a certain amount of times, so you can’t spam melee attacks to get easy kills. It was something that made the combat in the first game WAY too easy, so it’s nice to see the developer did something to rectify it.
“You’d think a close-range head shot with a shotgun would kill a zombie in one-hit, right? Wrong… it took two.”
That being said, Red Colony 2’s enemies still bring with them little challenge. There is plenty of ammo to find or craft in the environment, so players will never find themselves struggling with resources. It is still possible to sneak under tables or smash lights to hide from some enemies too, so there are ways to completely avoid combat. It just wasn’t very fun to fight the zombies, with a lack of consistency across the board. You’d think a close-range head shot with a shotgun would kill a zombie in one-hit, right? Wrong… it took two. One shot to the body the next time around, though? Dead.
It’s all very clunky too, with enemies moving slowly and Nicole fiddly to control. I noticed there were times where enemies would seemingly attack me as they were dying too, whilst there were also occasions where they wouldn’t respond to my presence even as I shot them. It just takes away all aspects of fun from combat.
“I let one dinosaur catch me to see what would happen and there’s a BRILLIANT death sequence.”
Oh, and the dinosaurs? Don’t expect exciting encounters with them. They’re one-hit kill scenarios where the only option is to run away. The problem is, it’s ALWAYS easy to get away, with no real threat felt when they’re nearby. Not once did I have a close call or find it difficult to evade them, whilst the set-pieces with them were few and far between considering that they’re meant to be one of the big additions to the game. It’s a shame because it is a cool (albeit absurd) idea – I even let one catch me to see what would happen and there’s a BRILLIANT death sequence. They just never really felt all that threatening throughout the game.
The original game had a lot of the flaws that Red Colony 2 has – I’ve not even touched upon things like still being in the same room when walking through a door, the graphical oddities, or the terrible save system, which sees some unfortunate players having to replay some lengthy sections if they find themselves dying. There was one point in the game where I made a mistake that cost me my life, meaning I had to replay one entire area all over again… it was painful.
“There are multiple endings to unlock, secrets scattered across the world, and little nods to the games that inspired it too.”
Despite these issues, there are still things I liked about Red Colony 2. I’m a fan of the visual style of the game and the environments you explore are pretty neat, whilst I found the puzzles fun too. There’s nothing particularly challenging about them and the solution is normally hidden in plain sight, but they had this old-school feel to them that made them enjoyable to solve. There are multiple endings to unlock, secrets scattered across the world, and little nods to the games that inspired it too, with the herbs of Resident Evil appearing across the environment and even an acknowledgement of the ‘Dino Crisis’ that the Blue Colony finds itself in.
Still, whilst I liked these things and it’s clear that a lot of love has been poured into Red Colony 2, it doesn’t come together to make for a good game. It’s commendable that a one-man studio managed to put this together in a short amount of time, but it NEEDS a lot more work across the board. Let’s not hide the fact that it’s a very over-sexualised game too, with big boobs and torn clothing aplenty as you play. There’s no nudity to be found, but I still wouldn’t want people to see me playing the game. Still… I couldn’t help but to laugh at the squeaking sound effect when squeezing past glass panels…
Red Colony 2 takes the formula from the original game but somehow makes it feel a bit worse, with the disjointed plot, clumsy gameplay, and array of bugs making it a hard title to recommend. Despite its flaws, there was something about the first game I found charming, but this follow-up just didn’t do enough to improve upon the experience and make itself into an actual decent game. It’s a shame.
There are still things Red Colony 2 gets right, with the puzzles and exploration certainly highlights of the experience. It’s neat to see the developer has taken some feedback on board with combat too, even if it does still fall short of the mark. And hey, it’s cheap and short, so if you did like the first game there’s no harm in checking it out.
Just know what you’re in for: a bad game that has some neat ideas (and lots of big boobs).
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC