The Red Colony series has never been known for being of a high quality – in fact, between the finicky gameplay mechanics, the clumsy controls, and some over-the-top titillation, it’s not unfair to say it’s actually pretty bad. Despite this, it’s always managed to entertain me; sometimes in a ‘so bad it’s good’ kind of way and other times by having some moments through the games where it could genuinely be fun.
With Red Colony 3 though, I feel the series has taken a step back and feels a little more frustrating to play. Don’t get me wrong, it’s probably the most innovative of the three, but innovation doesn’t make for a fun experience when there are so many technical issues holding it back.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Red Colony 3 puts players in the role of Mina, an android from the planet Titan that is returning home following a mission to collect dinosaur DNA from Mars. Her reward for doing so would have been the gift of ‘Turning’, which would have allowed her to become human in order to feel love for the first time. Unfortunately, things don’t quite work out for her, and when she’s denied access to the planet, she is deemed a fugitive. Oh, and there are robots, zombies, and dinosaurs everywhere too, so she has to fight for survival.
Yeah, that might sound UTTERLY bizarre, but if you’ve played the previous games in the series, you’ll have some idea as to what’s going on. It has always been a bit of a nonsensical series, but in a way that will also intrigue players too. Come on, zombies, dinosaurs, AND robots? You can’t pretend you’re not a little bit interested. Sure, it might not be that well written and there are plot holes all over the place, but I still found myself thoroughly enjoying the ludicrous tale.
“It has always been a bit of a nonsensical series, but in a way that will also intrigue players too. Come on, zombies, dinosaurs, AND robots? You can’t pretend you’re not a little bit interested.”
Much like its predecessors, Red Colony 3 is a 2D side-scrolling adventure that’s similar to the Resident Evil series, with a mixture of enemies to shoot at, obscure puzzles to solve, and the occasional jump scare making up the experience.
The gunplay is where Red Colony 3 shares most of its similarities with Resident Evil. Players will be fixed in one spot and manually line up their shots, with those aimed at the head typically being the most effective. That being said, robot zombies are introduced this time around that have to be shot in four different lights on their body, which changes things up a little bit for players. It’s a decent enough system where it’s pretty straightforward to line up shots, so it’s hard to complain too much there.
However, a severe lack of ammunition means that shooting isn’t always the best course of action, with Red Colony 3 encouraging players to destroy light sources in order to sneak past foes. Whilst stealth play has been present in some sequences in the previous games, it feels more prominent here. Unfortunately, the execution isn’t all that great; instead of adding to the tension, it just felt more frustrating. That aforementioned lack of ammunition is a massive pain too, especially since you don’t have a melee weapon to attack enemies with this time around. Find yourself all out of ammo? Well, you might be screwed if you hope to progress through the game.
“One interesting idea introduced in Red Colony 3 is the bigger emphasis on changing outfits, with each one having their own HP count. Running low on HP with one outfit? You’ll have to change to another if you want to survive an attack.”
The puzzles were alright, with most typically requiring some sort of password or combination to solve. None were particularly tricky to figure out and it’s mostly a case of checking the environment to find the solution, but they were rarely innovative. It’d be unfair to say there weren’t some clever puzzles because one or two did show creativity, but don’t expect mind boggling enigmas here.
One interesting idea introduced in Red Colony 3 is the bigger emphasis on changing outfits, with each one having their own HP count. Running low on HP with one outfit? You’ll have to change to another if you want to survive an attack. It fits in thematically with Mina’s outfit ripping apart as she loses health, though it could be a bit of a nuisance to constantly swap clothes around. Still, it was pretty cool, so it’s nice to see the game introduce some new ideas that actually work quite well.
One thing that’s worth noting is that Red Colony 3 could feel more punishing than other entries. Besides the scarcity of ammo and health kits, there’s also the fact that saving is limited in the game. Yup, you’ll still need to use a USB stick to save, and yup, they’re still limited, meaning you can easily lose lots of progress if you aren’t careful. It’s something that has been present in the other games and I can see how it was inspired by Resident Evil’s ink ribbons, but it could feel like a burden at times – especially since the game is so buggy and can mess up your progress.
I encountered a ton of issues when playing, with things like the game not responding to my controls, the game blocking progression even though I had the right item, frame rate stutters so bad that the game came to a halt, repeated sequences when interacting with characters, enemies trapping me in a motion where it’s impossible to escape from their attacks… there are just so many problems. There were times when it’d unfairly cause me to die and there were also times where it would force me to re-load my save, but either way, it was frustrating. The Red Colony titles have never been particularly polished, but this was the worst as far as technical issues were concerned. It took a lot of patience to persevere through some of its issues, especially since they could see me lose a fair bit of progress.
“I encountered a ton of issues when playing, with things like the game not responding to my controls, the game blocking progression even though I had the right item, frame rate stutters so bad that the game came to a halt, repeated sequences when interacting with characters, enemies trapping me in a motion where it’s impossible to escape from their traps… there are just so many problems.”
It’s a shame that Red Colony 3 has so many problems because it does do some cool things. Some of the set pieces involving the dinosaurs were great, for example, whilst I’m still a fan of the series’ hand-drawn visual style. In fact, some of the environments here were a lot of fun to explore, whilst the enemy designs were creative too. It’s just that everything else about the game never felt all that good, whilst the bugs just brought the whole thing down. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy playing Red Colony 3 because it does have that weird charm to it, but man, it was frustrating just trying to finish the three-hour escapade.
Red Colony 3 Review
Red Colony 3 is a bad game, with the technical issues and some frustrating gameplay mechanics making it the worst entry in the series. Despite this, I still had some fun with it… you know… in that ‘this is so weird and bad but I can’t stop playing it’ kind of way.
Basically, this game is for those who enjoyed the previous two entries in the series and are willing to look past the obvious issues just to experience another bizarre battle with zombies and dinosaurs. It’s a poorly designed game (and I think the developer is aware of that at this point) but it does enough to entertain returning players – IF you can look past the technical issues that plague the game this time around.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PC