I didn’t really know anything about REDO, the post-apocalyptic Metroidvania-style adventure from developer Robson Paiva, before I played it. There are so many similar looking titles on the Nintendo Switch that it just kinda bypassed me, which is a shame because it’s clear a lot of love went into developing the game. With SO many Metroidvania-style releases on the console though, it’s impossible to play them all.
I’m glad this one didn’t slip under my radar. Whilst I’d be lying if I said REDO was perfect (it has its share of issues as well as a sometimes unfair difficulty), there’s plenty to appreciate between its atmospheric world design and neat combat mechanics to make it worth playing.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The game takes place in a world where humanity is seemingly on the brink of extinction, with bio-machines overrunning the land and leaving it in a bleak and dystopian way. Taking on the role of a young woman who has been left alone with no one around her, you get a glimmer of hope that there is another survivor out there after receiving a message asking you to meet them at the top of the Solar Cathedral. Thus, you venture out into the dangerous world, with the only thing keeping you going being the possibility that you aren’t the last human alive…
What follows is an adventure that doesn’t delve too much into narrative detail, but does fill the player in with little snippets of information found in the notes and documents scattered across the world. You shouldn’t expect to find all of the answers as to how the world found itself this way, but REDO still offers enough to keep you invested in your plight. Admittedly, the outcome did leave me feeling a little dissatisfied, but I still enjoyed the roughly five-hour journey that I embarked on to get there.
When it comes to the gameplay, REDO plays like your typical Metroidvania-style adventure. There’s an expansive 2D world to explore that’s full of different routes to take, some of which will be inaccessible until you find the right tool to reach it, whilst there’s also elements of platforming involved as you jump your way through areas and avoid perilous hazards. The game doesn’t really try to re-invent the wheel too much when it comes to exploration, but the level design is sound and ensures players won’t get bored of exploring what remains of the world.
“What makes combat so fun is the fact that it demands strategy and precision; the bio-machines are quick and brutal, so there’s a heavy emphasis placed on the position and timing of your attacks (as well as leaping out of the way when an enemy comes surging towards you).”
It does make one BIG mistake for the genre though: it doesn’t include a map. With its emphasis on backtracking and re-visiting previously inaccessible areas, it was a massive pain that I didn’t have a map to use as a point of reference when exploring – especially since REDO can be a tough game to play with deaths aplenty (more on that in a bit). Whilst I’ll admit that the sense of aimlessness it brings does fit the desolate tone of the experience, it felt more frustrating than anything when trying to find your way around. It doesn’t have the biggest world I’ve seen in a Metroidvania-style game, but I found myself frustratingly lost more times than I’d like to admit.
Fortunately, whilst exploration could feel tedious at times thanks to the lack of a map, I had a lot of fun with REDO’s combat. There are plenty of those bio-machines to take down in the world, with the player initially armed with a makeshift-melee weapon but eventually unlocking an array of guns as they progress. What makes combat so fun is the fact that it demands strategy and precision; the bio-machines are quick and brutal, so there’s a heavy emphasis placed on the position and timing of your attacks (as well as leaping out of the way when an enemy comes surging towards you). It’s satisfying, and with a lot of different enemy types to face off against in the game, you’ll have to be methodical in your approach if you want to survive the dangers ahead.
What makes REDO’s combat feel particularly unique is the way that enemies have two numerical values representing their health: one for their overall HP and one for their shield. For every attack you hit them with, you’ll deplete both their health and their shield. When their shield is emptied, they’ll be momentarily stunned and also drop health spheres to rejuvenate your own vitality, making it the perfect opportunity to strike. What can work to your advantage is the fact that an enemy’s shield will decrease whenever they try to attack you, meaning it’s possible to stun them without even hitting them. It’s vital that you use this your advantage in the game, especially in some of the busier areas where there are a lot of enemies to deal with, and it actually proves quite rewarding to lure enemies into attacking you only for them to weaken themselves. Defence can often be the best form of offense in REDO and it helps strengthen the satisfyingly strategic elements of combat.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Be warned though: you can expect to die a LOT. REDO is not an easy game, and with the sheer volume of enemies it sends your way, you can expect to find yourself dying on a regular basis. There’s a learning curve in place when it comes to how to approach enemies or when evading environmental hazards, with it easy to die multiple times before you even learn how to best approach a particular type of foe. Add ranged attacks to that and you’ll quickly find yourself meeting an early grave on a regular basis.
I wouldn’t say the difficulty is off-putting, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating at times – especially when your being overwhelmed by the same bunch of enemies over and over again. It doesn’t help that checkpoints are quite limited in the game, with players often having to re-tread the same lengthy areas when simply trying to progress. It’s not the hardest Metroidvania-style game that I’ve played, but REDO certainly doesn’t hold your hand.
Still, despite its flaws, I had a good time playing, with the world design and visuals in particular standing out as a high point. The grim sights you see as you explore the world emit a foreboding (and at times horrifying) sense of atmosphere that’s hard to ignore, whilst the enemies themselves look like something that has come from the minds of both Giger and Lovecraft. It’s all very unsettling but in an alluring way that’s easy to admire thanks to the game’s fantastic pixel art.
REDO does have some flaws, but the satisfying combat mechanics and atmospheric world design ensure it deserves the attention of Metroidvania fans. And hey, if it brought in a map that made it easier to navigate, it’d be even easier to recommend.
Fortunately, it offers enough to make the adventure worthwhile as it stands, and whilst it’s certainly not always the easiest game to play (nor does it do anything TOO original), I still had fun seeing the journey through to its conclusion.
Developer: Robson Paiva
Publisher: Top Hat Studios
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC