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Red Game Without a Great Name review for PS Vita, PC

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC
Publisher: iFun4All
Developer: iFun4All
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E

That is, I realize, damning the game with the faintest praise possible. But when you share a common lineage with what may be the worst PS4 game ever made — the execrable Basement Crawl (created by Bloober Team, whose subsidiary developer iFun4All made Red Game) — it’s the kind of thing that needs to be said. The fact that Red Game Without A Great Name actually runs without erasing your memory card or frying your Vita kind of counts as a minor miracle.

Of course, it would be an even bigger miracle if Red Game Without A Great Name was actually decent in its own right. That, I’m afraid, may be a little too much to ask.

Red Game Without a Great Name 2

It's not that Red Game Without A Great Name is bad, necessarily. It's got some definite good points. The art style is pretty nice, for one thing. Red Game offers a nice variation on the usual two-toned black-white palette that so many indie games seem to offer, subbing in a nice red in place of the white. It gives the game a pleasantly sinister vibe (not totally unlike what Basement Crawl promised, actually — but that, thankfully, is where the similarities with that abomination end).

More intriguingly, the basic idea behind the game isn't a bad one: you guide a mechanical bird through short-but-perilous environments by dragging it from safe spot to safe spot, picking up three gears and occasional power-ups along the way. It's a concept that seems tailor-made for the Vita’s touchscreen.

The problem lies in the rather sizeable gap between idea and execution — a deep and apparently insurmountable valley, as far as Red Game Without A Great Name is concerned. While it may make all the sense in the world to guide a bird through a maze using your finger, evidently no one considered the fact that fingers aren't translucent, which means that your hand regularly blocks the path ahead of you. Nor did anyone give a proper amount of thought to the game’s speed; you're regularly expected to make quick, precise movements to avoid dangers, only the camera doesn't scroll quickly enough to allow you to do that. It all adds up to frequent, frustrating deaths — which are made all the more annoying by the lack of any checkpoint system.

Red Game Without a Great Name 1

Again, I don't want to overstate Red Game Without A Great Name's issues, since its developers have already shown just how much worse things could be. By those abysmal standards, Red Game is Portal 2 of the touchscreen puzzle-maze-whatever you want to call it genre. From a more objective viewpoint, however, there's no escaping the fact this is just a mediocre game that doesn't quite live up to its ideas.

Grade: B-