by Vincent Chandler
reviewed on PC
Did someone say, Hotline Miami?
The fact that it would be impossible to discuss Redie (pronounced Re-die) without mentioning Hotline Miami speaks volumes. It borrows heavily from Dennaton’s critically acclaimed top-down shooter, with gameplay that could be described as almost over-enthusiastically similar.
Redie is a top down action game in which you must work your way through levels of increasingly ball-busting difficulty, killing everyone in sight with a collection of guns, knives and (on rare occasion) electricity cannons. It is an excitingly twitchy affair with everyone, player character included, dying to a single bullet. Enemies have incredible reaction times and perfect accuracy for the most part – which makes the game extremely challenging in the later stages. We are talking Dark Souls-esque levels of cathartic excitement upon finishing a level you may have tried over a dozen times or more before.
This is where the game’s central premise and name comes from – every time you die, you are given the option to “redie”. The name of said act is rather misleading, and if we were to use conventional gaming lingo to describe it you would simply call it “respawning”. You do this over and over again, with trial and error being your best tool in figuring out how to beat a level. Each weapon has a finite amount of ammo, pushing you to progress across the level dropping and picking up new guns as you go, unable to store any. The game is stylishly violent, with the environments being littered with physics enabled objects and walls that scatter debris when shot – allowing you to leave an impressively blood filled path of wanton destruction in your wake. All the while you aim to rack up the points and compete on leader boards. If this all sounds very familiar, that’s because it is. It is just like Hotline Miami if you switched end of level ratings for leader-board placement.
Luckily it is more than flattering imitation, as Redie does very well to ape Hotline Miami’s frustrating yet compelling gameplay. It is tight, responsive, fast and rewarding. The gameplay is intuitive for the most part and flows very well, creating a fast paced and exciting experience. Once the game’s systems are introduced and you have come to grips with them, there is a lot of enjoyment to be had in chaining together multi-kills and finishing levels in record times. Enemy accuracy and speed is offset by predictable patterns and behaviours. This makes the whole experience inherently fair, and the punishing gameplay forgivable when the onus is on the player to improve and adapt. When it all clicks into place, there is a lot of satisfaction to be had in overcoming the challenge found in Redie’s campaign. However, the sheer level of difficulty will not be to everyone’s tastes.
Redie does manage to be its own entity to an extent. Whilst the gameplay evidently borrows from Hotline Miami’s brand of ultraviolence and spectacle, Redie establishes its own overall aesthetic with a blocky and bold art style, favouring simplistic flat textures and sharp defined edges with hardly a curve in sight. It works well to bring a clinical tidiness to the game’s environments; offices, police stations and warehouses all provide an almost sterile canvas for you to paint your own unique brand of bloody violence across. The physics engine, lighting, bullet shells and pseudo-destructible environments all combine to enhance the on-screen action and underpin the carnage with a sense of tangibility.
Furthermore, Redie differentiates itself by consciously avoiding any semblance of narrative. As the developer’s website notes, “Our decision was to focus our limited resources to refine other aspects of the game instead. So don’t play Redie expecting a deep story about some random guy getting phone calls telling him to go and kill people. Redie jumps straight into action.” This obvious nod to the plot of Hotline Miami appears a little snarky, as opposed to playful. It should be noted clearly, if you are looking for a nuanced introspection on the nature of violence, you will not find it here.
The omission of story, and the focus being placed upon a scoring system makes Redie play like an arcade game, whilst the emphasis on trial and error had me feeling like I was playing a puzzle game. Each of my attempts would reveal further insight into ways to approach each cluster of enemies, allowing me to eventually ‘solve’ that level. In that sense it is rather unique experience, but feels ever so slightly less dynamic than the action found in the seminal Hotline Miami.
Leader boards and secondary challenges provide an element of replayability, which will no doubt appeal to certain audiences. There is also a cool replay feature that allows you to see your last successful attempt at any of the levels within the game, which in itself could help to foster an online community if the title resonates enough with the competitive or speed running crowd.
Ultimately Redie provides a quality enough experience to warrant its own existence. It is an extremely challenging and fun experience. The lack of varying difficulty levels and overall level of challenge may put off some people, but if you have a masochistic streak or enjoy games that employ an almost old-school level of difficulty then Redie is sure to scratch that itch. At the same price point, I would recommend Hotline Miami over this if you haven’t played it already, however Redie provides a fantastic arcade experience worth the investment.
Solid control, fun pick-up and play arcade gameplay, rewarding challenge
Challenge may be off putting to some, not very original, isn’t Hotline Miami