A Casual-Game Review

South Africa By: Mandy J Watson on 29 July 2011
Category: Games > Casual > Reviews Comments View Comments


Red alien circles (and the occasional meteor) are trying to destroy your space base. What are you going to do about it? Shoot at 'em, of course! You can't destroy them but you can use physics to your advantage in this oddly Zen action game.

RedThe rather surprising aspect of Red is the almost Zen quality of the gameplay, in which you need to shoot alien asteroids disguised as circles (who knows? don't ask), and the occasional meteor, that are (usually) lazily drifting towards your base, which may, or may not, be on Mars. The objective of the game is not to die (or, more accurately, to survive as long as possible). If these enemies touch your base the game is over so you don't have much room for error. The bullets don't penetrate the enemies, however; instead they ricochet with the result that the energy of the impact causes a subtle course correction of an enemy's movement. Meanwhile, the ricocheting bullets bounce around the gameplay area (and eventually out of it), which can have unintended consequences should they come into contact with other enemies (or pickups) that are nearby.

Your ammo is displayed as a series of white lines on your base and it's depleted with mouse clicks (a stream of small bullets) or the spacebar (a larger, more powerful shot that you may never use). The ammo slowly replenishes but much of the skill in the gameplay lies in managing how much ammo you use at any given moment, and how you use it.

Occasionally pickups (which you shoot to acquire) will materialise, providing tools that may help, or hinder, depending on your gameplay style. The most useful manifests a shield that surrounds your base and protects it from one touch, which then destroys the shield but leaves the base intact but back to being very vulnerable. Other pickups include additional auto-firing turrets that will be placed in the gameplay area to assist with defense, which can be helpful but which you may find get in the way of the physics of your shots. There is also a pickup that turns your small bullets into the more powerful shots for a limited time.

As the game progresses the difficulty increases in both the size and volume of enemies and the wind speed, which picks up and then starts to change direction, affecting the accuracy and efficacy of your shots. Your high score is measured as the number of seconds that you manage to remain alive, although the number isn't displayed while you play so you'll have to keep an eye on a clock if you want to have an idea of how well you're doing.

The game has no sound effects, just the "romantic swingtronica" track "Absolute Space (Jazzanova Remix)" by Swedish duo Koop playing in the background, and the controls are simple, as is the interface. "P" pauses the game, which gives you access to an icon to switch off the audio if you'd prefer not the hear the song while playing but there is a slight bug attached so even if you have switched it off it will begin to play again if you die and start another game, necessitating another pause and click to switch it off.


Red is a simple idea with some complex physics gameplay behind it, which balances it well as being both easy to get into and a challenge that can never quite be mastered.

Play Online Play Online: Red
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Rating: 7/10
Time-Wasting Value: 30 seconds to a few minutes per game
Learning Curve: Easy
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Replayability: 8/10

Key Facts: Red
Price: Free
Year: 2007 (March)
Genre: Action, Physics
Keywords: action, casual, physics, shooter
Size: 886 KB embedded Flash file
Resolution: 550x450
Requirements: Internet connection, Adobe Flash Player, web browser, mouse, keyboard
Created By: Case Hollingsworth
Music: Koop

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