How Metroidvania is it? Medium Fit. REDO! has only minor ability gating, as well as no map to guide you. The “feel” of the game is more “Survival horror”, but otherwise it’s got a very Metroidvania world to explore.
Primary Challenge: Melee Combat, Exploration Focus
Time to beat: ~5 hours
Review Info: The Steam review code for REDO! was provided by the developer.
Buy REDO! if you like…
- Lovecraftian Horrors
- Slow Cerebral Combat
- Survival Horror Games
- Rewarding Exploration
▼ Review continues below ▼
If you have played a lot of Survival Horror games, you may have started to become pretty jaded to the on-screen gore and occasional jump scare – to the point where effective “horror” is hard to come by. There is one design approach that still affects me though, and that’s the terror of moving forward into the unknown with a lot of game progress to lose. At first, the seemingly punishing number of check points in REDO! is frustrating, but as you chip away its coarse exterior and achieve mastery of its systems and its world, you begin to appreciate those feelings of dread as the tension is released by your courage. Beneath the surface REDO! is a deeply satisfying and ponderous horror experience.
Moving through the game world is an action puzzle. While there are some enemies that will lunge at you viciously, every enemy follows a specific pattern that can be adapted to. Every enemy has a “Stamina” health meter that when drained causes them to enter a second state (which usually means that they are stunned.) If you kill an enemy in this state they give you a measure of health, which is the only way to recover HP outside of the game’s checkpoints. You’re given a measly melee attack to start with, putting you dangerously close to your foes, but by default it causes a lot of stamina damage, letting you strategize your attacks to exploit a stun. Eventually you’ll find weapons that utilize a limited ammo supply, but you’ll quickly discover the game is generous with ammo drops, encouraging you to experiment, or to use your weapons often. Each weapon addresses one of your weaknesses, and every enemy has its own weapon that will be your favorite when you face them. Thus the methodical and high tension combat is about deploying your toys at the right time rather than mere dexterous reaction.
Until you identify your enemy’s weaknesses, you’ll probably die a lot. Not knowing where to go, and having no in-game map to help you identify where the possibilities may be, it may seem impossible at first to find that later checkpoint. Any time I got a new item, I had to weigh the pros and cons of moving forward or backtracking to a checkpoint I already knew the location of. Enemies stay dead until you use a checkpoint again, so saving and refilling your health and ammo effectively resets your progress. Whenever I chose to forge forward I was often punished by a situation that caused me to panic. REDO! is a game about thoughtfully memorizing landmarks and layouts, not rushing in and brutalizing your foes in a power fantasy.
Once you have worked your way through the puzzle however, you become a conqueror of its world. Hallways that you feared to enter are now as familiar as your own backyard, and enemies bow to your arsenal of weaponry, but more importantly, your knowledge. The last half of this relatively short game is about exploring and discovering the final abominations you haven’t witnessed yet. While there are still surprises, the feeling of “I can do this” after the initial stress of the campaign is a sweet taste; a buildup and release that is as unparalleled as it is rare in the gaming industry. Thankfully, REDO! lets you have that feeling twice, since after you finish the story once, you’re given a remix “New Game+” mode with an even harder game route and bosses that respawn.
It helps that REDO! gives you an enigmatic environment that you want to explore. The premise of the game is a mystery box; what will you find at the top of the cathedral by the end? In dead ends and within the halls you’ll find notes that allude to what caused the apocalypse you’re trying to survive. In true lovecraftian fashion, much of the truth is obscured, leaving it up to the player to fill in the gaps with their imagination. With a little work, the game’s ending could have been up there with some of the best in gaming in general, but as-is it still provides a lot of philosophical questions to think about. The most important thing the story contributes to the game though is the atmosphere the mystery provides. Even playing the game twice (on New Game +) I was still driven by what could be discovered if I kept pushing forward. If you care to know, this can push you past the early frustrations – and for that the story is basically perfect.
For a first-time project by a singular developer, REDO! is beyond an impressive feat. Its unique gameplay and progression is a stand out even among the other indie smash hits of this generation. If you enjoy survival horror and Metroidvania-style exploration, I highly encourage you to give this one a shot. Just keep in mind that its best rewards come later in the experience.
Meticulous usage of weapons as tools to overcome your weaknesses makes for a very smart battle system
You're heavy, so you can't fly from platform to platform like other more focused jumping games - but figuring out how to get around is half the battle in this game
Exploration is not only rewarding, it's required for your overall survival. Conquering the Environment is legitimately satisfying
Primarily ''Push the Button'' puzzles, with the occasional application of logic and tools
With a little more work, the story could be a significant highlight of gaming in general, instead it's just great for driving this game
The pixel art is absolutely fantastic
Mood setting music that's usually good at what it's trying to do, but occasionally better tracks could have improved a scene
New Game+ mode let's you do it all again as if it was your first time, which is a great reminder of how good this game is
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