Crimsonland review for PS4

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC
Publisher: 10tons
Developer: 10tons
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes

For the life of me, I can’t figure why Crimsonland needed to be revived. I get that the PS4 is selling well, and that people are into retro and indie games at the moment, and all those other sales-associated reasons that may exist. What’s more, I get the pull of nostalgia when it comes to gaming — I have fond memories of all sorts of NES and SNES games, even though I’m fairly certain most of my favourites were probably objectively horrible. So I’m not saying that Crimsonland shouldn’t exist, or that I can’t understand why anyone would like it.


Except, well…I kind of am. I mean, the original Crimsonland only came out a little over a decade ago, and there’s no way people didn’t have higher standards than this back in 2003. It looks awful, the gameplay is stale and repetitive, and the whole thing seems like it would’ven barely passed muster as an Atari 2600 game. It’s not a particularly good game, and that would be the case whether it was 2014, 2004, 1994 or 1984.

I will say this, though: it might have the most literal title of any game I’ve ever played. After all, it consists entirely of shooting bugs, zombies, aliens, etc., and leaving the ground (or land!) stained red (or crimson!) with their blood — hence, Crimsonland.

With that kind of originality, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that there’s nothing very interesting going on here. As I said, the whole game consists of you moving slowly around a big, empty field, shooting all the enemies that pop into view. You do this with a top-down view of said empty field. There’s not really any story, there’s barely any variety, and you just do the same thing over and over again.


Now, I have nothing against running around shooting bugs/other enemies over and over again in a game with atrocious plotting. Heck, that’s basically a description of one of my favorite franchises. But at least the EDF series knows how to ramp everything up to absolutely absurd levels. Crimsonland, by contrast, just strips all the fun out of it. You don’t move around very quickly, your weapons all feel strangely underpowered, and the upgrades dropped by enemies only provide brief respites from both of these flaws. What’s more, you don’t even get the visceral thrill of seeing your enemies get blown to pieces, EDF-style. Thanks to the game’s severely primitive graphics, you just get little red splotches, which add with the other red splotches to make a giant red splotch.

Ordinarily, as someone who loves seeing destruction in my wake, that should be hugely satisfying, but in Crimsonland’s case it all just feels oddly underwhelming. Like, I should be happy about the carnage, but because it’s so hard to make out, it’s hard to feel any real sense of satisfaction, and because you’re just doing the exact same thing over and over again, it’s hard to not get bored by it all really quickly. I suppose if you still have fond memories of the original, then that may make the whole exercise tolerable, but honestly, why you’d have those fond memories in the first place just baffles me.

Grade: D