In Red Ronin, revenge is a dish best served blood red with exact precision and extreme prejudice.
Seeking vengeance for your past is not the best way to live, but definitely makes for a good story. In a dystopian future full of machines and murderous madmen in control, the weak are often left to suffer. Once memories become synonymous with shards of data, then the mind becomes a target open to attack from any connection it makes. A lone warrior with no past now fights down a bloody road of revenge for the betrayal that took her memories.
Red Ronin by Qubyte studios is a turn based dash ‘n slash puzzle game full of bloody pixel art action. Red is the name of the cybernetic samurai in search of information about her own history. In this world the corporations with the most money control the media and use the press to buy their own justice. When our mysterious protagonist falls prey to a deal gone bad, the only things she can count on are her sword and her trusted AI companion Isaac.
Red’s rampage begins as she cuts her way through floors of corporate henchmen and security robots to enact her revenge on her former partners. Stages play out on a grid where enemies react in unison after Red makes a move. Red’s abilities allow her to dash effortlessly to an obstacle in four main directions eliminating opponents in her path. Enemies and robot sentries will stop her if she’s caught in the wrong place for too long, making each level a carefully calculated battle to outperform your foes.
The various enemies project kill zones that you won’t want to be caught in at the wrong time. Isaac offers his assistance in the form of tactic mode, which allows Red to analyze her opponent’s movements and change the direction of the dashes by placing directional arrow tiles in her path. Her other ability allows her to slow the passage of time and move twice while skipping the enemy turn. Items within each stage allow Red to use either of her abilities, and paying close attention to their placement hints at each floor’s potential solution. These abilities will work hand in hand together to eliminate her foes as Red faces death in search of answers.
In this tale of revenge there’s a lot of fighting and blood for what is essentially a turn based puzzle game. Calculated moves are required to clear floors of enemies. Foes range from suit-wearing swordsmen, to thugs with robotic arms, and other automated killing machines. Good decisions require you to think ahead of your opponents as Red eventually faces each of her betrayers in clever boss fights that put your skills to the test against the unique abilities of her former allies. With each battle she decrypts new data memories revealing her story through experiences stored on disks.
High scores are earned by combining kills and escaping the battle floor in one piece. While getting combos is a good time and fun to watch, there isn’t much of a reward system other than finding out what happens next. The characters and their abilities make the experience memorable, but there’s not much more to unlock or earn as far as other content or bonuses. Like any puzzle game, getting stuck can be frustrating if there’s only one road ahead so experimentation and critical thinking are a must to push forward.
The dash and slash idea is a lot of fun to execute but never feels like the highlight. Having multiple modes like survival, time trials, or even multiplayer duels would really show off the innovative system and add significant replay value. Red Ronin’s soundtrack is a highlight, however, as moods shift from action packed to delicate stealth tactics. Lo-fi synth tracks stay catchy and interesting, adding to the emotional atmosphere of each stage.
Red Ronin sets an exceptional tone for a refreshing take on a puzzle game packed with sword fights and betrayal. Its straightforward introduction and gameplay allows curious players to quickly dive into Red’s personal vendetta. While the techniques used by the ronin can be difficult to master, the mechanics present a uniquely modern experience with intuitive controls and a cyberpunk pixel art aesthetic. With a story straight out of a futuristic Tarantino movie, Red Ronin delivers an experience fit for any puzzle fanatics who want gritty pixel art performance to sharpen their problem solving skills.
-Addictive turn based tactical puzzles
– Gritty futuristic pixel art, characters, and world
-Lacking character progression, trophies or unlockables
-Little replay value
3 out of 5
Review code provided by QUByte Interactive. Red Ronin is out now!