Crimsonland is a top-down twin stick shooter where you fight very large number of enemies with various weapons either in a quest mode where the enemies are predetermined to create different challenges or in a survival mode where you get experience points for killing stuff and unlock perks as you level-up. I had a blast Crimsonland although I find it quite difficult, sometimes only because of random number generation.

As you complete quests, you unlock weapons and perks to be used for the rest of the game, weapons range from shotguns, flamethrowers, homing rocket launchers and ion guns with chain lightning shots. The perks are also pretty interesting with explosions each time to reload, more ammo capacity, being able to see enemy health - something I wish was always present - to more weird things like losing 99% of your life but getting more perks, or dying in 30 seconds but getting a lot of points during that time.

All weapons aren't created equal though, some of them have ridiculous downsides. The submachine gun deals pitiful damage, the blowtorch has ridiculously small range, some shotguns take forever to reload and some other guns have very low ammo count. You could say that their other statistics make up for this, but sometimes some guns are just better than others. It's very annoying to restart a level over and over because you're not getting a good random gun drop from the first enemies you kill. It's crazy how getting X or Y gun makes all the difference, and it's out of your hands.

You also get random drops from enemies that can also greatly influence if you're going to beat a level or not, because the odds are so stacked against you, getting the freeze powerup or the nuke at the appropriate time really is key for some quests. Most of these random boosts are really useful, some of them aren't as fun, like the one that slows down everything, it's not fun to move in slow-motion, especially because you start shooting really slowly, so it's more about dodging enemies than killing them faster.

And the enemies are quite tough, zombie waves that spawn for what seems forever, big bugs that shoot at you, lizard temples, alien pods, spider caverns, there are a ton of monsters on-screen and trying to outmanoeuver them is most of the time impossible if the screen is filled too much. The enemy I had the most trouble with are spiders that split into two when you kill them, it's quite tough to focus on only one in order to beat these levels. If you manage to beat a level without getting hit, you get a star on that level, do they do anything? It's unclear.

I had a ton of fun with Crimsonland, of course I wished the perks and the level-up system would come into play in some form in the quests - to make them easier - but having them in a separate mode is fine too. There are three difficulty levels and I'm not sure I'm going to see them all through, but I'll still have had a good time regardless.

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories4/5, Shooter