Some places are named after a historic figure, others after a famous landmark and some are named after the colour of the ground after you’ve dispatched the monsters that live there. Crimsonland definitely falls into the later category.
Crimsonland is a top down, twin stick shooter that’s just a little bit different. Your task is a simple one, kill all of the aggressive enemies that come at you in what sometimes feels like endless waves. Painting the land crimson as you do so. To help you on your way is a whole host of guns and power-ups which make for a highly charged experience.
Like with a lot of twin stick shooters the gameplay can start to get a little repetitive but a few little features of the game make this a game where the grind can really be worth it. When you first load up the game you are given a choice of two different modes to play, quests and survival. What you don’t know at this point is that one will certainly affect how well you do in the other.
There is no story in Crimsonland. There are only monsters, lots and lots of monsters. In the Quests section of the game there are three difficulty levels each one unlocking when the previous one has been completed. There are seven chapters in the game and each chapter has ten stages to it. When you have completed all of the stages in a chapter the next one will unlock. After completing each stage a new weapon or perk will unlock. The new weapons that you unlock will become available to be picked up in any of the levels that follow. The perks are used in survival mode. It is this that makes the grind really worth it as high scores in survival mode can be directly linked to what perks you have managed to unlock in the quests mode.
In quests mode enemies will sometimes drop new weapons or power-ups that can certainly get you out of a tight spot. A nuke that blasts all nearby enemies can bring some very welcome relief when you are being over run by all manner of creatures. Perks can include high power, high fire rate flaming bullets, speed boost, bomb blasts, the before mentioned nukes among many others. There is also a large variety of weapons that can be unlocked. Some are highly affective in most circumstances while others can get you into a lot of trouble due to their poor fire rate or short range. the blow torch seemed highly useless in most circumstances whereas the fusion rifle was a big help by chaining kills together. Experience starts to tell you which weapons to pick up and which to ignore before long.
There is an almost constant feeling of emerging panic which in turn leads on to full-blown panic before long as wave after wave of monsters spawn, sometimes practically on top of you. Things can suddenly get very out of hand as you find yourself been confronted with a sea of monsters. It is in these circumstances that the right power-up can be the difference between life and death.
The monsters in the game may not be original but they are varied and each have their own movement patterns and styles of chasing you down. There are lizards, spiders, creatures that stomp right through you and of course zombies. Some levels contain nests that keep spawning enemies until you destroy them while on other levels the enemies simply spawn in lines which simply charge at you and then start to follow you round. At first it feels as if these attacks are easy to keep away from but soon the sheer numbers of enemies means that you will quickly find yourself backed into a corner through no ones fault but your own
Survival mode is made up of five different game types all based on the same variant, just with certain limitations such as only been able to use the assault rifle or having limited ammo for each weapon. These different game types are unlocked by completing certain chapters in the game. The perks that you unlock by playing the quest side of the game can be applied in survival mode. A new perk can be applied after completing each wave. At the end of the wave a small selection of different perks are displayed and you can apply just one. These perks vary in type and deciding which one to apply can be a tough decision. These perks can include an XP boost, more power-up drops or maybe even death with an included score boost.
Crimsonland is not a pretty game but it doesn’t need to be. The sound effects are equally limited but it is not in either of these things that the charm of this game can be found. The simplicity of its controls make it easy to pick up and play. Also the addition of perks and the way that they are applied makes you want to go back for more as maybe next time you will be able to select what you need to get that allusive high score. It is this that makes Crimsonland an addictive, if a little repetitive, shooter.
There are leaderboards which let you compete against your friends and the world for the highest score. For all you achievement hunters there are a total of 21 achievements with a total score available of 1000g. Crimsonland can also be played locally with friends so up to four of you can be on the same screen blasting your way through levels together.
Crimsonland will be available to download from October 14 from the Xbox store and will cost around £10.59. This may seem a little expensive but if twin stick shooters are your thing then this will definitely be a good addition to your collection.