One thing that Reed 2 refuses to do is pull its punches, so we're going to review it in exactly the same way. Cards on the table - this is one of the toughest platformers we've played in years. It's not just cruel, it's horrifically cruel.
Here's an example - after a particularly fiendish set of jumps to clear some spikes, spinning saws, and deadly arrows, you drop down a hole to get to the level's exit. At the bottom of that hole there are some spikes - spikes that are all but guaranteed to kill you the first time round.
But here's the twist - the spikes you're landing on are the first obstacle you jumped over at the start of the run. You know they're waiting at the bottom, because you can see the last cube you need to collect hovering above them. In the sheer joy of finishing most of the level though, you're going to forget. Then you're going to die. Then you're going to scream.
Stupid ReedThe game is a simply designed platformer. You've got two buttons that let you sprint left and right, and one that lets you jump. When you complete a level, the run isn't going to take much more than a few seconds. You need to grab all of the cubes to unlock a door, then make it back to the door unscathed.
While a successful run takes less than a minute, that's not taking into the account the amount of time you're going to be mashing your face into a wall while trying to get to the end. Even the easiest levels are going to take a few tries, and the more difficult ones sometimes need you to put your phone down and walk away.
Anyone who's ever even wondered whether they might be a casual gamer is going to find the whole thing too overwhelming. There are times when you wonder whether you're just awful at all games, so bad will your performance in Reed 2 be.
And some people are going to absolutely love that. This is a brutally difficult experience - there are levels that are easier, but they usually bookend a fat chunk of hatred, misery, and figuring out how on earth you're going to get from one platform to the next without dying horribly.
Even the platforms hate you in Reed 2. They'll crumble away under your feet, or move when you really don't want them to. There's a logic to the changes though, and while it's a logic built around the fact the game hates you, it's consistent. Once an object has done something once, it's going to do it every time you come across it.
Which brings us back the the example at the start of the review. It's the game in a nutshell - a tragedy that you were entirely prepared for, but forgot about in the white heat of your potential victory. It's your fault, the game told you the spikes were there, get over it.
Reed the instructionsSo yes, Reed 2 is a right expletive - it's like an annoying friend who's always playing tricks on you, but you can't help but love it. Well, so long as you understand from the get-go that this particular friend has an aversion to making things easy for you.
Come to the game expecting something light and you'll be crying in a corner within the first couple of minutes. Meet Reed 2 on its own terms and you'll find a super super SUPER hardcore platformer that doesn't let up for a second.