Game Reviews

The Crimsons

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| The Crimsons
The Crimsons
| The Crimsons

The Crimsons is monstrous.

That's both a summary of the game's plot – the story of a series of ghoulish paintings that come to life – and a critique of its hackneyed gameplay.

Played out in an atmospheric 3D environment, The Crimsons initially feels like a bold new take on survival-horror, introducing elements of investigation to the traditional focus on combat.

Unfortunately, there are as many flaws to combat as there are frightening enemies.

Picture hardly perfect

After being invited to an art gallery to see an old friend's latest collection, your suspicions are aroused when the friend fails to show. Cue an influx of flesh-eating monsters, which burst into life from his paintings and gnaw every human they come across.

Your job is to take them out. The only tool in your arsenal is the strange ability to fire flames from your fingers, which you mysteriously acquired after a serious car accident.

Combined with the game's crisp visuals – which, even on older handsets, run at a fairly impressive rate – it's not hard to get caught up in The Crimsons, yet as soon as you're actually asked to take on the game's freakish monsters it falls apart with disturbing rapidity.

Fiddly fire

That's because combat in The Crimsons simply doesn't work.

The controls themselves are straightforward, with a virtual analogue stick handling movement and a 'fire' button controlling your special ability. Unfortunately, firing is needlessly fiddly, involving two presses before the flames actually flare out.

Tapping once brings up its range – a particularly pointless exercise, given that it fires out straight in front of you each and every time. The second tap actually instigates the attack, by which time your foe is usually upon you.

When you also consider that your weapon also needs precious seconds to recharge between each shot, it's not long before combat becomes aggravating. It's not aided by the fact that the actual act of firing also has a habit of failing, some button presses just refusing to register.

In quick retreat

Not that there's much excitement to be had. Although the plot suggests your armless-but-not-harmless enemies have a taste for human flesh, all they do is waddle towards you before engaging in a bout of headbutting.

As a result, your only tactic for survival is to fire and retreat over and over again, taking on the endless waves of battles that greet you as you wander through the game's linear stages.

Given that it's impossible to move either whilst being attacked or attacking, battles become frustrating. More importantly, they become unfair.

As such, The Crimsons is a simple case of plot over play. While it's not hard to get wrapped up in the story, the game wrapped around it is so poorly constructed that it can't be recommended.

The Crimsons

The Crimsons possesses an engaging storyline, but fiddly controls and banal gameplay ensure this is a monstrous encounter in every sense of the word
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.