REDO! is a Metroidvania-style retro platformer designed by solo developer Robson Paiva and published by Top Hat Studios. This post-apocalyptic tale follows the lonely story of a girl in a world devoid of humans. After receiving a cryptic message, she sets off on a final journey to find the last human while thwarting hostile biomachines along the way.
Every year, we receive countless Metroidvania games that attempt to scratch the Silksong itch. Once in a while, we’ll get a few hidden gems that stand out because of their unique visual style or addictive gameplay. Last year, we got a good helping from Greak: Memories of Azur, and this year, REDO! is that hidden gem that shows off addictive gameplay.
End of the World in 16-bit
REDO! really draws you into its bleak world as you begin your journey. After a quick cutscene and a short tutorial teaching you how to survive, you’ll immediately notice how the controls are deceptively simple: You can attack, roll, jump, and use the weapons you can pick up along the way.
Along with the simple control scheme is its no-frills interface. You can bind up to three weapons that you can pick up, helping you out in engaging tougher enemies. Later in the game, you’ll receive tools, which are passive bonuses that allow you better pick-ups and other passive traits. You have your HP bar and an ammo limit for your weapons.
One thing that REDO! does differently compared to other similar games is that it only allows a single action at a time, so you really can’t roll and jump as fluidly as other sidescrollers. You can’t even jump and attack at the same time. Because of this, REDO! requires a learning curve during battle and platforming sequences, which could be a point of friction for players.
While the control scheme follows the conventions of games from the past, some aspects of it could have been modernized. For example, the right analog stick could’ve been utilized for the roll action or a dedicated look option to preview other areas of the map before engaging.
As you progress through the city, one more thing REDO! does differently is that it scraps the map completely, which will pose a challenge as you’ll find yourself backtracking a lot. The game forces players to retain information about their location and use it thoughtfully to plan their next course of action. You’ll also eventually unlock hidden ladders, open gates, and defeat bosses, connecting the world even more.
An Enjoyable Metroidvania
The one aspect of REDO! I enjoyed the most was its combat, despite its challenging nature. Unlike many games that push the “Soulslike” gimmick, REDO! introduces difficulty gradually, and allows players to build up confidence first before hitting a wall.
Enemy variety and how they switch up mechanics is what really makes REDO! shine. In a basic sense, enemies have an HP and energy meter. Enemy actions use up energy, and when depleted, will be stunned to allow the player to get in some extra hits. As you progress through the game, when the energy meter is depleted, some enemies malfunction, which makes them attack erratically.
Throughout the game, these enemies are paired in such a way that engaging them requires a different strategy. Ultimately, you’ll encounter boss enemies that utilize basic enemy types as their creeps, encouraging players to utilize their arsenal while getting creative with approach.
It’s pretty neat that the enemy designs are varied enough in REDO!, that the marketing description of its influences being Tsutomu Nihei (BLAME!) and Lovecraft are realized. They’re grotesque and fearsome, especially the bosses. It really embodies a sense of dread with your exploration, but it doesn’t feel daunting that it’ll make you quit right away.
The biggest mechanic that gives it its “Soulslike” comparison is how enemies would respawn when you save. Aberrant enemies also spawn in place of the regular enemies with a higher HP and energy bar, which keeps you on your toes. Pairing this mechanic without a map to look back on makes exploration more tense than usual as you’ll always have to be mindful of whether you can keep pushing forward.
A Lonely Tomorrow
The post-apocalyptic world of REDO! comes to life in its many hidden clues and environmental flavor text that tell a story of a world devoid of human civilization. Unlike other games that show a sort of regeneration of the planet, REDO! is largely bleak, where the actions of humans irrevocably transformed the world into something unnatural with its bizarre creature design.
One thing that I didn’t exactly appreciate is its tedious exploration. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of backtracking, which makes getting lost easy. There are annoying areas where you can instantly die because of “invisible obstacles”. There are no environmental prompts, which force you to use a lot of your memory to remember specific aspects of areas, creating unnecessary trial and error.
The good news is that the campaign is quite brief. It takes around 4-5 hours to complete your first run where you can opt to aim for a New Game+. It’s actually a harder mode where you don’t take any of your previous tools and weapons to complete. For some who enjoyed the combat, you’ll get a lot more of it to the point of insanity.
If you’ve been paying attention to all the visual clues, REDO!’s story will play out the way you’ll think it would. While I’m not exactly keen on the final outcome, REDO! really pushes for engaging immersive storytelling throughout your play through. The journey is a reward in itself, and hopefully, we’ll see more games completed by Robson Paiva in the future.
What We Liked:
- Combat is enjoyable.
- Enemy variety is diverse and really is the heart of its enjoyable gameplay.
- The bleak world is captured perfectly with its visual design, which offers immersive storytelling.
What We Didn’t Like:
- The lack of an in-game map.
- Frustrating exploration elements that involve unnecessary trial and error.
Verdict: Buy It!
Despite its flaws, REDO! is an enjoyable retro platformer that excels in telling an engaging post-apocalyptic story and delivering a challenging Metroidvania. Enemy variety is definitely a plus and the many ways it mixes up the strategy keep you on your toes. While exploring can be a bit of a challenge, you’re rewarded with fantastic immersive storytelling that’ll keep you engaged until its eventual end.
I recommend this game as a quick fix for Metroidvania fans waiting for Silksong with bated breath. It’s a nice change of pace and also provides that bleak atmosphere akin to Hollow Knight. Coupled with challenging gameplay and an even harder New Game+, it’s a game to lose yourself in during this season.
*REDO! was reviewed on the PS5 with a review code provided by the publisher.