Crimsonland was originally released in 2003 for Windows PC, and since then has gathered a huge fan community. In 2012, the game was submitted to Steam Greenlight, resulting in it becoming a huge hit in the Steam community. In 2014, 10tons decided to remaster it in order to release the game on the next-gen consoles, with PS4 the first to get it. Now it has reached Xbox One gamers…and being a fan of this insane game, I couldn’t be happier.
But enough game history, you can google all of that, let’s get straight to the point. Crimsonland can be labeled as a twin-stick shooter, one in which you have to fight for your survival against various hordes of weird critters such as zombies, aliens, spiders, lizards, scarabs and something similar to lobsters. The fights can be either against one of the types alone or a mix of them, ensuring that some crazy battles are ahead.
To assist you fighting the critters you can count on no less than 30 weapons, some of which are upgraded versions with different shot types. A total of 55 perks means you will also have a variety of power-ups that spawn on the map as you go about your killing spree. The perks are automatically activated in the Survival modes, but can also be used on Quest mode as long as you activate them through the options menu first.
Which brings me on to the modes; Quest and Survival. The Quest mode is divided into seven chapters, each with ten levels to beat. For each level you complete you will be awarded either a new weapon or a new perk, whilst at the same time you’ll begin to unlock new modes for the Survival mode.
The objective in Quest is pretty simple; wipe out all of the critters in order to finish the level. If you finish the levels without taking damage you will be granted with a star. It may seem pretty easy, but I assure you it is not – some of the critters are a right pain to kill, and there are others that even have the ability to fire back at you. As if this wasn’t already enough, there are levels that feature critter nests, which will see enemies spawning at you constantly until you manage to destroy them.
Quest mode also features three difficulty modes; Normal, Hardcore and Grim. The Normal difficulty is unlocked, as you would expect, by default, with Hardcore only coming about after you’ve completed the initial difficulty level. Grim, should you wish to be treated to some truly manic times, is only for those who feel Hardcore just isn’t enough!
Survival mode meanwhile is divided into six sections, Survival (I’ll call it Survival sub-mode to avoid confusion), Rush, Weapon Picker, Nukefism, Blitz and Waves with the main objective for every one of them being to survive the longest amount of time in order to achieve a the biggest high score you can. Except for the Survival sub-mode, all the others are unlocked by completing the Quest mode levels.
The Survival sub-mode is pretty similar to the survival style presented in other games – kill everything that moves in order to get the biggest score you can before you end up dead. You’ll have weapons and power-ups spawning when killing enemies and these obviously help a great deal. The longer you manage to stay alive though, the more critters will appear and the harder these enemies will be.
Rush mode is more of the same but you’ll be limited to only using your assault rifle, with no perks or power-ups available whilst the Weapon Picker scenario limits you to one magazine of ammo. You’ll need to make sure that every bullet counts or you’ll end up in big trouble. However, the upside is that weapons will constantly spawn in random places around the map – you just need to pick them up in order to survive.
Nukefism, sees you with no weapons at all. So how do you survive? That’s easy, you night not be allowed to use weapons but instead you’ll have to utilise the many power-ups that are constantly spawning all over the map.
The Blitz mode is pretty much the Survival sub-mode on steroids. Everything is faster, enemies spawn and move quicker but you also get to move faster. This results in a chaotic mode filled with enemies right from the start.
Waves meanwhile is a new mode that is exclusive to Xbox One. It follows the basic rules of the Survival sub-mode, the difference is that instead of the enemies randomly spawning over the map, they come out of the various Nests that appear. The faster you destroy them, the better your chances are of surviving just that little bit longer.
Both game modes, Quest and Survival can be played either alone or with up to 4 local players. Although the co-op is only local, there is something that makes it stand out from the rest of the many local co-op titles, and that is the fact that the more players there are, the more critters there will be to gun down. The Survival modes feature an online leaderboard, with both global and Xbox Live friends charts.
The game doesn’t support online multiplayer due to a simple fact; Crimsonland used 99% of the same code that was used on the 2003 version and back then online multiplayer wasn’t anywhere near such a big deal as it is today. To feature it would require the game code to be re-written from scratch and 10tons have preferred to keep the game true to the original.
As for the visuals and sound (which are the 1% I left back there), they are exactly the same as presented on the remastered edition launched in 2014 and fit perfectly with the game. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, Crimsonland can be labelled as a twin-stick shooter, which means all the controls are pretty much just the analog sticks, left to move and right to aim, and to fire your weapons you can use any of the bumpers. This is the only thing that makes it a bit different from the regular twin stick shooters where the right analog is used to aim and shoot at the same time.
If you’re out there hunting for achievements, then Crimsonland is one to dish up the goods. With 22 available, most are granted by finishing the quest levels, so it turns out to be quite easy to get most of them. The harder ones? Well, we all like a challenge.
And that just about sums Crimsonland up. A challenge…but a delightful one at that!