Red Horizon – Out Now (£0.79) – Developed & Published by Allen Games
I’ve spoken before about how rubbish I am at shoot ’em ups. Like pretty much anything in life though, you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it – and so it is with Red Horizon, a challenging shooter that takes some inspiration from Asteroids but adds some neat touches of its own to the ‘spinning shooty ship in space’ (how’s that for alliteration?) formula.
Your ship shoots automatically, leaving you to worry instead about how to avoid the numerous ship types that’ll be coming to get you. Using a controller (which I’ve found is definitely the best way to play), the controls default to you moving forward with the right trigger and reversing with the left trigger. A shield – you start with just one, but can collect more – can be activated with the press of a face button, and gives you a few seconds of invincibility. You have three lives to start; a single hit removes one, but play continues uninterrupted until you lose them all, at which point it’s game over (and you are kicked back to the first wave when you restart).
After clearing every few waves, you’ll get the chance to choose two power ups from a choice of three; these are randomly generated and some are far more useful than others (the elephant, which makes you grow bigger, seems to just make you more of a target and also makes it harder to actually dodge enemy fire, for example).
The gameplay is fast and smooth – but it’s a lot more challenging to play than it may sound. Enemies are pretty relentless and, as mentioned above, one hit removes a life from your initially small supply – though, like shields, enemies will occasionally drop extra lives.
Waves get incredibly hectic pretty quickly – and it takes a while to get used to the rhythm of movement and the range of enemy fire. You’ll be seeing that Game Over screen a lot at first, but thankfully Red Horizon is pretty addictive and you will keep coming back for more. Though hard to master, it’s definitely rewarding to hone your skills and get further as you improve.
I’ve got this far without even mentioning one of the most surprising and hilarious features – enemies can be pretty foul-mouthed and swear quite often when dispatched; it’s something that I found endlessly amusing.
Though it’s a fairly basic game, it does well at what it sets out to do and it’s also important to note that Red Horizon is the work of a one person development team. It’s actually a nicely addictive, compelling little game and one that I’d highly recommend, especially at the low price it’s being sold for. There’s a lot to like here and it’s a more compelling experience than some higher priced games – from larger indies – I’ve played recently. I’m all for supporting passion projects from smaller indies, especially when they’re as well made as this. Though Red Horizon may seem a little basic at first, it doesn’t take long to grab you.
Many thanks to Allen Games for providing the key for review.
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