When REDO! was offered for review, I had to watch the trailer multiple times before it was enough to lure me in, and even then, it was only because it was from Top Hat Studios that it was even considered. It wasn’t because it looked bad; it was just massively understated.
That understatement could also lead to an underwhelmed feeling as first impressions were no good either. You play a hero with no name that must ascend the Solar Cathedral, potentially meeting a fellow human in a world populated with bio-mechanical beings intent on hurting you. A lot. Instructions and explanations are kept to a minimum, but you’ll learn a bit more about the world through exploration.
REDO! is essentially a slow-burning Metroidvania – perhaps not what you’d associate with the genre, but I’d say that’s a fair description. Before deciding to do this PS4 review (to coincide with the Switch release), I had seen a few others say this is like a Dark Souls game. No. I’m a big fan, though no expert, but DS gets manageable through grinding (if necessary). You can’t alter your stats here but can increase your health and ammo capacity through drops. But that’s it.
To begin with, you’re armed with a pick axe for melee combat, using R1. L1 acts like an evasive roll but doesn’t offer invulnerability when rolling through certain enemies. Likewise, there are no other dedicated attacks until you locate some weapons (assigning up to three at a time). Depending on where you go, these begin with a taser, riot shield, flame blade and rocket launcher. The skinny? All of them use ammo – including the shield! – but ammo is in abundance. More importantly, projectile weapons trigger switches to unlock new areas via backtracking.
Be warned: there are no maps, so it’s not always clear where to go. Sure, “head up” is sound advice, but it isn’t that straightforward. If we must use a Dark Souls comparison, it will have to be the saving system. You’ll restore all health each time you save, but the enemies will respawn. I found that I would have a lot of ‘runs’ where I’d locate a new weapon or tool, then desperately search for a save point as if you die, you won’t retain anything you collected.
And this was the point where I disliked REDO! as it’s tough. Often the strategic approach is the best method, luring enemies to kill them one by one. Each enemy in REDO! has a stun meter, so if you knock them back a bit, or they use it up through an attack or on the receiving end of ‘friendly fire’, they’ll be temporarily stunned, allowing for a few hits with the pick axe to be safe, and if you’re lucky – some health restoration. Unfortunately, enemies hit incredibly hard, and something trivial can take off a quarter of your health bar in one careless misjudgement.
Upon death, you’ll return to the last save point, retaining anything you collected at this point. A lot of my early frustration was perhaps unlocking a new item, triggering a gateway, but then dying before reaching a save point once more. Despite those comparisons, REDO! doesn’t give much in the way of an olive branch in combat. The only thing you can do is remain patient.
Yet despite exiting the game a handful of times, I would think whether ‘one more go’ would be worth it. In reality, it was worth it, but I still couldn’t fully complete REDO! at the time of this review. Several factors included having a short window to play it and testing positive for COVID (seriously, it’s been bloody awful), but excuses aside, REDO! is a challenging game. It would have been better with stat increases other than health, but that’s asking too much.
No, the two fundamental changes would be the addition of a game map, and perhaps the enemies could hit a little less harder. Or maybe I could get better at it? This may surprise you, but REDO! is worth your time if you’re prepared for some hard grafting. Honestly, the map thing is no big deal, but it can be infuriating having to repeat a section due to a silly mistake. That said, I ended up enjoying this and suggest you seek it out if you want an alternative Metroidvania indie.