Contrary to what you might be thinking, The Red Exile is not NipoBox’s homage to the Virtual Boy. Despite the name and the red-and-black visuals, this is an entirely different kettle of fish. It’s a survival horror game unlike anything that you may have played before. And this The Red Exile review will tell you why you should definitely be considering it.
The game begins with no instruction. You begin in a red room (all the rooms are red). You have the option of a few doors to exit through (you always have a few doors to exit through.) There’s no mention of objective, challenges, nor your abilities (there never is). The game is as much about discovery as it is about survival. With a roguelike inspired Perks system, you’ll find that progression is slow when death comes quickly.
The game plays as a walk through a labyrinth. A very red one. Each run is procedurally generated, so it’s never quite the same twice. Within is a room with a summoning ritual on the floor that’s short a few candles. Your job is to find the candles and place then within the pentagram. Simple, eh? Well, not quite. Throughout there’s a big bad chasing you. He’s not too bright, but when he does catch you, it’s an instant end to your run.
There’s a few interesting mechanics to unpack in this fairly simple premise. To begin with, you have the immediate choice of whether to close doors behind you or leave them open. There’s no map, and most rooms look very similar. Closing them could have you going round in circles, but will also slow down your adversary. As the bad one gets close a heartbeat sound effect will begin, alerting you to his presence. This is the moment in which you must decide whether to run or hide. Find a locker and wait until he goes by, or pick up a syringe for a momentary burst of additional speed.
As stated above, You can also buy Perks with Skill Points that will help you along the way. However, it’s not always evident exactly what they do. There’s no info before purchase other than a suggestive title. And even after purchase, you might not notice the benefit. You’ll gain Skill Points for each run (seemingly unless you don’t manage to last a full minute) so you can quickly unlock a few and see which work best in the three available slots.
While The Red Exile isn’t likely to win too many awards, there’s some genuinely interesting ideas here. It’s certainly a far cry from Resident Evil, but survival horror is a genre that warrants greater exploration. Fans will certainly welcome the innovation outlined in this The Red Exile review, even if only for a weekend.