When you see the cover art for Crimsonland, your mind will probably go straight to Doom, given that it’s a direct homage to that game’s box art. Doomguy shooting demons is fairly iconic to gamers, so it’s hard to fault the artist for taking advantage of that visual. However, after seeing that, you might be wondering whether this game is a Doom clone or possibly something less fun. Let me assure you that, while Crimsonland is not a Doom clone, it’s definitely a lot of fun.
Brought to us by 10tons Ltd, Crimsonland is an Android action game that has enough action to satisfy even the most bloodthirsty of gamers. Just like Doom, gameplay consists of killing enemies nonstop, except this game is a top-down twin-stick shooter. You can kill enemies in two modes: Quests and Survival. Quests mode pits you against progressively harder hordes of enemies. There’s no real story, so this mode is just a numbered list, but that’s not necessarily a negative. Survival mode, on the other hand, throws endless enemies at you until you die. Survival also has different sub-modes (Rush, Weapon Picker, etc.) that change up the battle conditions and add some much-needed spice to a mode that could potentially get old very quickly.
The foes you face in these modes are plentiful and include giant spiders, zombies, and lizard people. They also come in different colors and variations to avoid monotony. In the later stages, you’ll also need to destroy the nests that the enemies spawn from, adding tension and urgency to the battles. By the end of most battles, the body count is ludicrously high. However, there are few things more satisfying than finishing a stage and barely being able to see the ground through gallons and gallons of the enemies’ blood. It truly is your handiwork.
One of the standout features of Crimsonland is the wide selection of weapons. You start off each level with a simple pistol, but, before long, one of your first kills will drop a much superior weapon for you to use on their friends. Do you want to upgrade to an assault rifle? This game’s got you covered. Or do you want to shoot rockets at enemies from afar? No problem. Perhaps you’d rather get up close and personal by scorching them with a flamethrower? Light ’em up! Every time you kill a dozen or so enemies, a new weapon shows up on the battlefield, so it’s very difficult to become bored with the combat.
The arsenal is great, but my personal favorite gameplay mechanic is the perk system, which is what really differentiates Crimsonland from most other top-down shooters on the market. After you get a certain amount of experience points from defeating enemies, you level up and are able to choose a perk. They’re incredibly random, but usually very helpful. Perks run the gamut from making your bullets fly faster to pulling out the camera to give you an eagle-eyed view of the map. My favorite perk is the one that essentially gives you radiation poisoning, which slowly kills the enemies around you. Some are more useful than others. One of them lowers your health considerably, but gives you other benefits. Another gives your character the ability to melee in response to an enemy getting too close. The perks can be a wildcard, so choosing the right one for the right situation adds a welcome bit of strategy to the gameplay.
While describing Crimsonland earlier, I used the term “twin-stick,” but the game, like most Android action titles, uses touchscreen contolrs, so the “sticks” are just circular areas for your thumbs to rub. Because of the large amount of enemies onscreen, this is actually a bit of a problem during the more intense instances of combat. Not only do you need to shoot the enemies, but you also need to avoid them. Having your thumbs and the virtual joysticks obscure your character can be frustrating, but the gameplay is so much fun that redoing a level doesn’t feel like a chore. This feels like nitpicking because it’s the game’s only real flaw and the rest of the package is so great.
Overall, the crazy perks and large arsenal elevate Crimsonland to the level of a truly great top-down shooter with engaging and unpredictable gameplay. If you have any fondness at all for twin-stick shooters or top-down Android action titles, Crimsonland is a must.
Is it Hardcore?
While its controls suffer a bit from a touch interface, Crimsonland’s huge arsenal and randomized perks make this action game an absolute blast to play.