Crimsonland is a top down twin stick shooter which pays homage to Old School Doom through the promotional image for the game.
When you start the game you have 2 options, A Survival Mode and Quest Mode. Survival mode is as you would expect, going through level after level trying to survive wave and wave of enemies. However, to get the most out of the survival mode you will have to trawl through the campaign, which I have to admit did get a little repetitive and stale after so many levels.
Crimsonland does try and hold onto you to go ‘Just one more game’ but unfortunately as the levels become more of the same it gets harder to want to keep going in a single sitting. The main objective of the game is to kill whatever is on the screen at the time until the progress bar at the top of the page is full, at which point the level will end and you can move on. There are a fair amount of weapons to try out throughout the game which unlocks as you go through.
From the not so trusty pistol to the all-out full auto rifles and shotguns there are plenty of weapons to choose from and as you’re in each level you can swap and change if an enemy is going to drop one for you. It’s not just guns that are dropped, there are other items as well, such as nuclear blasts, which causes a massive explosion and any close enemies will be instantly killed. There are others as well that can give health, freeze time/enemies etc. All aimed at helping the greater good, and if used correctly and timed right can be a great help if you’re getting overwhelmed. However, I will say that the enemies didn’t really cause me any problems and they were more of a nuisance than anything. The enemies do vary but not by much, you’re either looking at zombies, spiders or lizards. As you get further along, you do start getting spawn/portal points which enemies start to spawn out of, and these do need to be dealt with rather swiftly.
Also throughout the levels, perks will crop up once the blue bar has been filled which does add a little strategy to the game, as you have to think about the best course of action for yourself at that point, so whether you need to freeze, have more accuracy, health etc. If the world is getting busier for you and it’s going to be harder to clear it, then you may go for health or maybe freeze your enemies to help rid of a few of them.
When in a level, as mentioned above the only objective is to kill what’s there and fill the progress bar, that is it, there is nothing else to do within the level. There aren’t any altering aesthetics such as buildings, anything to navigate, just a big square with different backgrounds to show the environment, which was pretty disappointing.
Despite some of the visual and aesthetic disappointments, when the action picks up, it can get tense with waves and waves coming at you and the further you progress the more it ramps up the action and making use of the weapons, perks and drops becomes more important.
You can see what Crimsonland is trying to do, and I have to admit it is the type of game that was designed for the Switch, to sit in handheld mode on the sofa, but doesn’t take anything away from the game as it plays well in both handheld and TV mode.