Crimsonland is a game that truly surprised me. Not knowing what to expect, I sat down to play with no preconceived idea of the style. The game caught my eye immediately as its own cover image bears a striking resemblance to a shooter of old (cough, Doom cough). The game opens up immediately to some amazing guitar riffs that bring you into the mood of shooting some bad guys. Crimsonland by 10tons have created an incredibly fun to play arcade shooter and it is probably best described by the self proclaimed description “a top-down shooter with a touch of RPG.”
With absolutely no background or plot to drive your forward, you start playing through level after level, which are all cleverly titled. Each level has its own enemy type and therefore new strategies must be used to pass it. As a twin-stick shooter you have to think on your feet as being engulfed in a flood of enemies happens more time than not. After every completed level you unlock a new weapon which will ultimately be useful in the following level. New perks will also be unlocked which gives you new enhancements in battle. Once they are unlocked, perks and weapons will drop randomly on the field as you get more kills. Some enemy types move fast, much faster than your character, so keeping an eye open for a speed boost is a must. If you find yourself completely bombarded with foes, it may be worth losing some health just to obtain the nuke and destroy everything around you. The levels themselves are rather bland and are just empty fields in which the slaughter takes place. Aptly titled, Crimsonland lives up to its name. Within almost no time at all, the green grass will turn crimson red as foes are quickly dispatched.
As I was playing a few levels in, I saw in the corner of the screen a message saying “press Shoot to play”. I handed my friend a Dualshock 4 and he logged into his profile. Not only could we both play couch coop but he could also earn PSN trophies. I know this feature is thankfully inherent on PS4, but the fact that you can play up to 4 player local is a special thing, especially in this day and age. Our time with Crimsonland was fast and very enjoyable. The difficulty at times was tough as there were occasions when one of us would die and watch carefully to see if the other player would make it out alive. The game has different difficulty levels that are locked from the get go until you beat them once on easy and then keep progressing. If you beat all of the campaign levels, you can tackle various survival levels and see how you stack up against the rest of the world on online leaderboards. I found survival mode especially entertaining. You have only one life. When you fill up a score bar with points you reach the next level. Every level you get to select a new perk that changes gameplay. This wonderful set up gives players the chance to customize how they want to approach the situation and ultimately places the fate in their hands.
Crimsonland pulls off a top down shooter with some engaging upgrades and witty writing and it all comes together as a solid package. Although the amazing metal guitar riffs are nice, the loop time on the audio and the lack of fresh tracks can make the audio dull really fast. I recommend playing your favorite metal band in the background, or even better the original Doom soundtrack. Either way this a simple yet entertaining shooter that is incredibly fun to play. Throw in unlockable difficulty levels and trophies that encourage certain in-game tasks makes this one fun, coop experience.