It’s like modern Road Rash they scream! “Yes”, you nod sagely. “Yes it is”.
Early Access is a strange beast. You can own the guts of a game for up to 2 years before an update appears out of the blue, and bing! You are now the proud owner of a shiny brand new game. Not sure on this term “Early Access”? … Why not check out the glossary.
Road Redemption encourages you to sit comfortably in the seat of a motorcycle, swinging shovels at fellow racers in anger.
It’s all rather exciting.
Look, I don’t want to mess around. Let’s get to what you really want to know. The menu. That’s the real winner from the long Early Access period. That things looking pretty damn tight. Ok, not great, but tighter then it once was. Fine. Here’s a picture.
I know. What a beauty. Ok… sure you could say it looks a lil crummy, and some might say it sums the whole game up. Bit rough around the edges, lil’ bit scrappy. Bit of an underdog, but with a great deal of charm.
So from such humble menus you burst into a semi-randomised campaign mode. The first thing you’ll notice is that 4 players can go on this adventure and if you can get 4 players in the same room. You’re in for a treat.
Road Redemption does not mess around. The aim is to get you kicking competitors into on-coming traffic as soon as possible and it does this by keeping things simple. The opening tracks are wide and welcoming. This isn’t an accurate simulation of riding a bike. The controls are a bit floaty and brakes have been replaced in favour of a quick turn. You slam weapons left and right, lash out with your foot, grab racers heads before smashing them into handlebar and can take aim with guns. Yes. Guns.
As you’d expect trying to take aim with a shotgun is a pretty tricky affair and and you’ll likely stick with swords… that is, until you come across tougher enemies. That includes bosses. You see, the levels and missions are semi-randomised but consistent elements remain. You’ll plough through three distinct territories, each with their own villain and themes and to keep up with the growing challenge, you’ll have to purchase upgrades to keep afloat. Ya’ know, health, weapons and wotnot. Such toys and tidbits are taken away from you after each run, but that’s ok. Remember, this is a semi-randomised rogue-like-racer, so we hold hands with another well worn trope. Permanent upgrades between runs. You’ll need them too as later levels expose just how flimsy your character is. Naturally there are other characters and bikes to unlock, and it might be a while before I get to saviour the lovely Shovel Knight once again. It’s funny when Early Access takes away things you once had. By funny I mean, sigh.
The missions themselves fall into a familiar pattern. You might find yourself in a straight race, which is fun. Or taking out a certain amount of rival bikers, which is fun. Or even a time trial, which is ok. But you get to hit people, which is fun. Sometimes the random tracks will have tricky shortcuts laden with collectable bonuses. Sometimes the tracks will look familiar. Sometimes you should shut your face and get on with hitting people. You don’t have time to admire the shacks by the side of the road.
Yes.. the graphics are passable. The sound could do with a bit more oomph. Maybe the mild sound of a broken arm or two could liven things up. The ragdoll physics go a long way to keep things interesting.
So there’s a tremendous amount of praise flying around, and we’re close to the end of this review, so let’s bring the mood down a bit. I don’t like bikers with shields. Bloody force-fields. On a biker… What an outrage. Also, whilst 4 player is fun, it does have some minor issues… of course it does, why wouldn’t it. There’s a good chance you won’t get to pummel your friends faces with a rusty bar as the courses are long and gaps will naturally appear. There are also times you won’t come across many CPU opponents as they’re tied up with another player, but for the most part, it works fine. For those wanting to play there friends online, you’re currently out of luck as it’s down for maintenance… that isn’t the worst problem as it’s far more fun to welcome a group of shouting friends into your home. Lastly, and it’s strange to say this, but the game’s broadly the same amount of fun, as it was when I first played it two years ago. It still has an aura of a game that isn’t quite finished. Having the term “maintenance” on the main menu is a bit of a giveaway. Ok… we’ve indulged in a low mood, so let’s finish on a high.
Jumping over an oncoming vehicle, slamming someone with a pipe mid air and shooting 1st place as you past the finish line… Oh yes, Road Redemption is capable of thrilling moments.
If you’re looking for a game that incorporates physical beat downs with light motorcycle racing, you won’t find much better then Road Redemption.
A plucky underdog of a game.