The bird is the word, swiftly followed by some expletives.
Hello, Polly, wakey wakey rise and shine! Nope. No response, nothing at all. The bird is most definitely dead. In iFun4All’s Red Game Without a Great Name you control a mechanical bird not a Norwegian Blue pining for the fjords, but there is no debate both birds are dead or soon will be!
Set in a steam punk world Red Game Without a Great Name has you flying and teleporting across its sixty levels delivering the mail and collecting the optional gears along the way. Unlike postmen who have a relatively danger free job apart from the odd dog here and there, your flight path is full of danger. The words “journey” and “perilous” spring to mind with barbed wire, spikes, windmills, windmills with spikes, moving platforms, moving platforms with spikes and, oh, more spikes – endless spikes all killing you if you touch them. Even the camera can kill you if you linger too long!
It’s ‘insta-death’ at its finest. I’m a huge fan of instant death games. Knowing that you are never far from certain failure gives games an edge and Red Game Without a Great Name has taken this to a whole new level. Whereas Self Made Miracles’Penarium (one of my highlights of the year) gave you a second or two to try to avoid death it seems like an entire lifetime compared to the brief fleeting moment you are given to make your decision in Red Game Without a Great Name.
As you progress through the increasingly difficult levels you encounter new problems like the levels themselves. They stop being linear and the camera starts panning up or down. This is an issue for our little mech-bird as it flies left to right, so you have to use wind pipes to alter its direction. Then there are the switches which you need to press to disable traps. There are even parts of the later levels where you can’t teleport so you need to make sure you’re correctly lined up before you enter these zones so that you avoid a one way ticket to Deathsville. Thankfully there are a few power-ups scattered about that allow you to smash through cracked walls or even have a short period of timed immortality. The immortality power-up is like a double edged sword as it protects you from sharp obstacles but you don’t know when it will run out so again you are dicing with death.
Made up primarily of red, this scrolling arcade world has artistic similarities to Limbo. Both use black with great effect and it is complimented wonderfully with a kind of Parisian jazz music that feels like it came directly from The Fast Show’s Jazz Club.
The only way to fly is with the touch screen. Simply tap the bird and swipe to where you want to teleport. Using the touch screen is the correct choice for Red Game Without a Great Name. It is very responsive which is essential as you need to have pinpoint accuracy if you are to avoid dying. I have no doubt that you will try handling the Vita in various positions in the hope that you will somehow improve how quickly you respond, but my advice would be to keep the screen clean.
If you want to get a quick set of trophies under your belt you’d better move along, as there is nothing for you here. Red Game Without a Great Name has a trophy list that only the most hardcore of gamer will achieve. Sure you will earn the trophy for dying 5000 times easily enough, but the Gold trophy for flawlessly finishing (that’s collecting the three gears and not dying) all the levels will only be obtained by the elitist of the elite.
While Red Game Without a Great Name’s trophies are definitely aimed at hardcore gamers, the game itself has that instant “pick up and play” appeal. Even the most casual of gamers will be able to play it. You can try to play it in small bursts but its addictiveness will mean you will end up playing for hours without realising. Be warned, though, if Red Game Without a Great Name becomes your bus journey go-to-game it may induce a serious case of Bus Tourettes.
NelMaNo Rating – 8/10