Crimsonland is one of the first twin stick shooters to be available for PlayStation 4 although it was originally released for PC back in 2003. It's nice to have a new twin stick shooter on PlayStation 4, but as you play Crimsonland it's hard not to feel nostalgic for the much better counterparts that were released last generation.
The main mode is quest mode where you play through 6 chapters which are broken into 10 stages each. There are also 3 difficulty settings, 2 of which are unlocked after you beat all 60 stages at the previous difficulty. As quest mode begins, it's quite apparent how tight the controls are and how satisfying it is to see the blood of the monsters you slay cover the stage floor. Monsters spawn from the edges of the screen as well as nests that you can destroy. They will stalk and gang up on you easily so you must keep moving while killing as many as you can. When monsters touch you, your mobility is greatly reduced allowing more monsters to surround and kill you. As quest mode advances you will unlock weapons and perks which you can use in survival mode.
However, you will eventually tire of the generic graphics and sound effects, obnoxious music, how every stage feels just like the previous, and come to the conclusion that the random weapons and power-ups that spawn play a huge role in determining your success. The player's skill level is still important but if one of the awful weapons spawns at the beginning of the stage as opposed to one of the superior weapons, you start with a significant disadvantage and this could spell doom for you if a better weapon doesn't spawn soon.
Survival mode plays as you would expect. It's basically the same as quest mode but only ends with your eventual death. That being said, it is a lot more fun than quest mode since you can try to top your score and climb the leaderboards. However, the luck factor plays as much of a part in survival mode as it does in quest mode. There are 5 unlockable variations: classic survival mode, survival with only the assault rifle (rush), survival with no reloading (weapon picker), survival with only power-ups and no weapons (nukefism), and fast-paced survival (blitz). These variations are unique enough to encourage the player to try them all. You can use weapons and perks that you unlocked in quest mode in the classic survival and blitz modes. In these modes after you gain a certain amount of points your level increases and you get to choose a new perk from an array of random perks to add to your arsenal. These perks include automatic health increase, faster reload times, etc.
There is no option to change the controls and if you play for an extended period of time your right index finger will cramp something fierce since R2 is the only button to fire except for the option to aim and shoot with the touch pad which ultimately feels frustrating and unsatisfying. There are a couple of welcome additions such as the ability to play any mode in local co-op for up to 4 players and the ability to see your statistics such as your average lifespan, kills per minute, and the amount you picked up each weapon from the extras menu.
Although Crimsonland has tight controls and some neat survival mode variations one can't help but feel disappointed with the overall experience due to its generic presentation, too much emphasis on chance, and monotonous quest mode levels.
- + Tight controls
- + Good variety of survival modes
- + 4 player local co-op and leaderboards for survival mode are nice features
- - Success is too luck-based
- - Bland graphics, generic sound effects, and obnoxious and repetitive music
- - All 60 quest levels feel the same