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Red Star Review: Brawling Goodness? Not so Fast…

Everyone loves some classic beat-em-ups, and Red Star seems to fit the description.  Originally released for the PS2 and the PSP, Red Star seemed to have past success and the reviews seemed to be more or less positive (72 on Metacritic).  But what makes the PS2 and PSP different from the iPhone is the type of gamers; in this case, the iPhone demographic contains more casual than hardcore gamers.

With that said, Red Star in my eyes is something that could have been, a vision that may never happen.  The developer’s choice to cut out checkpoints, include some not-so-good controls, and include some brutal difficult make Red Star a game for only those who play hard ball.  And even if you play hard ball, you have to play the hardest of the hard ball.

Likes

Graphics: The graphics are pretty good, and they seem to be on par with the PSP graphics.

Dislikes

Brutal Difficulty: The first level is one of the hardest levels I’ve ever played in any game; yes, that includes Xbox, PS3, PSP, and DS games.  Red Star is overly difficult for no apparent reason, and I actually just quit after trying to pass the first level for over an hour.

Lack of checkpoints: There are no checkpoints throughout the entire level.  You beat the boss, move on, and die… you have to restart from the beginning OF THE LEVEL.

Controls: My fingers always seem to slide off the screen, the “invisible” joystick isn’t too accurate, and auto-targeting is non-existent.  You have to tediously move towards the enemy, face in its direction, then attack.  If you happen to button mash and not count out your hits, then you have to wait for your character to finish the attack, then face the direction of the next opponent.  Unnecessarily tedious if you ask me; all they needed to add was some sort of auto-facing system.

Red Star is something that could have been great.  Something that could have received our Must Have award.  Something that could have been the best brawler the App Store has ever seen.  Instead, XS Games failed to realize the demographics of the App Store and failed to edit their game accordingly, making for one of the most difficult, frustrating, and annoying games I have ever played.  I don’t care if you’re a hardcore gamer; pass this one up for now.

Red Star was developed by XS Games, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $4.99.




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