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Game Info:

The Red Solstice
Developed by: Ironward
Published by: Nkidu Games Inc
Release Date: July 9, 2015
Available on: PC
Genre: Strategy, RPG
Number of Players: Up to eight online
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Price: $19.99

Thank you Ironward for sending us this game to review!

A deadly epidemic has devastated Earth and many humans have evacuated to Mars after terraforming it.  A huge storm called The Red Solstice hit Mars and the colonies went silent.  Several marine squads have been dispatched to investigate and they all landed in different locations.  Uniting these squads is crucial as the invading swarm of infected humans and ferocious aliens are getting stronger by the minute.

Each squad consists of four units with different specializations and abilities.  There are eight classes including assault, medic, demolition, recon, heavy support, hellfire, terminator, and marksman.  Throughout the ten mission story campaign, many of these special skills will be required to progress the storyline.  The missions themselves have various objectives including destroying the alien nests and locating a high profile CEO who has been kidnapped by insurgents.  

While there are strategy and RPG elements, there is also a lot of action in this game with the enemies coming in waves as you try and lead your team to various checkpoints.  These come in handy if your team dies as there is no way to manually save your progress.  The view is from a top down perspective and you can go into a tactical mode by pressing the space bar.  In the tactical mode the time is slowed down by 90% and you can issue orders to specific teammates.  The AI is pretty competent, but splitting up in strategic locations is sometimes required.

The Red Solstice
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun survival strategy RPG game where you’re trying to stop a virus outbreak from spreading on Mars
Weak Points: Not many players or active games to join online; learning curve with the controls 
Moral Warnings: Lots of blood and gore; fighting against aliens and zombies; language; tobacco references

There are many abandoned buildings that have lockers and supply crates worth investigating.  Many times they’ll be empty, but they occasionally yield valuable medical supplies, ammo, and explosives.  Ammo is in limited supply and ammunition stashes are indicated on the mini map on the top left hand side of the screen.  Be sure to stock up on ammo before and after boss battles. 

As enemies are riddled with bullets, burned with flame throwers, or blown up with explosives, blood will be sprayed and experience will be earned.  When teammates level up, their HP will go up and their skills can be upgraded.  Before each mission the units have skill points to be allocated in various stats such as health, armor, speed, HP/armor regeneration, ailment resistance, and evasion.  

There are two sets of difficulties.  The game has Normal, Hardcore and Brutal Core.  In Normal mode you can revive teammates as often as needed without penalty as long as someone is still alive.  In Hardcore modes deaths are penalized by losing energy points.  In Brutal Hardcore, if the whole team dies the entire campaign has to be restarted.  The missions have difficulty levels as well.  These include Recruit, Soldier, Veteran, and Aetriden.  If you just want the story with some action, play as the Recruit.  The default setting is Soldier.  The description for Aetriden says that it’s hell and not to even try playing it.  (So I didn’t.)

The Red Solstice
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 77%
Violence - 5/10
Language - 8/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

Besides hell, the other cuss word found in this game is d*mn.  The Red Solstice is very gory and there is blood smeared all over the place.  The other issue worth noting is that one of the profile pictures of the marines shows him smoking a cigar.  

The single-player campaign took me around seven hours to complete.  Other than single-player there is a survival mode which has dynamically generated maps that can be completed with the help of AI bots.  If you want to play with other humans, multiplayer has a few willing people online to play against.  While I didn’t see many games to join, I was able to host a game with four other players in minutes.  Perhaps the lack of people hosting is due to the limited number of respawns allowed.  Since I exceeded my number of respawns, I left my game running as a courtesy for the other players to finish the game or die trying (the latter happened).  

There are many game types available including defend the bunker, tactical for controlling followers, hard core with a boss in each wave, or capturing points.  Other modes like Red Storm reduces the armor by 30% when outdoors and increases the bullet damage by 15% when indoors.  Fast mode speeds up the game by having the waves come faster and increasing the experience by 10%.  

The Red Solstice certainly brings a lot to the table and is fun to play. While the asking price is $19.99, I have seen this game given away or on sale real cheap.  It’s certainly worth picking up on sale if you don’t mind the violence and mild language.  The soundtrack is well done and worth picking up for $3.99 on Steam.  

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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