Sobaka Studio has ported Redeemer: Enhanced Edition to the Nintendo Switch, bringing the same bonus content seen on the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. As a top-down brawler and shooter, the game aims to blend casual, simple combat mechanics with the serious struggle of an overpowered protagonist seen in classics like Final Fight and Streets of Rage, but falls victim to monotony and bland design.
Bring On The Generic
The story comes crashing with clichés out of any B-action movie from the 1980s, but lacking the Synthwave color that goes so well with those overdramatic themes. The player takes control of Vasily, a former Russian operative who seeks only to live his life in peace, but unable to forget his past. He is so addicted to his past life, that any excuse to taste violence would be a welcome invitation to fall off the wagon. Enter here the few generic NPC thugs you will face over and over through each level.
Combat is simplistic with punch-and-kick combinations that provide single target and cleaves for some crowd control, as well as a broad range of ranged and melee weapons along the way. Enemies can be parried, though with proper avoidance and positioning this is all but unnecessary in most situations.
Unlike classic side-scrolling fighting games, Redeemer opts for a top-down perspective with the unique ability to move the camera away from the center to see what may lie ahead. This is a novel approach to the view, but is also often unnecessary.
A Little More Could've Gone A Long Way
The problem with Redeemer is that it is bland in its combat, enemy design, level design, and altogether largely forgettable.
Combat requires little in terms of learning. Once you learn to position yourself, everything feels like a breeze. The top-down view also makes the attack animations look far too similar, outside of the wide-arc kicks. Part of the draw to older side-scrolling fighting games was the unique combat animations that were repetitive, but always enjoyable to use.
Enemy design feels uninspired and lacking. Worse still is that the AI feels limited, though that may also be an issue of level design. By default, the enemy seems to swarm and attack you, and they can do so effectively in an open space with their own guns if one is not careful. However, there is often more than enough space to dodge without risk, or corners to abuse in levels filled with many rooms, where the AI does not seem to know what to do other than walk into the character’s fist in single-file order.
Finally, level design is simply monotonous, and again, this is likely not helped by the top-down view, where everything is laid out and looks the same. Scrolls and items needed to develop skills in the game are seemingly hidden, but not in any innovative or creative way. Most items can be found if a player dedicates the time to fully exploring every level, but this adds nothing to the experience.
Ultimately, the game is not bad, but forgettable and uninspired. It might be worth picking up on sale at a steep discount, but otherwise, there are plenty of other titles on the Switch that deserve more consumer attention.
2 Out Of 5 Stars
A review code for Redeemer: Enhanced Edition was provided to TheGamer for this review. Redeemer: Enhanced Edition is available now for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.