Review: Road Redemption
Developer: Pixel Dash Studios, Dark Seas Interactive
Publisher: Sunken Treasures Games, Dark Seas Interactive
Genre: Racing/Vehicular combat
The last time I played Pixel Dash Studio’s Road Redemption, it was in a very early alpha build. I had fun with it and could see its potential, but the game wasn’t anything special from a visual standpoint. I left the experience impressed, but uncertain if the game would be worth purchasing upon its release. Dark Seas Interactive got in touch with me with a finished build of the game, and I’m stoked to say it’s the most fun I’ve had with a motorbike game in years, and an instant classic.
Touted by many as a spiritual successor to the iconic Road Rash series, Road Redemption is an intense motorcycle racing game where racers can pummel each other senseless with a variety of weapons. Taking things one step further than Road Rash, players can actually kill each other in Road Redemption. We’re talking brutal decapitations, explosions, riddling each other with bullets, punting each other off of cliffs and buildings – it’s a brilliantly brutal game.
The game features a quick race mode for players wanting to get straight into the action, but unlike its influences it also offers up a campaign mode. After decades of fighting, the country’s biker gangs are in a period of uneasy peace. Someone has assassinated the leader of the Ironsight Weapons Cartel, with a bounty placed on their head. The race is now on to bring in the assassin, dead or alive, with a $15,000,000 bounty being placed on his head.
The story isn’t going to win any awards, but it does allow for the introduction of different gangs and enemy types, as well as the various objectives of each level. Instead of simply trying to finish first, you might try to kill a set amount of rival gang members, destroy a number of trucks, or simply beat an area in a set time limit. The amount of variety in the various missions makes for a more engaging and rewarding experience than simple races.
With each new level, the campaign steadily increases in difficulty, with some levels proving quite challenging. It’s up to players to form cunning strategies in order to complete them, as well as have enough health and ammunition for the next level. Fortunately, completing races and defeating other racers rewards the player with experience and cash. Cash is used during the campaign to unlock upgrades, such as increased damage, increased health and increased nitro gain. Experience is used at game over or at campaign completion to unlock permanent upgrades. It’s a great system that is both accessible and rewarding.
Gameplay is extremely accessible – if you’ve played any other racing game you’ll grasp the basics immediately. Aside from braking, accelerating and steering though, players are also able to use melee weapons, explosives and guns to eliminate other racers. They can also deflect attacks, kick and grab other racers, either ramming their head into their bike or steering them into oncoming vehicles and obstacles. You can get by just using your melee weapons and guns, but the amount of options available gives the game’s combat a healthy dose a variety.
Speaking of variety, the track design compliments the campaign’s various missions to make each race feel different from the one before it. I won’t say that they are wholly unique from each other, but racing along rooftops with jumpjets certainly feels different from speeding through the desert blowing up trucks with plastic explosives. Compared to its influences, Road Redemption truly feels like a varied and rewarding experience.
Completing the game’s Campaign Mode unlocks Campaign +, which isn’t a continuation of the campaign, but rather a slew of additional races with more objectives to complete. There’s no additional voice acting or expanding upon the game’s narrative, just more races that will absolutely challenge the player.
With both online and local co-op, Road Redemption is sure to be an absolute riot with friends. I had a friend play with me locally and we alternated between edge-of-our-seats excitement and laughing hysterically as we pummelled each other senseless during our session.
Overall, Road Redemption is one of the best racing experiences I’ve had in years, and easily one of the best vehicular combat games currently available. While it’s still receiving updates here and there, I can easily recommend it to fans of the genre, as well as anyone looking for a brilliantly brutal action racer.