Redux: Dark Matters (Available exclusively on SEGA Dreamcast)
ESRB Rating: N/A
Number of Players: 1
Genre: Shoot ‘em Up
Developer: KTX Software & René Hellwig
Release Date: January 27th, 2014
Parent Talk: Given Redux is an indie release, it was not submitted to the ESRB, and therefore has no official rating. It’s a spaceship shooter, which is bright and colorful, features no blood or other violence except for countless explosions. Technically that’s violence, but seriously these are the types of games I grew up with, and children shouldn’t find anything here damaging. They might find it incredibly hard though, because it is.
Plays Like: Given this is a remake of DUX it plays pretty much the same. There’s a charge shot, a standard shot, the ability to absorb enemy bullets, and depending on the difficulty you select, an R-Type-like power pod. Dodge billions of enemy bullets, and destroy everything in your path. ‘Simple’ as that.
Review Basis: Hucast was nice enough to send me a review copy, and I managed to get to the fifth stage, and will return to try and finish the game, but I’ve seen more than enough to review the game.
The soundtrack is utterly fantastic. Being composed by Andre Neuman, with creative input from Turrican and R-Type composer Chris Huelsbeck, you really have to hear the full soundtrack in all its glory to truly appreciate how amazing it is. I highly, highly recommend you pick up the soundtrack along with the game because this is one OST you’re going to want to have on your mobile device for sure.
+ Same excellent gameplay as DUX 1.5, yet new at the same time. You’ve got access to a charge shot, the typical standard shot, directional missiles, the ability to soak enemy bullets, and the power pod. Sounds familiar right? It should as this is all from DUX. The new feature here is that the soak ability no longer just sucks in enemy shots. Now a targeting reticule appears on all enemy ships within a certain distance of your ship. Pressing the R-button will then repel the bullets back to the enemies. It makes everything old feel new again.
+ There’s also an entirely new ship to play as, which ditches the power pod, making the game far tougher as a result. Instead of the power pod you’re given a spread-like blaster which makes clearing the stages a fraction easier, but dodging incoming bullets virtually impossible. It makes the game feel distinctly different than playing on Normal with the standard ship.
+ Dark Matters is extremely tough, but never feels cheap. The slow-paced nature of the game always makes you feel like you can get out of any situation, so when you die, you know you did something wrong. This challenge is what keeps you coming back for more.
+/- I loved the revamped graphics, new backgrounds, and higher level of detail, but there’s a bizarre blur effect that makes everything appear much more pixelated than DUX 1.5. It’s not too distracting once you get into the game, but it’s bizarre that the sharpness and contrast appear to have been affected by the upgraded graphics.
+/- As with DUX it can be a little hard to make out power-ups and enemy bullets once the action really gets intense. Keep in mind you’re dodging not only enemy bullets, but spaceships, and often the very stage itself. Sometimes it becomes a bit too overwhelming and can make seeing exactly where you have to go more of a challenge than it should be.
– I was a little disappointed that they couldn’t add some sort of splash screen intro in order to explain the story. Any silly arcade-like storyline would have sufficed.
Redux: Dark Matters is an extremely enjoyable shmup. It has a couple of shortcomings, especially with the new blur effect on the graphics, but the core gameplay is very fun. It’s challenging without being cheap, the two difficulty settings/ships are unique enough to make the game feel almost like two distinct games, and it’s fun enough to keep you coming back for more. If you have the chance, I certainly recommend you check out Redux.
Final Score: 8.3/10