Reviews - Updated on April 2, 2022

For indie projects, the presence of the second part says a lot: most likely, the debut was a success and the authors of the game, having received credit from the audience, focused on releasing an even more ambitious and thoughtful sequel. In such a situation, it sometimes turns out that developers are noticed not only by consumers, but also by publishers – often independent development remains in the past.

Red Solstice 2: Survivors is just such a case. If the first part of the Croatian studio Ironward did entirely on its own, then when working on the sequel, it used the services of 505 Games. It was she who organized the online demonstration of a new project, in which we also took part. We were told about the main features of Red Solstice 2, and also provided access to the beta version of the game, which is scheduled for release on June 17th.

mars survives

The plot starts some time after the events of the first part. In the distant future, people moved to Mars – unfortunately, not at all from a good life: the native planet was destroyed by the STROL virus, which soon reached the Red Planet and now threatens the very existence of the human race. The virus (or rather, the scriptwriter of the game) is not particularly inventive, preferring to act in a long-proven way – to make more mutant monsters that, with the help of sharp teeth, claws, tails and other deadly limbs, shred everyone who was not lucky enough to be around.

Red Solstice 2: Survivors: Press Release Preview

Before each landing, we will be shown a short summary that allows us to understand the features of the mission.

Everyone is forced to confront the threat – the virus does not distinguish between representatives of several factions that inhabit Mars. In addition to several corporations and settlements competing with each other, there is a secret organization “Founders”, the combat unit of which will be led by the player. The goal is to destroy the virus and give humanity hope for survival.

As you understand, the plot is far from being in the first place in the developers’ priorities. From the dialogues and videos, little is clear, the characters are shown casually and without much attention to detail, and there is no particular desire to understand the ups and downs of what is happening on Mars with the help of the in-game encyclopedia – the local story is not at all catchy.

real tactic

I will return to the role of the plot and whether it is really needed in such projects, but for now I will tell you what the gameplay itself is. As you probably understood from the screenshots and videos, we have an isometric action game dedicated to the destruction of overwhelming numbers of monsters using a variety of firearms (and not only) weapons. Alien Shooter immediately comes to mind, and for good reason – Red Solstice 2 is really very similar to it. However, the similarity begins and ends with the appearance: Survivors, despite the same crowds of enemies, the incessant chirping of queues and the roar of explosions, is a game of a completely different plan.

Red Solstice 2: Survivors: Press Release Preview

The interface in the first part was, in my opinion, prettier.

Firstly, the pace: here it is much more measured, there is no that hurricane action that Alien Shooter and its imitators became famous for. We either defend key points, or slowly cut our way to the goal – I did not notice any high-speed runs and “kite” of enemies here, and this is hardly possible, given the snail’s speed of soldiers in power armor. There is a skill for a high-speed dash, but it doesn’t make any difference – it’s more like a way to dodge a strong enemy that has gotten close.

With skills, it’s even more interesting: by pressing a separate button, your character will automatically shoot at any enemy within reach, but the use of skills and special equipment such as grenades, mines, and first-aid kits remains the prerogative of the player, who must monitor the mana consumption of energy and the cooldown of these skills.

Red Solstice 2: Survivors: Press Release Preview

The red circle indicates the radius of that automatic fire. However, you can shoot the old-fashioned way, pointing the sight yourself or by clicking on a separate enemy.

Secondly, RS2 is focused on the tactical interaction of team members and the synergy of classes, of which there are six: attack aircraft, medic, fire support, demoman, sniper and scout. In the beta version, only the first three were available, although there are subordinate bots and other classes in the campaign mode. But, as you understand, the main bet is made on the joint passage – here, as in the first part, there are very high requirements for teamwork, a full-fledged simulation of which the bots and a rather meager set of instructions for them are not able to provide. And in general, the gameplay in a single player game is too leisurely, viscous and, it seemed to me, boring.

Not copying, but creative rethinking!

Ironward is not shy to say that it has invented a new genre called Real-Time Tactical Battlefield. A loud statement, the truth of which cannot yet be verified after reading the press version, but there is undoubtedly some truth in it.

Red Solstice 2: Survivors: Press Release Preview

There is enough scope for customizing a combat suit to create different builds even within the same class.

I would not call it a full-fledged innovation – rather, we have before us a fusion of elements from many other games. The look and feel of “Shooting Hordes of Monsters” is taken from Alien Shooter, the activated skills are reminiscent of ARPGs and MOBAs, and the cooperative abilities and class interactions create a resemblance to Left 4 Dead and Alien Swarm.

There is also a strategic mode with the study of new technologies, barracks, an arsenal, the development of your base and the choice of missions – does it remind you of anything? Yeah, I’m talking about XCOM – even the inevitable impending “gameover” in the form of infection, gradually covering the entire planet, is available. And the battles themselves are somewhat reminiscent of the Firaxis Games hit – here, despite the “real time”, the mind prevails over the speed of reaction.

Red Solstice 2: Survivors: Press Release Preview

The strategic map externally and essentially resembles an analogue from XCOM.

The strategic part is also very important. If the management of the base (more precisely, a ship in orbit around Mars) is rather sketchy, then the development of your character leaves a purely positive impression. Growth in levels with the study of skills and modernization of power armor allow you to create unique character options – here both replay value increases and you can take a break from the endless shooting of enemies.

There are elements of borrowing both in the entourage and in the plot. “Aliens” and “Dead Space” are clearly among the sources of inspiration for monster designers, and some ordinary defense of a key point is reminiscent of the assault on a military base by hordes of arachnids from the movie “Starship Troopers”.

Sometimes among ordinary enemies there are especially dangerous creatures, which can only be dealt with by the efforts of the whole team.

Those who are familiar with the first part have a rough idea of ​​what to expect from the sequel. Fans of cooperative entertainment should not be disappointed either – I repeat, Survivors, although it contains a single player campaign, is focused specifically on passing with friends. But here’s a bright story, preferably in a popular setting – something that Red Solstice definitely lacks to attract a new audience. Seems like a strange claim, given the genre, which implies an emphasis on gameplay, but imagine the same game, only in the Warhammer 40K setting! I would buy such an action without hesitation – and I think I’m not alone.

Nevertheless, the old saying that “co-op” will make anything good is still true, and it applies doubly to Red Solstice 2: Survivors – I advise those who appreciate multiplayer that requires well-coordinated teamwork to take a closer look at it.

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