Eee! Exploration game, exploration game! I'd been combing the best of 2010 Newgrounds archives when I came across REDDER, and I must admit that, a few small things aside, it does indeed belong among such auspicious company. It's a good game. Not as good as Endeavor, perhaps, but still pretty damn fun.
REDDER's the result of, more or less, an error in fuel calculation. You play a tiny astronaut whose ship has been forced to land on a dangerous planet, and in order to escape again you need to collect an assortment of colourful gems that will power your ship. Story done. That was painless.
So, yeah, there's no huge or interesting plot behind REDDER. It's a lot like Insidia, a similar exploratory platformer that sees you stuck on an alien planet. I'd argue that REDDER is the better game, however, mainly because it's got more variety and provides a larger, more difficult adventure.
REDDER is a more or less slick game when it comes to controls. It's very simple: use the arrow keys to run and jump. While jumping, keep holding onto the up key to float further upward, defying gravity for a few precious seconds. This little feature provides your spaceman with a greater measure of control over his jumps, which makes it possible to bypass some otherwise suicidal traps.
Are the controls perfect? Nope, unfortunately not. REDDER will operate properly 95 percent of the time. That last five has a tendency to put you places where you don't want to be, resulting in a few unwarranted deaths on my part. Save points spring up often in REDDER, though, so it's not a big deal.
REDDER is, at least to my eyes, as close to a chibi version of Metroid as you're going to get. It provides a huge, nice, varied world to explore, with a lot of different tile sets that neatly break up any monotony that might set in. The deeper you get, the neater the game looks.
Problem? Yes, unfortunately, there's a slight problem: the graphics are, er, screwy. I don't know if this was intentional or not - probably not - but the more crystals you collect, the more prone the tiles are to randomly transform into the wrong thing, like so:
These problems are fairly small, and won't stop you from completing the game, but they CAN prove a little jarring when the landscape begins to randomly transform around you.
There are no ambient sound effects in REDDER as far as I can tell, and the music is industrial-grade beats accompanied by sci-fi work on a keyboard. It's not bad, but it gets old after a while. A little variation between areas, perhaps? You need to listen to this tune for a long time, after all.
Thanks to the constant save points and a handy map, REDDER isn't THAT tough. There are a few tricky spots where you need to zip between cannon blasts and patrolling robots, sure, but one or two tries is usually enough to circumvent these challenges. The real difficulty lies in the length, as you need to run through a hell of a lot of areas to beat REDDER, and some of the mazes may prove tricky enough to stymie some players into defeat.
The glitches aside, REDDER is an excellent title. Anyone with a strong case of wanderlust will happily get lost in this massive labyrinth for at least an hour, if not longer.