Ingenuity is a trait I actively seek out when searching for games. I love exploring new territory, be it an innovative crafting system or a novel take on combat. For me, gaming is a lot about familiarising myself with the unknown. While I have a penchant for the experimental side of gaming, I recognise that it comes with its own struggles. Newer features can lack the level of polish that makes a good game great. Some standard features can even be brought down by the poor implementation of others. That being said, some games can achieve greatness by keeping things simple. Paint The Town Red proves that when you stick to the tried and true, polish alone can be novel.
“While combat can be gruesome, the boxed heads and body parts add a comical layer to the mayhem.”
Paint The Town Red is a flawless power fantasy that beautifully combines both brutality and creativity. At its core, it is a simple action game that is grounded and intuitive. You can run, crouch, jump, jab, punch, kick, pick up weapons, and throw pretty much anything that you come across. The controls are easy to understand, allowing you to focus on everything from the first-person view. As you take down enemies you earn charges for special abilities, such as unleashing a shockwave or entering into a time slowing rage.
Paint The Town Red’s controls are perfectly coupled with the amazing visuals that come with voxel graphics. As you beat and tear into bikers and disco dancers, chunks of flesh and blood are sent flying across the screen. While combat can be gruesome, the boxed heads and body parts add a comical layer to the mayhem. Ripping someone’s cheek off with a hair pick is equally amusing and satisfying.
“One of my favorites was the Superhot modifier which mimics the slow-motion matrix-esque playstyle of its namesake.”
In the Scenario game mode, you enter places like bars or dance clubs and proceed to be the last fighter standing among the crowd. Win or fail, you can review your run time and see how many enemies remain. Chairs, pool sticks, toothbrush shanks, and other weapon types are at your disposal. The locations add to the humorous tone, with weapons fitting thematically within each level. Scenario mode features a number of modifiers, including low gravity, living dead, and a top-down camera mode. One of my favourites was the Superhot modifier which mimics the slow-motion Matrix-like playstyle of its namesake.
Scenario mode doubles as a catalogue of examples for Paint The Town Red’s Level Editor. Along with importing custom music and textures, the Level Editor allows you to sprinkle traps, weapons, rooms, doors, keys, and other objects with ease. You can share and explore levels created by others, increasing the game’s replayability.
Similar to the Scenario mode, Arena mode gives you waves of enemies to fight through as you aim for the best time on the leaderboard. In Endless, you kill waves of spawned monsters for gold to spend on weapons and items placed around the level. In Challenge, you make your way through each level full of enemies aiming to reach completion. I found Endless to be a bit difficult as the monsters are a lot harder to fight than human enemies. It can take a while to acquire enough gold for weapons, but weapons do spawn sparingly.
“At the end of the day, Paint The Town Red delivers on everything you could ask of it.”
Last but not least is Beneath, a dungeon crawler that features the same beasts that can be found in Endless. Zombies, cultists, and other evil entities lurk through the caverns as you search for a way to descend further. Killing monsters rewards you with gold here, but you will need to locate a shop or item stand to make use of it. There are challenge rooms here that require meeting a specific requirement like not being hit or keep moving for a set time period. What sets the Beneath apart is the number of character classes that alter your stats. Each class has a personal attack that replaces the kick, such as shooting a fireball, along with its own set of special abilities. Beneath is also the only mode that does not feature multiplayer.
Paint The Town Red is a solid game that I highly recommend checking out. Usually, I don’t play this genre of game but it managed to absolutely blow me away. You can pick up Paint The Town Red now on Steam, and for the next week, it is 25% off.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the Stride PR.