Commuting Cognition: Redbros

What is this?

I’ve never been a big mobile game player, but I ended up working in a mobile games company (opinions are my own etc), so I’ve been trying to expose myself to more games in this market and attempt to gain an ever-better understanding of them. One of the ways I’ve been doing that is in trying out new games, seeing what they do wrong and right, and try to draw conclusions from them that I can use in the future to make our games better. One of the resources I’ve been using for this is TouchArcade (not sponsored), and their columns listing the new iOS games of the week.

This resulted in me playing a lot more new games during my daily bus rides, but I also feel the need to discuss them somewhere and keep a log of my thoughts instead of just internalising them. So, Commuting Cognition. These will be brief, bus-ride-long thoughts on these games, and should be seen less as reviews and more as first-impression brain dumps. They also may not be daily, depending on how full the bus is that day.

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Redbros

Redbros is a Zelda-like dungeon crawler RPG with one very interesting mechanic in particular.

You control a party of adventurers going through each chamber of that level’s dungeon. The controls are very straightforward: tap to move all your characters to that spot, tap on an enemy to attack it and everything in its vicinity, tap on a lever to activate it, you get the point. You also collect spell scrolls, which are used by dragging them from your spell slot and dropping them on the map with an area-of-effect overlay.

The game’s most unique mechanic is its formation system. By dragging any line on the screen, be it a straight line, a triangle, an S-shape, whatever, the characters in your party will rearrange themselves to stand on that line. You can also simultaneously tap on two places of the screen to have the party split up onto those two locations. This is really cool. From what i played the game mostly uses this for light puzzles where you must stand on several pressure points at once, but i see a lot more potential in this. Something like a squad shooter could make really good use of a mechanic of this sort.

In general the game is pretty fun, even if the levels i played were all mostly extended tutorials. A couple of levels encourage you to pull aggro on the enemies and lead them into traps, which is cool, even if it is a bit silly to see a huge group of foes all happily walking into the grinder. My biggest gripe is that the health bars are tiny and only show up during combat, where often it’s too frenetic to track them all, and i feel that having them displayed at all times might’ve been more helpful; however, in the levels i played i never really came close to dying so it’s hard to tell how truly necessary this would be.

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