This summer the Switch has been filled with some incredible epic adventures, most notably Hollow Knight, Octopath Traveler, and Dead Cells. If you’re like me, sometimes you need to take a step away from these enormous games and play a nice, relaxing bite-sized game. Red’s Kingdom may fit the bill for many. Created by Scottish developer Cobra Mobile, it is a colorful adventure/puzzler that plays and looks like a classic Super Nintendo title.
The story is nothing new and we’ve all seen this before. You play as Red, a squirrel whose fortune has been stolen and his father kidnapped by the diabolical Mad King Mac. Your mission is to must rescue your father and retrieve your treasure. Much like our other favorite squirrel game, Conker, be prepared fro a host of double entendres revolving around nuts. The game has plenty of light humor and there’s a host of amusing characters peppered throughout. Luckily the text is kept to a minimum and the game focuses on gameplay instead.
Red’s Kingdom plays similar to two great, yet largely forgotten series, Adventures of Lolo and Solstice. You must navigate through the entire kingdom, room by room to stop the mad king. Red rolls across the areas in a straight line and can’t be stopped until he hits an obstacle or a wall. Scattered throughout the environments are nuts and other special items to collect. You’ll eventually need to make your way to the exit door, but that’s easier said than done with some sinister stage layouts. After you’ve run into an object you’ll then be able to change directions and roll in a different line. Many times you’ll need to roll over a button or hit a lever that will raise or lower blocks in order to open up new pathways. Perilous hazards like water, fire, and enemies will stand in your way. You begin the game with four hearts so you can take a little damage before having to restart from your last save point. You can revisit previous rooms after you’ve obtained new powers to discover new ways to proceed.
The viewpoint in Red’s Kingdom is isometric, a diagonal viewpoint much like Solstice or Equinox. Movement from this perspective can be quite difficult to control at first. I rarely play the Switch in handheld mode, but given this was originally an iOS release, it is really designed for the touch screen. However if you choose to play on the big screen, you should adjust to the controls after 20 minutes or so. Picking up items will help along in your quest. The medallion allows you to attack enemies and break pots and the map will assist navigating the various rooms. Stat junkies (like me) will appreciate that the game tracks your time played, completion percentage, and total moves. With about 20 different trophies to unlock inside the game, there’s a lot to uncover.
The game looks pretty nice on the Switch screen and resembles a polished Super Nintendo game geared for a family audience. The characters look drawn instead of sprites, so the game technically would have been impossible on the SNES, but on the Switch the simplistic tiles work well. There are both outdoor and indoor levels, but no matter where you’re playing the game maintains a colorful aesthetic. There are a few cinematic scenes to add to the story, but there’s nothing approaching high production values. Likewise there isn’t any voice acting, just the squirrel gibberish sound effects that sync up with the on-screen text. The music is nothing to write home about either and is mostly a peaceful piano tune that loops. Much like a Lolo game it’s very repetitive and serves solely as background noise.
In the end, Red’s Kingdom is a good game for the $9.99 asking price. There aren’t many puzzle-adventure games on the Switch and this one fits the bill nicely. The challenge isn’t too high, although I admit that I found myself getting stuck in several areas, but just had to do a lot of trial and error and revisit previous rooms to solve the puzzles. If you managed to complete Lolo on the NES, this one isn’t nearly as difficult. This one’s perfect to play in short bursts and that lends itself to the handheld side of the Switch. Keep in mind that one of the optional goals is to try and complete the game in less than 90 minutes – so it’s not going to be the longest game out there. Still, it’s a quality title that’s nice to unwind with after a long day at work.
Red's Kingdom Review
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Red’s Kingdom fills a niche that’s been underserved so far on the Switch. The puzzle-adventure genre was never all that popular to begin with, but it’s nice to see a game like this on a current day console. If you like light puzzles, low combat adventure games that are on the cartoony side, this one’s for you!
Red’s Kingdom was reviewed using a final retail Nintendo Switch download code provided by the publisher.
Aaron got his NES in 1991 and has loved and collected video games ever since. In addition to gaming, he enjoys Stephen King novels, Twins Baseball, and his cats.