While hardly the most imaginative title, Don’t Touch Anything Red is a good indicator of what the game entails.  And it delivers on its promise, being a runner where you need to avoid all red objects.  Whether this premise (or its questionable execution) will appeal to you or not, might depend on how many people you’re playing the game with.

There are different game modes, like arcade and gravity, but multiplayer for up to five is where it’s at.  This focus (with unique GamePad use in versus mode) is commendable.  However the execution is not.  Versus can only be played with five players, no less.  While allowing the GamePad user to create obstacles is admittedly cool, smaller groups are left with nothing to play.  This narrow focus leaves me scratching my head in confusion (the mode would work fine with less than five) and does the game a big disservice.  The co-op mode meanwhile is workable, but hardly ideal.

The local only leaderboards provide no means to enter initials either, which always disappoints.  It’d be one thing if this was a solitary game, but a key feature (if not THE key feature) is competitive multiplayer.  Its shortages are baffling, and begs the question ‘Why did the developers not finish them’?  It renders them essentially useless.

My biggest issue with the game is how it gets bogged down with needless slowdown.  I’m not talking about in-game stutter, but rather menus and load times.  Every time you fail the (useless) high score menu is loaded up, followed by the main menu loading up, followed by mode selection, and finally the picked mode loading.  Sometimes the wait times are longer than the playing time!  Where games like I’ve Got to Run have no discernible load times, the waiting here is painful.

Don't Touch Anything Red - gameplay

The graphics are functional, but there is absolutely no visual presentation to speak of here.  Even though my expectations are lower with indie games however, I still like to see a splash of creativity here or there.  This game has none whatsoever, making it an ugly one to watch.  I wish Helix had paid the graphics some attention.  The chiptune music (though a bit shrill) is decent, making this a game that’s better to listen to than to watch.  Multiple controllers are supported which I appreciate.  There’s no way to configure them though, if you want to assign jump to the A button for instance.

It’s not a bad price at just $1.79, but truthfully unless you got a group interested in multiplayer it really doesn’t offer much you can’t find elsewhere better.  And even the multiplayer is bogged down with numerous issues.  Hopefully Helix can put a little more polish in their next Wii U project – improved graphics, leaderboards, and optimizing speed are a must!  For now, Don’t Touch Anything Red doesn’t compare very well with other budget indie games on the eShop, but I do wish the devs all the best as they move forward on future (and hopefully) better Wii U projects.

Don't Touch Anything Red