Redemption is a dish best reaped cold.
On deck today is Redemption Reapers from Binary Haze Interactive. This tactical RPG has garnered a T for Teen rating due in large part to the depiction of violence and blood. While this may not be great for younger gamers, the graphic bloodiness is mostly confined to the cutscenes that look a lot more realistic than the rest of the game.
Bloodiness aside, let’s take a look at what we get with this game.
Redemption Reapers opens with a mini-movie powered by Unreal, so it looks pretty good. Once you get into the game proper, the graphics are not quite that nice, but they are still good. The game is playable in handheld mode, but only barely; there is plenty of text to read, and it is tiny on the Switch screen. The resolution is good, so it doesn’t suffer from using your TV as the display.
At the outset, the game asks you to adjust the brightness so that you can faintly see a dark gray bird on a black background. The goal is to see what’s around you in the game, but not always distinctly. Redemption Reapers is generally very dark, both in the visuals and the theme. There are additional cutscenes with more Unreal-powered segments, so it isn’t all just tiny figures running around each level’s movement grid.
Moving around the aforementioned field of play is actually easy. When it’s the player’s turn, you use the Joy-Con stick to select a character, press the A button, then use the stick to select where you want that character to go. You then get a menu where you can select an action such as attack or defend, drink a healing potion, or simply end your turn. While the game mechanics are easy enough, there isn’t anything here really original, surprising, or otherwise adding to the cool factor—it’s just a bit plain. Even the dark atmosphere and nighttime setting is pretty much stock stuff. While the game does tread a well-worn path, it does so well. There is nothing about the looks which are terribly out of place, so there is some consistency with the looks and the feel of the game.
As you probably expect, you will need to win a few rounds of combat to gain experience points so you can gain skills to win more rounds of combat, etc. Here, the game is a bit stingy with the points and how you can spend them. You will also need to really work for in-game coin and other loot/resources. At least at the start, your upgrade budget is pretty tight. You can replay an area to try to level up a bit before getting in too deep further on, so there is some reprieve even if it burns time.
There is a skill tree for each character and a pool of shared skill points, but it takes a while to really get useful. The game is not very good at volunteering how to use this or even where it is, so my advice is to take some time to explore all the menus. Once you do get some upgrades, your characters’ survivability makes it much less frustrating. Some of the early rounds can be brutal; your characters don’t have much in the way of skills or hit points, and you are significantly outnumbered. Don’t forget, the replay of a level is your best friend here. Also, be alert for items you can pick up and for treasure chests on the battlefield; you may be able to score a better weapon or something you can sell.
All of this is standard fare for a turn based RPG, and everything is fine in our little gaming world. Where the game seems to miss the mark is with the story. There is supposed to be some tragic backstory stuff for our heroine, and other tales to be told by our heroes. There is a mysterious order to which they belong, and bad things have happened. The main point of the game is to fight and defeat the Mort soldiers and their leader, so some strategy and combat maneuvers are where this happens.
The story, however, doesn’t seem to be as well developed or as engaging as it could be. I generally like to get down to the shooting and wait for the dust to settle, but with this game, I find myself a bit confounded by the minimal story elements. This game should be primed and ready to really lay out a good story the player can get into over the course of the game. There is a story here, but I would like for it to have been more developed and better presented.
The last thing on my mind is the soundtrack, which is an absolute gem. The musical score is quite nice and always seems to be just right for whatever is happening. The sound effects and the voice work are good, but the music is the star of this show.
Taken together, Redemption Reapers is a good turn-based RPG. The story is fine (if lacking), the visuals are OK, and the music is very good. There is some frustration at the beginning, but you can get some replay time to help buff your stats to make the later levels more fun.
Review: Redemption Reapers (Nintendo Switch)
The tactical RPG Redemption Reapers doesn’t have any serious issues, but it does suffer from the little death of a thousand paper cuts. With a few minor adjustments, this could be a really good game. As it stands, it’s just an OK game with a very good soundtrack.