Imagine this; you are an indie game developer with a dream to create a game. As is the norm these days you create a Kickstarter campaign and despite an enormous amount of competition out there from other games you manage to succeed. You even surpass your goal by over $10,000. Such is the story of Spanish Indie developer Yanim Studio and their game Red Goddess: Inner World. Starring a goddess named Divine, this 2D platformer isn’t perfect but Yanim certainly didn’t squander their opportunity.
Jumping in, the story (despite it being a bit cliché) is what got me interested from the moment I loaded the game. Stop me if you have heard this before; Divine (our hero), wakes up and does not remember who she really is and in order to regain her memories she has to journey through the inner world, which is actually her own mind. Exploring the inside of her mind, Divine collects red crystals and each crystal gets her one step closer to fully restoring her memory.
While the story and premise might seem simple, it’s the way in which the premise is explored and displayed that truly matters. On her journey, Divine is able to interact with other characters and find various upgrades that will shed more light onto her story. She is also able to collect Rage and Fear upgrades which allow her to engage in various combat techniques. Rage turns Divine into a red monster type creature who will break red blocks or fight red enemies. With Fear, you turn into a blue colored monster where you can break blue blocks and fight blue enemies. How you switch between the two is fairly simple by using the L1 and R1 buttons on the controller.
“This is a beautiful game and you can tell that a lot of care was put into creating a world where the player could really get sucked into the atmosphere.”
Offering up Metroidvania style gameplay, Red Goddess has everything you’d expect; varied paths to your objectives, collectibles and finger twitching platforming. I did find myself having to backtrack to collect crystals I missed in order to progress but that’s pretty much par for the course in a game like this. Long load times and easy deaths were a bit of an annoyance mind you. There are sections where some enemies can kill you with one hit (what’s the point of the health meter then?!) and when you get pegged you are stuck with an excruciatingly long load time, only to get to the same enemy and instantly die again. Ok, so clearly I need to get better but you can imagine the frustration that I felt. I could have done without the constant third-person narration too as hearing “Divine had to do this” and “Divine needed to do that” over and over certainly was grating on the nerves.
Easily one of the strongest elements of the game is its visuals. I was instantly drawn to them due to the art style and color palette used. This is a beautiful game and you can tell that a lot of care was put into creating a world where the player could really get sucked into the atmosphere. When doing some research I noticed a lot of player complaints surrounding framerate issues and load times but luckily I my experience was buttery smooth (I believe patches have been released since launch day).
Overall, if you like the Metroidvania style gameplay and concept you will very likely enjoy this game. Keeping in mind this is Yanim Studio’s first attempt at a game I’m willing to forgive them some of the minor transgressions I came across. For what it’s worth I think it’s a strong debut featuring a fun concept and great visuals so I look forward to what else Yanim has on the horizon.
*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***