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Red Goddess: Inner World (PS4) Review

The journey into the mind can be dangerous, and Red Goddess: Inner World only confirms it.

Red Goddess is a colorful and cute side-scrolling platformer with some old fashion brawling. Developer Yanim Studio’s first game shows their remarkable story and animation skills well, as Red Goddess has an adorable art style in a vibrant palette as well as great gameplay and mechanics; however, some technical missteps broke my immersion. Bolstered by great art and fun gameplay though, Red Goddess survives the unfortunate technical problems.

Red Goddess is the story of Divine, a young goddess. A traumatic experience has caused her to lose her memories and her powers, and you must help her reclaim them. Set on a planet called “Inner World,” you must guide Divine into the darkest corners of her mind to uncover the truth. Initially powerless, you quickly find these two masks, Rage and Fear, to help you battle this world. Rage turns you into a fiery beast that pummels red enemies to dust. Fear turns you into a chilling wraith that slices blue enemies apart. Both are necessary to navigate this world.

But Divine is not alone; a Narrator runs commentary while trying to steer Divine away from discovering her past. You are warned early on that “he” can’t be trusted, but is an invisible enemy who knows far too much and is unwilling to share with Divine. Red Goddess has an intriguing story that works with the combat and art rather than distracts from them.

And Red Goddess’s art is utterly charming. The colors are vivid and complement the world. The art style is cartoonish without being childish. Divine and her masks each have a different persona and character design too, each totally unique and descriptive. If you were never told the names of the masks, you could easily deduce what they represented. The setting of the “Inner World” is beautiful and deep, and feels expansive. It is difficult for 2D games to achieve the breadth Red Goddess does. Each nook and cranny begs for exploration and rewards for the curious are plenty.

Don’t be fooled by Red Goddess’s sweet and colorful art though, as this game will test all your platforming and timing skills to the max. That’s not to say that it feels ‘unfair’ though, as Yanim Studio scaled Red Goddess’s difficulty fairly well. Each area built a solid foundation of game mechanics before shifting the gameplay just enough to balance the enemies against a newly gained ability. The game kept challenging me despite the overall simplicity of play.

Red Goddess delightfully mixes a classical exploring platformer with a side-scrolling brawler. The gameplay is familiar, but Yanim Studio layers elements of many game types to create a fun, challenging playthrough. The Rage and Fear “masks” were a simple and smart ways to break the potential monotony of a game like Red Goddess.

Enemies vary slightly depending on area with a core few repeating types. There were a few times combat felt repetitive; however, it didn’t happen too often. That’s partially because the mix of both red and blue enemies during combat forced me to play strategically. Red Goddess requires you to think about what you are doing the whole game, and it does it well.

Unfortunately, Red Goddess has a few technical issues. One of the most obvious issues is the occasional choppy framerate. It mainly occurs in dungeon-like areas and typically not near enemies. It is distracting, but not game breaking. The choppy frames and scene changes were never at a crucial time and rarely affected my gameplay. Sometimes areas wouldn’t load fully, but this was generally rare and always in safe areas.

Cut scenes are also unskippable, the opposite of which is merely a preference of mine, especially in a challenging checkpoint platformer. The art and animation looks beautiful only for the first twenty times… This is a petpeeve rather than true flaw though.

Final Thoughts

Red Goddess: Inner World is a beautiful escape into a challenging and fun game. Simple but tough to beat, this game has a great story as well as fun gameplay. There were a few technical issues that might need cleaning up, but they didn’t ruin the game so it’s hard to be too upset over them. And guiding a goddess through her memories to regain her powers is both empowering and humbling.

Battle some virtual inner demons to keep your actual inner demons at bay with Red Goddess: Inner World.

Follow me on Twitter for more gaming news: @lmrome3

About Lisa

Favorite Game: Shadow of the Colossus. Favorite Moment in gaming: 100% completing Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. Life isn't hard, Megaman is.

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