Crimsonland Review

Richard Walker

Crimsonland is pure, unadulterated carnage. Not really much to look at, 10tons' game is nonetheless a slice of arcade action that possesses that all-important 'one-more-go' factor with swarms of enemies to blast your way through with a variety of weapons and power ups.

A top-down twin-stick shooter, Crimsonland pits you against aliens, zombies, spiders, beetles and other nasties, starting you off gently in the early stages, before pouring it on. It can get tough at times, but it's glorious in its simplicity.

Originally released in 2003 for PC and later remastered for PlayStation platforms in 2014, Crimsonland on Xbox One brings with it new modes for what is arguably the game's main draw: Survival. In Survival – which now comes in six different varieties - you'll find yourself pitted against relentless hordes of critters in a bid to gather power-ups, accumulate XP and gain perks to help you in your ultimately futile battle.

Classic Survival sees you using weapons and perks to stay alive for as long as possible, while modes like Rush, Blitz and Waves send increasingly challenging clusters of beasties your way until you eventually die, albeit with different caveats and parameters to take into account. It's these three modes that provide the most enjoyment, as the blinding pace and freneticism stretches your reflexes and shooting skills to breaking point.

Nukefism, on the other hand, removes guns and perks, relying solely on your ability to evade enemies and collect power-ups, while Weapon Picker makes ammo conservation a constant concern, as you empty a clip into the advancing horde and run for the next weapon pick-up that's closest to hand. These are marginally less enjoyable to play.

That said, each mode is complete and utter bloodsoaked balls-to-the-wall mania in its own way, and so addictive is the neverending quest for Survival leaderboard supremacy, that you'll let hours drift by without actually stopping to notice. However, you're certainly better off starting your Crimsonland experience in the Quests campaign, where you can blast your merry way through 70 missions across seven chapters, acquiring perks and weapons to take into Survival as you progress.

And you're going to need them too. Unlocking perks and weapons is essentially what Quests mode is all about, as it in turn enriches the Survival experience. Simple ballistic weapons, flamethrowers and rocket launchers give way to increasingly powerful ion and plasma weapons, and you'll soon have your favourites. This makes Quests enjoyable in its own right, offering a gradually more gruelling challenge with more weapons to choose from as you fight through each stage.

Once you finish the game, you'll unlock Hardcore difficulty, where you're as good as dead before you've even started. Manage to beat that, and you'll unlock the even more horrific ordeal of Grim difficulty. Indeed, just the thought of taking on Grim difficulty is simply too much to bear given the number of enemies that can swarm the screen at once. It's insane, but you're likely to reach a point where you'll stop coming back for more. The game's longevity is somewhat limited.

Crimsonland is uninhibited arcade joy simmered down into its purest and most addictive form. A mirth-inducing blast solo or with up to three other friends in local co-op, 10tons' top-down shooter is frantic, gleefully mental and gloriously uncomplicated.


Don't be fooled by its simplistic, retro visual stylings. Crimsonland is enormous fun, and the perfect game to dip in and out of on occasion. Will you keep coming back for more though? Probably not.

Form widget

Pew pew, bang bang. Crimsonland's soundtrack does the job, but it's not exactly memorable.


Resolutely retro and old-school, Crimsonland isn't the most attractive game, but that doesn't really matter. It looks shoddy, but forget about looks...


...because Crimsonland is all kinds of fun to play. Simple, pick-up-and-play fun that's equally exciting played solo or with friends.


70 missions to blast through in Quests and six Survival modes will keep you playing for a few hours, but it's unlikely you'll keep on coming back once you've reached your breaking point. Mine was after level one of Hardcore mode.


A decent enough achievement list that covers all of the right bases, rewarding high Survival scores and completion of the Quests campaign. Not bad.

Game navigation