Movies are renowned for having some badass hard-hitting characters that enjoy a brawl; Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, and Steven Seagal are, to name but a few. Then there are the classic games that everyone remembers as they grow up; Tetris, Sonic the Hedgehog, World of Warcraft, and so forth. What would happen if we combined the unflinching strength and tenacity of Chuck Norris with the moreish and addictive world of Minecraft? You’d produce Paint the Town Red, that’s what!
Developed and published by South East Games, this is a violent Voxel adventure arena brawler with a hint of rogue-like action. Created by a small two-man team, mainly, I wasn’t expecting a massive amount of gameplay. I was, however, wrong. Set across many locations, and with three game modes to experience, it’s a title that keeps on giving. You’ll lose hours of your life in glorious battle as you slash off limbs, slice faces, and throw weapons at anything and anyone that stands in your way!
Paint the Town Red is childish, violent, but oh so addictive.
You’ll be chuckling from the first moment as you flit between your options and dive straight in. You’ll select between; Scenarios, Beneath, and Arena modes. Each one follows the same core concept and mechanics, so it’s pretty simple to get to grips with. The exception being Beneath that has a loose story for you to follow and an array of characters to choose from.
I jumped right into the Scenarios section, as I wanted some mindless action. This was a fantastic decision as it’s the perfect opportunity to familiarise yourself with the fundamentals. Here you’ll choose from five maps; a bar, disco, prison, and a day and night version of a pirate island. You can decide between challenge mode or add modifiers to mix up the gameplay. The world is full of enemies and your only task is to be the last man standing. You’ll choose from an array of weapons, a Superhot mode, increased health and strength and more. This was a brilliant choice from the developers and made an addictive game more captivating.
More modes to keep you playing.
As the dust settled from my multiple brawls, I explored what else Paint the Town Red offered. The Arena mode pits you against other NPC fighters in a gladiatorial event. This was hellish, hectic, and gory as hell. You’ll slice off limbs, break bones, and avoid traps. With two separate challenges available and plenty of rounds to experience, you’ll be pushed to your limits as you try to survive.
The main event, however, is Beneath. This odd adventure requires you to explore colourful catacombs and fight zombies and monsters. It was confusing, tough, and it leans on rogue-like mechanics, so be prepared to be enraged. You delve into the depths of a scientific facility looking for the answers to your questions. En route you earn coins, find crystals, unlock doors, and battle unrelenting beasts. A shop is on each floor and here you can buy upgrades and new equipment. This mode is tough as hell and isn’t for the faint of heart! With cryptic clues scattered around, you’ll have to be observant as well as agile.
Plenty of content and fun to be found.
To say I was shocked by what I experienced is an understatement. Never in a million years did I expect to get such in-depth action, and Paint the Town Red surprised me throughout. The act of slicing your opponents up with any weapon you found was gruesome but fantastic. If weapons aren’t available, you simply punch them in their square head or kick them in the balls. Watching your enemy falling away injured draws a wry smile. You know it’s wrong, but you’ll beat them while they are down just to make sure they are defeated.
Some may say the depiction of violence is too much, but I think the balance is just right. It certainly wouldn’t be appropriate for a younger audience, but it’s thoroughly enjoyable for adults. Alongside the fighting, there are elements of tactical nuance, especially when tackling Beneath. You’ll pick from an array of classes; Spectre, Vanguard, Warlock, Brawler, and Corrupted. Each has strengths and weaknesses to aid you on your journey and you must decide which suits your play style.
Paint the Town Red has Voxel characters but a smoother, more polished world.
Whenever I hear the phrase “Voxel inspired” I think “here we go again!” Don’t misunderstand me, I love the style, but sadly some developers use it as an excuse to make poorly finished games. Fortunately, Paint the Town Red doesn’t fall into this category and the game has a wonderful polished finish. Though the entire game is constructed using this style, it’s mostly apparent in the characters you interact with. They each have massive heads, square bodies, and interesting looks. Think of Harry Maguire, the English footballer, and you’re halfway there. The variety of environments is just as good as South East Games treats you to many locations. I’ve played this for hours and have yet to explore everything on offer.
The audio was cleverly thought out and spans many styles. Each suits the area you are exploring and adds to the expected atmosphere. In the biker bar or the disco, the NPCs operate the music, so if you attack them, the tunes stop. This was an excellent idea, as your actions had direct consequences for the surrounding environment. You’ll experience haunting and eerie sounds as you explore the depths, and the crowd vies for blood in the arena. The sound effects are loud, blunt, and will make you wince. Smashing a pool cue over someone’s head or battering a person with a chair sounded appalling, and that was great. No matter the weapon, the associated sounds will make you wince. I wonder, is it wrong that I got so much enjoyment from this?
Hectic gameplay, but so easy to play.
With so many enemies to avoid, the action is always hectic. Fortunately, the controls are simple to master and this is helped by the well-designed UI. Clearly labelled controls present themselves at the start of each playthrough and a basic radial menu allows you to select any unlocked special powers. You’ll easily dodge and weave thanks to the smooth gameplay and your biggest concern is finding weapons and surviving each stage.
Whenever I tackle an arena brawler, I tire of the action pretty quickly. Fortunately, Paint the Town Red kept me interested throughout. Helped in part by its variety of settings and interesting modes, you’ll want to keep playing. Its moderate achievement list is challenging and completionists must invest a chunk of time to finish it. The story mode is full of surprises and one playthrough isn’t enough to experience them all.
Paint the Town Red offers an expansive experience that must be played.
Must play titles are usually restricted to triple-A-rated games but Paint the Town Red should be in this category. It’s challenging, but fun gameplay will have you wincing and smiling for joy. The addictive nature of each mode will keep you fighting, and its simplicity makes it accessible. I loved every element and recommend you to buy it here! Grab a weapon, start a fight, and watch the carnage unravel.