You play as Roh, a young girl who finds herself stuck in strange, unsettling and nightmarish dreams. There, you must explore, find items and solve puzzles while meeting and interacting with the horrifying denizens of this world.
The story plays out in mostly linear fashion, enter a location within the dream world and find the exit. However, this exit can be reached in multiple ways often by casting judgement on the area’s character. Through puzzle solving and item collecting, you can vary your interaction with them choosing to be kind and forgiving or immoral and judgemental.
These choices culminate in one of several endings encouraging replay value to see them all. Something that extends the lifespan of the game, needed because it is only around one to two hours at most in length.
Billed as ‘a modern top down Gameboy game’, Red Bow nails this aesthetic with its simple but sharp 8-bit colours and chip tune effects and sounds. This style fits the game’s eerie and horror-like contrast perfectly, the touches of Japanese folklore and monsters really standing out.
For what it is going for with tone, Red Bow is an excellent game. However, it lacks a lot elsewhere. Especially when held up alongside the developer’s other releases.
What makes Red Bow a less of a memorable experience is its gameplay. A repetitive chore that ultimately comes down to clicking on everything you can until something happens and the game advances. For all its supposed puzzle solving, there really isn’t that much to it. Actual gameplay ends up being a bit of a distraction which is not a good thing as the story isn’t quite as memorable as you might have hoped.
The Final Score - 6/10