Version Reviewed: 1.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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When we think of survival horror games, we think of zombies, monsters, and other unspeakable creatures that drag themselves out of the grave to chase us down hallways. Belief Engine's RedShift, however, is a survival horror game that pits the player against a terrifying, inexorable enemy that can't be seen, except perhaps for a scalding flash that lasts for a fraction of a second: a nuclear meltdown.
RedShift plunks the player down into a power plant that's on the verge of becoming a doomsday device. Something has gone terribly wrong. The plant's engineers are all dead, and the core is teetering towards a meltdown. If it goes up, everything within a 200 mile radius will be vaporized, and surviving neighbors will presumably have plumes of radioactive fallout to deal with (maybe that's when we'll see some zombies). Players have about three minutes to find five consoles, set them to "override," and make their way back to the core. It's not easy. There is a much better chance of going up in white light than saving the city. But who says averting a nuclear meltdown is supposed to be simple (Homer Simpson excluded)?
Each session of RedShift brings up a randomly-generated map, so attempting to memorize the power plant's floor plan doesn't do a lot of good in the long term. The plant is essentially a maze, though a small radar indicates the position of doors and fires. The plant has a lot of both. Fires are impassable. They need to be put out with fire repairs, which can be found in lockers and drawers. Digging them up takes precious seconds, however. Doors may also lead to a precious override switch.
Atmosphere is everything in a survival horror game, and RedShift contains tons of skin-crawling details. There is no visible countdown; players are only allowed to spare a glance at the ticking numbers when they shut down an override. Otherwise, there are only visual and aural cues to rely on. Relative calm gives way to flickering lights and shaking. In the background, the "heartbeat" of the core gets faster and faster.
When there's about a minute left, an explosion occurs and the music becomes frantic. That's the player's cue to speed up, or just drop to their knees and make whatever rituals are necessary for their religion, if any.
RedShift is very easy to learn and play, but its simplicity combined with its hair-raising cues help make it one of the better survival games on mobile. Success isn't guaranteed, but if everything goes critical, don't despair - there won't be anyone left to point fingers.