Put a voxel character with a massive and seemingly contagious temper problem in a large environment full of other cube-headed citizens and you have Paint the Town Red. A chaotic, fast and super-violent game that features fully destructible people (yes, people) and a dizzying array of weaponry.
Can Voxels Bleed?
The answer is yes. Yes, they can. The blood is made of smaller voxels - in case you were wondering. Oh, and they bleed profusely.
Not only do characters bleed, but bits of them go flying if hit with enough force. They bruise, their limbs disintegrate and you can literally knock their blocks off – or shatter it into a million tiny pieces.
It’s a violent game. The decision to render everything in voxels is likely what makes all of the above possible without requiring a supercomputer to render, and it’s also what allows it to get away with the level of violence on show.
Had this game not used voxels, I suspect the outcry would have been similar to that which certain corners of the Internet mustered up in relation to Hatred. I’m sure, should the game pick up a little more steam (no pun intended), the outrage valve may well be tapped (pun intended that time), though.
Some Clever Ideas
Destructible characters aside, there are a few clever ideas already implemented in Paint the Town Red. For starters, there’s a neat gif capture mode which records your run through a level and allows for easy exporting. The aim here, presumably, is to encourage players to share their gifs on sites like Reddit and Twitter.
Another neat idea is to allow free reign of special modifiers – something that reminded me of Goldeneye with the cheats unlocked – there’s random weapon mode, unlimited power, random friends, hard hitter and many more. Not only does allowing the player to modify their own experience in this way alleviate any feeling of repetitiveness that might start to sink in, but it also somewhat negates the frustration of constantly failing – something which you’re sure to do until you get the hang of it.
The combat is not as monotonously simple as Minecraft inspired game would normally offer. I’ve mentioned that there are weapons (you can pick up nearly anything – stools, glasses, plates, knives, swords, pool balls and so on), but these weapons will break after a few uses, they can be thrown and some even have a couple of stages of use – such as jugs that will break after a couple of strikes and become even more dangerous.
Killing fellow brawlers will fill a metre that, when full, allows you access to special powers. The first one you’ll come across is ‘Shockwave’, which lets you clap your hands together and send anyone nearby flying away from you.
I think the combat still needs some balance. Kicking, for me, is too powerful. You can send enemies flying miles away from you (although at least there is a stamina system in place) but it’s still a little too easy to just run around hoofing everyone if you have no weapon to hand.
Release Date: 13/10/2015
Available on: Linux, Mac, Windows, PC Download
Play the Game
Some Kinks to Work Out
The levels will take a long time to complete. I spent seven minutes in one and still didn’t finish it. That doesn’t sound like one, but considering it’s a win or fail situation, players can quickly become frustrated at sinking a half-hour into four attempts at a level and still not being able to clear it.
I think there needs to be a better indicator of when you’ve killed someone. At the moment, there’s a sort of ‘crunch’ sound that notifies this – or, at least, I think it does, as sometimes the enemies will get up. Perhaps adding a kill counter is a simple solution.
What it Needs
There’s one phrase in the intro that will immediately turn people off this game, and that’s ‘single player only.’ Worry ye not, the 0.5 version of the game will introduce co-op multiplayer, but there’s no sign of competitive PvP which may still leave people feeling disappointed. What I will say is that co-op in this game should be absolutely hilarious.
South East Games have also promised that a level editor will be available before release, however I would like to see workshop support extended to allow players to come up with their own level modifiers.
For an Early Access title, it runs great. I didn’t encounter any performance problems (please note, enable V-sync as soon as possible, otherwise your GPU will work itself to death rendering hundreds of frames per second) or crashes, which is something to commend in such an early build of a game.
Paint the Town Red is fun. If you don’t get on well with violence and gore, I don’t think the voxel art style will save you from that, though. For everyone else, it’s so cheap (£6.99) and so much fun that it’s absolutely worth keeping an eye on until release or purchasing immediately if you don’t mind taking a punt on Early Access titles.
Play the Game
Paint the Town Red is developed by South East Games.