With this year's big Steam summer sale a few weeks away, we're challenging you and our writers to pick up and play the many games you may have picked up on a whim, and never got around to playing. Kicking off our big Steam amnesty, then, is Mr Harry Butler, and he's been playing Nation Red. Join in the Amnesty in the forum...
I picked up Nation Red almost on a whim a while back; I don’t even remember buying it, let alone splurging on the four-pack and sending it to a few friends.
On one level, Nation Red is an almost comically simple game; a top-down zombie shooter with no single player campaign, a handful of basic levels and fewer than ten enemy types, you’d think it would get old quicker than arrow-in-the-knee jokes.
What Nation Red it lacks in ambition though, it more than makes up for in sheer quantity of enemies. Zombies arrive in ever increasing waves; starting off with facing a few dozen, after twenty minutes you’re mowing down hordes of zombies big enough to give Left 4 Dead veterans nightmares. They run into the hundreds and the level of zombie-splattering is insane.
It’s not just a case of holding down the trigger though; with just two alternating weapons slots your success is dependent on your perk build and powerups. As you kill more zombies, you gain XP. Level up and you can select a perk, from faster reloads to launching spinning circular saws of doom. Picking the right combination to suit your play style is vital; do you want to tech up your gun’s firepower and re-load time, or focus on special abilities or improving power-ups?
15 minutes into a game and things are getting frantic. I’ve managed to collect my favourite weapon combination of grenade launcher and AA-12 shotgun, but just as I’m finishing off a wave, an armoured Brawler boss zombie arrives; he absorbs a huge amount of punishment and I’m struggling to thin the tide of regular zombies around him whilst dodging his strikes. Out of ammo, I retreat behind the pair of sentry turrets provided as a fall-back point, but after 15 minutes of assault A and B gun are low on ammo. They thin the herd, but soon run dry; I know the end is near.
Wading into a pile of zombies AA-12 blazing, I set off my last grenade. As they fall around me, one drops a power-up; one I’ve been building up with my perks the whole game – ‘ghost’. As I grab it, three mirror images of me, each equipped with an AA-12 appear and begin tearing the horde apart. The Brawler goes down and drops a ‘no-reload’ power up of his own; I switch to the grenade launcher and obliterate the remnants of the wave in a chain of explosions as my ghostly friends evaporate. The wave counter ticks up one. Incoming count: 350. Bring it on.
Was it worth it?
Unequivocally yes. Big, dumb and fun, Nation Red is great.