Red Amazon Is A Free Four-Minute Thriller

Red Amazon [official site] is a lovely little thriller told in only four minutes, made by Bernband creator Tom van den Boogaart. It’s wonderfully restrained and a thrill to discover. No, it’s not a horror game. No, I don’t want to tell you much more. It’s free to download so do so, play it, then come back and we’ll have a little chat. Good? Good.

Good that, isn’t it? Very reserved. It gives you no idea what to expect, so it all comes as a surprise. Yes, I obviously am still writing this as if you haven’t played it yet, because I know enough of you fools clearly won’t have. For goodness’ sake, go play it!

I was mostly expecting a walking simulator, given Tom’s past games and the game’s intro, so the sound of the shot and the sudden appearance of the car were… most unexpected. The bullets you can collect and the rifle you might find – not to mention that stash of money – suggest that something’s about to go down but I was still startled and worried. It summons tension from very little.

Did you catch the chap outside the cabin window, peering in, by the way?

Tom says “you can die/lose/win.” I’ve seen two outcomes but I couldn’t tell you which they were – win and die, maybe? I do wonder what that third result is.

Yes, this whole post was written with the aim of minimising spoilers. I know you still haven’t played it. That’s right, YOU. Gary in Stoke-on-Trent. Come on, man – it’s, like, four minutes long and real good. What is wrong with you?

12 Comments

  1. Dealey says:

    Damn, that was a cool little experience. Funny how a small 4 minute walk around the woods can become so tense all of a sudden! I’d really be down for a game just consisting of similar 4-5 minute short experiences, each having just one mechanic and a vague direction.

  2. LearningToSmile says:

    I think I’m missing something. I played it twice, got all the items I could find, visited the spooky gorge, got shot, shot someone, and that was that. It feels like there should be more to it since items other than gun and bullet didn’t seem to have a use, but I don’t have time for more playthroughs right now.

    • maninahat says:

      There were other items? I just kept finding more bullets to waste on plinking stuff.

      • LearningToSmile says:

        Yes, I played it again and feel a bit silly now – I didn’t use the gun before I needed to, and so thought that the rectangles are just some kind of minimalist inventory system instead of just ammo counter, and because of that didn’t realize looking at things other than the one actual bullet just gave you more bullets.

        So in the end, I can’t say I’m as enthusiastic about the experience as everyone else seems to be – I wasn’t really surprised by the ending, maybe because the initial blurb(calling it a thriller and not a horror game) was enough to spoil the fact it wasn’t just a pleasant walking simulator. The things I actually liked about it, like the art style and the atmosphere of the place, weren’t exactly fresh enough to carry it on its own, and the end part amounted to not much more than a jump scare.

        I do like the idea of a short vignette in the form of a game, but I can’t shake the feeling that this one was just a bit too minimalist. Maybe with a few more set pieces to hint at a more fleshed out story, or more cinematic approach to the presentation, I would come away with a different impression.

        Still, interesting enough little thing to spend fifteen minutes on, and hey, it got me to register on RPS after a couple years lurking.

  3. Curly Brace says:

    As soon as I found the rifle, I realised I was doomed. My touchpad configuration didn’t let me aim and also fire the rifle, as pressing both mouse buttons is beyond its capabilities.

    Somehow it didn’t rob the game of any of its tension though. Lovely little vignette, thanks a lot for pointing it out.

  4. ZXDunny says:

    Can’t play it – I’m stuck in walkforward/sidestep left mode all the time. Is that intentional?

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      Aerothorn says:

      Nope!

      1. Make sure you don’t have any controllers/joysticks plugged in.

      2. Restart the machine to make sure there’s no “stuck” input.

      If that doesn’t fix it, it will need a patch :)

      • ZXDunny says:

        Ta, but I’ve no controllers attached and a reboot doesn’t seem to fix it. FWIW, it’s a core i5-480M (so Intel HD graphics onboard – daft to even try gaming on this, but there you go).

        Played it through on my main Desktop PC, no issues. Love it :)

        • Gotem says:

          check that you dont have a virtual joystick device (vJoy) installed, if you have disabling it might work.. or pluging a real controller then unplugging it.

  5. essentialatom says:

    There’s money? There’s a guy peering in through the window? How did I miss those? This game is tiny!

  6. darkhorror says:

    The tone and atmosphere of this game really sets the mood. Unfortunately it has a quite few bugs…ex:after the confrontation, the game crashes with no feedback of what happened. Even so, I managed to complete the game…both endings :D

  7. Vacuity729 says:

    I believe I won, but it’s tough to say as the game crashed/quit the moment I did so. And yes, I found the guy looking in through the window.

    In all, I think I only found the die/win ends.