Have You Played… Nation Red?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I don’t remember when or how Nation Red ended up in my Steam library, which I think must mean it was part of a bundle yonks ago. Thanks, mystery bundle! I’ve played a good few hours over the yonks, often getting urges to revisit and reinstalling it for a few more rounds. Nation Red, see, is a top-down arena shooter with, yes, zombies, I know, okay, but also randomised powerups, weapon drops, and character perks which mean things get proper silly.

So there you are, a soldier in typical post-zombie apocalypse arenas like a gas station, a hospital, and so on, with hordes of the gits spawning in all around you. Killing them gives you points, and points of course mean prizes. Dropped power-ups give temporary bonuses, weapons give… new weapons, and XP from zombokills levels you up.

Each level brings a choice of random perks, from the simple – faster movement when walking backwards – to the silly – start regularly firing off spinning buzzsaw blades. As you live longer, if you’re lucky you’ll start seeing perks which boost perks, or perks which synergise with other perks, or with power-ups, or… it gets silly as they stack up. I tend to like builds my character is surrounded by swarms of homing bombs, saw blades, poison darts, explosives, orbital strikes, and goodness knows what else. There’s a lot to say for simply being real good at shooting, though.

And it’s fun. It’s pretty good fun. You kill a lot of zombies, get a lot of points, make a silly character, and try not to die. It’s challenging enough, has fun room for experimentation with builds, and blasts gunfire and explosions and rawk music. Yup, that’s probably what I’d want from a top-down zomboshooter.

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  1. tigerfort says:

    Anyone care to say how it compares with CrimsonLand? That’s my current go-to for top-down shooty goodness, but I’m always up for trying something new.

    • alphager says:

      It’s not as fast-paced as Crimsonland and offers more “realistic” guns. I quite like both games.

    • Lordcrazy says:

      Under the Steam store page you can try the demo. If you even slightly like killing zombies I would suggest trying the demo.

      • tigerfort says:

        Weirdly, Steam tells me there is a demo, but doesn’t have a button for downloading it :(

    • malkav11 says:

      Crimsonland used to be better, but then they made the extremely baffling decision to remove the perk system from the mission mode that you need to play to unlock most stuff. Since that’s a huge part of the appeal, it dropped Crimsonland below Nation Red by a fair margin in my book without Nation Red itself changing. They’re very similar, though, really. NR’s got better tech but a bit less enemy variety and the pace doesn’t work for me as well.

      • tigerfort says:

        That was a weird decision, yes. However, if you type “grim” (no quotes) while the game is paused, you get a “secret” menu that allows you to turn perks in missions back on.

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        RealWeaponX says:

        If you have the Steam version switch to the beta. It re-enables perks in the missions.

      • DEspresso says:

        Small Info: Crimsonland(Steam) recently patched, enabling you to play the original Version. Conveniently via the Launcher, so there you go. (Halfway through the Hardcore Campaign, hitting the really frustrating levels now) :)

  2. kalirion says:

    Have played it for 188 hours according to steam. Almost all of that in single player free play mode.