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Review: Krimson (Switch) – A Face-Meltingly Brutal Rhythm Platformer

People play games for a variety of reasons. It could be that you want to experience a few thrills, get lost in a world beyond your imagination, or simply relax and wind down after the stresses of day-to-day life. Some games, however, are designed to test the very limits of your patience, inducing a level of anxiety that many would rather avoid at all costs. If you’re someone who thrives on tension and welcomes relentless challenges like a warm hug, then might just be the game for you.

Everything about developer CryingPsycho’s platformer, from its visual design to its audio, has been designed to be a total assault on the senses, and for good reason. It takes place in a rather abstract depiction of hell, and your job is to simply make it through each level in one piece. We say “simply”, but nothing about Krimson is particularly simple. It’s an exceptionally tough game that, like and , utilises death as a means to educate the player on how to overcome its myriad challenges.

The world of Krimson is in constant motion, with platforms and hazards twisting, turning, shrinking, and vanishing to the beat of the music. Recognising the beat and using it to time your jumps is key to success, and the game itself encourages you to play with headphones for the best effect. The music itself, in keeping with the hellish theme of the visuals and gameplay, is a face-melting mix of heavy metal and dubstep, with a slight preference for the latter. Think Skrillex with a hint of Slayer and you’re probably on the right track. (If in doubt, gives you a good idea of what to expect).

In addition to the standard levels, there are also some pretty unique boss battles. Again, this is mostly an exercise in moving to the beat and avoiding an avalanche of projectiles until the sequence is over, but you can also coax the boss characters into being hit by lightning strikes, which flash into view periodically in time with the music. These segments make for a nice change of pace, but a bit more variety with the gameplay would have been welcome considering the number of times you’ll likely die. There are only so many times we can take the same repetitious attack patterns.

Although certainly designed to be disorienting in terms of its visuals, Krimson’s levels can be a tad too difficult to parse at times, with safe platforms and deadly obstacles often blending into one another. This is exacerbated by the swirling, gooey textures on every surface, along with strobe effects that briefly come into play upon death. It’s a lot to take in and the game never lets up, so we often found ourselves wanting to put it down for a little while just so our senses could have a little break. We appreciate the artistic intent, but some accessibility features to perhaps tone down the effects or better highlight certain platforms would be most welcome.